About

I am a 5th-year Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Yale University with a J.D. from Yale Law School. My work aims to shed light on how legal systems operate in and are transformed by war. I use multi-method research designs that include field experiments, door-to-door surveys, interviews, and archival newspaper and social media data.

My three-article dissertation on the Islamic State (IS)’s system of governance in Iraq and Syria contributes new theory and data on (1) IS’s system of taxation, (2) civilian experiences with and perceptions of IS rule, and (3) public opinion concerning punishment, forgiveness, and reintegration of individuals who are perceived as having collaborated with IS. This dissertation is based on an original dataset documenting IS’s governance activities across time and space, a door-to-door survey of 1,458 residents of the Iraqi city of Mosul, and in-depth interviews with more than 300 Syrians and Iraqis who lived in IS-controlled areas.

Building upon this dissertation, my current and future research aims to contribute to the development of evidence-based strategies for strengthening rule of law and state legitimacy after war. I am currently implementing a study of the effectiveness of a 12-month community policing program that aims to build mutual trust and cooperation between Iraqi state security forces and civilians in 13 villages that were recaptured from IS in 2017. This multi-method study will leverage qualitative and quantitative data from field experiments, door-to-door household surveys, official police reports, and observations of policing activities during 18 months of fieldwork in Iraq. My work has been published or is forthcoming in the Journal of Politics, the Harvard National Security Journal, the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Foreign Affairs, and the Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law, among others. My research has been featured or cited in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, Time Magazine, and Lawfare.

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Erbil, Iraq (2016)

During my dissertation research, I served as the lead researcher on Iraq and Syria for United Nations University, the research wing of the UN system, for two related projects on (1) child recruitment by armed groups and (2) post-IS transitional justice. Before graduate school, I was a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Middle East Program), a Critical Language Scholar in Jordan, and a Fulbright Fellow in Oman. I hold a B.A. in Political Science and Arabic from Swarthmore College.

Email: mara.revkin@yale.edu
Twitter: @MaraRevkin