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Sarah Parkinson

Sarah Parkinson

Aronson Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies


Sarah E. Parkinson received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2013 and joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University in 2016. Her research examines organizational behavior and social change during and following war. Focusing predominantly on the Middle East and North Africa, she uses social network analysis and ethnographic methods to study the ways that actors such as militant organizations, political parties, and humanitarian groups cope with crisis, disruption, and fragmentation. Parkinson has conducted extensive fieldwork among Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Lebanon and with humanitarian organizations in Iraqi Kurdistan. Her work has been published in the American Political Science Review, Social Science and Medicine, The Middle East Report, and the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog.

Parkinson holds a PhD and MA in Political Science from the University of Chicago and a BA in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University. She has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota, the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University, and Yale University's Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence. Parkinson serves on the Steering Committee of the Project on Middle East Political Science.

Bond, K. D., Cronin-Furman, K., Loken, M., Parkinson, S. E., & Zelenz, A. (2019, March 04). The West Needs to Take the Politics of Women in ISIS Seriously. Retrieved from

Hundman, E., & Parkinson, S. E. (2019). Rogues, degenerates, and heroes: Disobedience as politics in military organizationsEuropean Journal of International Relations,135406611882389.

Parkinson, S. E. (2016). Money Talks: Discourse, Networks, and Structure in Militant OrganizationsPerspectives on Politics,14(4), 976-994.

Parkinson, S. E., & Behrouzan, O. (2015). Negotiating health and life: Syrian refugees and the politics of access in LebanonSocial Science & Medicine,146, 324-331. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.10.008

Crawford, K. F., Green, A. H., & Parkinson, S. E. (2014, September 24). Wartime sexual violence is not just a 'weapon of war'. Retrieved from

Parkinson, S. E. (2013). Organizing Rebellion: Rethinking High-Risk Mobilization and Social Networks in War. American Political Science Review,107(3), 418-432.



  • Iraq
  • Lebanon
  • Palestine
  • The Levant


  • Civil War and Political Violence
  • Comparative Politics
  • Disaster Politics
  • Research Methods & Ethics
  • Organizational Politics


  • Arabic
  • English
  • French

In the News

Hopkins professors call for Trump's removal after rioters storm Capitol building.

Filipe Campante and Sarah Parkinson quoted and Daniel Honig cited in Johns Hopkins News - Letter, 01/08

Practical ideology in militant organizations.

Sarah Parkinson wrote in World Politics, 12/07

2020 IHAP Award winner interviews.

Sarah Parkinson interviewed in American Political Science Association’s IHAP newsletter, 11/25

The New York Times has its hands full with review of ‘Caliphate’.

Sarah Parkinson cited in The Washington Post, 10/9

When do they shoot? The social origins of officers’ disobedience.

Sarah Parkinson wrote for Political Violence at a Glance, 6/29

Acting “as if” during pandemic: Information and authoritarian practice in White House.

Sarah Parkinson wrote for Social Sciences Research Council, 6/25

Soldiers around the world get a new mission: Enforcing coronavirus lockdowns.

Sarah Parkinson quoted in The Washington Post, 3/25