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Director of the Polson Institute for Global Development and Associate Professor

Fouad Makki currently serves as the Director of the Polson Institute for Global Development (2019–present) and holds the position of Associate Professor in the Department of Global Development at Cornell University. Additionally, he is a founding board member of Cornell’s Institute for Comparative Modernities.

His academic focus encompasses teaching and writing on topics such as international development, social theory, political economy, and the historical sociology of modernity. Trained in the comparative study of society and history at Cornell and Binghamton universities, he actively engages with interdisciplinary approaches within the social sciences.

Operating within a broad comparative framework, Makki's research delves into materials from the history and contemporary politics of social change, particularly in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where he has conducted extensive research over many years. His contributions to academia have been recognized with the CALS Young Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in 2010 from Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Makki's academic journey includes a Bachelor of Arts Independent Major in Comparative Studies in Society and History from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Binghamton University.


Fouad's research seeks to advance knowledge of the sociology and ecology of development. His research explore questions of empire and nationalism, the postwar development initiative, and the historical sociology of modernity. 


  • Makki, Fouad. "Post-colonial Africa and the world economy: The long waves of uneven development." Journal of World-Systems Research (2015): 124-146.
  • Makki, Fouad. "Reframing development theory: the significance of the idea of uneven and combined development." Theory and Society 44 (2015): 471-497.
  • Geisler, Charles, and Fouad Makki. "People, power, and land: New enclosures on a global scale." Rural sociology 79, no. 1 (2014): 28-33.
  • Makki, Fouad. "Power and property: commercialization, enclosures, and the transformation of agrarian relations in Ethiopia." Journal of Peasant Studies 39, no. 1 (2012): 81-104.
  • Makki, Fouad, and Charles Geisler. "Development by dispossession: Land grabbing as new enclosures in contemporary Ethiopia." In International Conference on Global Land Grabbing, vol. 68. Future Agricultures Sussex, UK, 2011.
  • Makki, Fouad. "Subaltern agency and nationalist commitment: the dialectic of social and national emancipation in colonial Eritrea." Africa Today 58, no. 1 (2011): 29-52.
Department of Global Development, Cornell University, U.S.A