Kenneth Menkhaus, Ph.D.


Ph.D. University of South Carolina
B.A. Xavier University

I've taught political science at Davidson since 1991. My courses focus on international and comparative politics as well as the non-profit sector. My regional specialization is on the politics of the Horn of Africa.

Research Interests and Background

In 1987 I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for my dissertation research on Somalia, after which I came to specialize on the Horn of Africa. I have published on topics including development, conflict analysis, peace operations, state failure, state-building, humanitarianism, and political Islam.

Before arriving at Davidson, I taught for two years at the American University in Cairo, Egypt from 1989 to 1991. In 1993-1994, I served as special political advisor in the U.N. Operation in Somalia, was a visiting civilian professor at the U.S. Army Peacekeeping Institute in 1994-1995, and was awarded a visiting scholar position at the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute in 2011-2012. In 2004, I received a U.S. Institute of Peace grant for my research on armed conflict in the Horn of Africa.

In addition to my classroom work, much of my professional work has been in applied settings. I regularly serve as a consultant for the United Nations, U.S. Government, non-governmental organizations, and policy research institutes. I've provided expert testimony on five occasions before Congressional subcommittees, and I've been interviewed on BBC, CNN, FOX, Al Jazeera, NPR's All Things Considered, the Voice of America, the Diane Rehm Show, MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, among others.

I've published more than 50 articles, book chapters, and monographs, including Somalia: State Collapse and the Threat of Terrorism (2004), "Governance without Government in Somalia" in International Security (2007), and "State Fragility as Wicked Problem" in PRISM (2010).

I will soon be directing the Davidson Semester in India program, taking students for a semester of study and travel to India, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. Courses offered include South Asian Politics, Sustainable Development in India, and Indian Ocean Relations.


Intro to Comparative Politics
Intro to International Politics
Politics of Africa
Politics of Development
Philanthropy and the Non-Profit Sector
International Organization
Contemporary Global Security
State-Building and Peace-building
Conflict Analysis