Fouad Makki

Associate Professor, Director of the Polson Institute for Global Development


Fouad Makki is Associate Professor in the Department of Global Development and Director of the Polson Institute for Global Development. He teaches and writes about international development, social theory, political economy and the historical sociology of modernity. His research seeks to advance knowledge of the sociology and ecology of development. Trained in the comparative study of society and history, he works across the disciplinary boundaries of the social sciences. Set within a broad comparative framework, his writings explore materials from the history and contemporary politics of social change in Ethiopia and Eritrea where he has conducted research for many years. Publications include “Post-Colonial Africa and the World Economy: The Long Waves of Uneven Development,” Journal of World-Systems Research (2015) and “Reframing Development Theory: The Significance of the Idea of Uneven and Combined Development,” Theory and Society (2015). As an undergraduate at Cornell, he was particularly interested in social and political thought and subsequently received a Ph.D. in historical sociology from Binghamton University.

Research Focus

My research program seeks to advance knowledge of the historical sociology and political ecology of development processes. My overarching research program is constituted by three interlocking projects: (i) the critical rethinking of the conceptual framework of development through the reconstruction and elaboration of the idea of "uneven and combined development"; (ii) the systematic deployment of this theory to elucidate various aspects of state, economy, and society in northeast Africa so as to better understand their developmental trajectories; (iii) and, thirdly, the extension of this the theory of uneven and combined development to the metabolic relations between society and nature.