William Reno

PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Professor Reno’s research focuses on the role of violence and patronage networks in the political strategies of some African state regimes, the breakdown of these regimes and the rise of armed conflict, and the organization and behavior of these armed groups. His field research brings him into contact with relevant political actors and primary documents related to violent conflict. His method tends toward comparative case studies, chosen to maximize controls of variables to identify strong causal links.  Blending “participant observation” approaches from the traditions of area studies with qualitative analytical models from Political Science, he hopes to engage in conversations with anthropology and sociology about analytically rewarding research in politically unstable environments.  His aim is to participate in analytical debates about the nature of state formation, particularly the role of coercion in this process, the nature of corruption and its relationship to the development of political institutions, and the nature of contemporary insurgencies and their changing relationships with non-combatants. Professor Reno is the author of Corruption and State Politics in Sierra Leone, (Cambridge University Press, 1995), Warlord Politics and African States (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998), and Warfare in Independent Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Will Reno’s web site