Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili is an Assistant Professor at GSPIA. Her research focuses on the relationship between customary and formal state institutions in the state-building process, the political economy of development, subnational governance, and questions of institutional design. She is currently finishing two book manuscripts on Afghanistan: one on subnational governance and public goods in rural Afghanistan for which she conducted over 300 interviews and focus groups across 6 provinces as well as a separate manuscript on property rights and state-building (with Ilia Murtazashvili). In addition, she has published articles on civil-military relations and on authoritarianism in Uzbekistan.

She has spent the past 15 years doing research on Central Asia and Afghanistan and has lived on the ground in the region for more than seven of those years. In addition to her academic experience, she has extensive professional experience with a wide array of government and development agencies in the region including USAID, UNDP, the Department of Defense, and the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer Uzbekistan.

Professor Murtazashvili holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University as well as an M.A. in Agricultural and Applied Economics and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She speaks Russian, Uzbek, and Farsi (Dari/Tajiki).


Selected Projects of Note

  • Village Governance and Community Development: Qualitative field work in 32 villages across six provinces of rural Afghanistan, 2007-8. (with Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit/Japan International Cooperation Agency)
  • Electoral Reform in Afghanistan: Survey experiment and focus group discussions on impact of national and local electoral reform in Afghanistan (with  USAID/Democracy International). (in progress)

Recent Publications

  • “Colored by Revolution: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Stability in Uzbekistan.” Democratization, forthcoming.
  • “Armed with Practice: Learning to Engage with the Military.” 2010. The Forum. Volume 8, Number 3.
  • “Land Tenure Reform in Afghanistan,” with J. David Stanfield, M. Y. Safar, and Akram Salam in Strengthening Post-Conflict Peacebuilding through Natural Resource Management, Volume 2, Environmental Law Initiative, forthcoming.
  • “Rangeland Administration in (Post) Conflict Conditions: The Case of Afghanistan,” in Innovations in Land Rights Recognition, Administration, and Governance, ed. Klaus Deininger et al. (Washington D.C.: The World Bank, 2010), 225-241.  With J. David Stanfield, Muhammad Yasin Safar, and Akram Salam.
  • The Political Economy of Customary Governance: Informal Order and State Building in Rural Afghanistan, in progress
  • Property Institutions and State Making in Afghanistan (with Ilia Murtazashvili), in progress
  • “Soviet Union in Central Asia,” in Volume 4: Cultural Sociology of West, Central, and South Asia; Part 3, 1900 to Present: Soviet Union in Central Asia, forthcoming.
  • “Osama bin Laden,”in Volume 4: Cultural Sociology of West, Central, and South Asia; Part 3, 1900 to Present: Soviet Union in Central Asia, forthcoming
  • Co-editor and Contributor, “Tribalism, Governance, and Development,” United States Agency for International Development, Washington, DC, 2010.
  • Book Review, “Changing Poverty, Changing Policy,” Maria Cancian and Sheldon Danziger, eds, Comparative Policy Analysis, 2010.
  • “Community Governance and State Building in Rural Afghanistan,” 2009. Central Eurasian Studies Review, 7 (2): 12-16.
  • “An Investigation into the Sustainability of Community Development Councils,” April 2008.  Final Report, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, Kabul, Afghanistan.
  • “Report from Samarkand:  Uzbekistan through the Eyes of Its Youth,” 1999. Central Asia Monitor,  No. 3: 20–24.

Substantive Areas

  • Decentralization, Subnational Governance, and Civil Society
  • Political Institutions, Processes, and Parties


  • Central Asia and the Middle East

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