I’m originally from western Wisconsin (on the mighty Mississippi River, between Lock and Dams No. 7 and 8). I attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and graduated summa cum laude with degrees in political science and French (’03). I received my doctorate in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (home to a Title VI National Resource Center for African Studies) in 2010. Today, I split my time between my work as a political science professor and a consultant/contractor on projects related to countering violent extremism in West Africa (and beyond). In between all of that, I’m often reading hard-boiled crime novels or Silver Age comics and thinking about my long-gestating plan to write the definitive history of country music in Africa.
My wife Kim Miller (Coe College ’05) has a Ph.D from the Joint Doctoral Program in Ecology between San Diego State and UC-Davis (’14), where her research focused on methane cycling in Arctic wetlands. We’ve lived together in Iowa, Wisconsin, California, Sokoto, Nigeria (where I conducted field research with funding from a Fulbright IIE award) and, Rovaniemi, Finland (where Kim did her own dissertation research, also with a Fulbright IIE award). These days, we’re slowly working our way through the remodel of a not-so-vintage mid-’60s ranch house in Athens, Ohio with our two sons, Townes and Cyrus.
I’m also an avid canoeist, beginning with my work for 11 years as a French instructor and wilderness canoe guide at the Concordia Language Villages, a language immersion program for children ages 7-18. I’ve logged over 1600 miles in various old aluminum canoes paddling through Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) since 1995. I hope to log a few more come summer.