Megan A. Stewart is an Assistant Professor at American University's School of International Service. Broadly, her research investigates why and how political actors attempt to transform social orders and seeks to explain variation therein. To date, Dr. Stewart has primarily focused on rebel groups attempting social transformation during civil war and she has published a number of works on the topic, including her book, Governing for Revolution, which was published with Cambridge University Press in early 2021. Governing for Revolution explains why some rebel groups undertake costly governance project to engineer and transform societies during war, while other rebel groups do not. The book incorporates both quantitative and qualitative methods, including the creation and analysis of an original dataset, elite interviews held in Lebanon, and archival research conducted in East Timor, Australia, Sweden, the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2018, Dr. Stewart published a paper on this topic, "Civil War as State-Building: Strategic Governance During Civil War," in International Organization. The research upon which this work was based received awards from the Peace Studies Society (International) in 2018 and the APSA Conflict Processes Section in 2016. Her related research have also been published in the Journal of Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Research and Politics, and Conflict Management and Peace Science and were featured in the Washington Post, Political Violence at a Glance, and the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS). From 2020-2021, she was a Fellow at Dartmouth College’s John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and from 2016-2017, she was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate and Lab Manager at the University of Virginia's Politics Experimental Lab.

Dr. Stewart has recently started a second major research project that aims to explain variation in the success and failure of revolutionary projects to transform social orders. She is currently working on a second book on the topic. Dr. Stewart’s collaborative work related to the subject has been published in Comparative Political Studies and was featured in the London School of Economics U.S. Public Policy Blog.


Issues of Expertise:
Civil war, insurgency, revolution, state building, state formation, social engineering

Select Recent Publications:

  • Stewart, Megan A. Governing for Revolution. Cambridge University Press. 2021.

  • Stewart, Megan A. 2021 and Karin E. Kitchens. “Social Transformation and Violence: Evidence from U.S. Reconstruction.” Comparative Political Studies. DOI:

  • Mampilly, Zachariah and Megan A. Stewart. 2020. “A Typology of Rebel Political Institutional Arrangements.” Journal of Conflict Resolution. DOI: 0022002720935642

  • Nedal, Dani, Megan A. Stewart and Michael Weintraub. 2020. “Urban concentration and civil war.” Journal of Conflict Resolution. 64 (6), 1146-1171

  • Stewart, Megan A. 2020. “Rebel governance: military boon or military bust?” Conflict Management and Peace Science 37 (1): 16-38

  • Stewart Megan A. 2018. “Civil War as State-Making: Strategic Governance in Civil War” International Organization. 72(1): 205-226.

  • Stewart, Megan A. and Yu-Ming Liou. 2017. “Do good borders make good rebels? Territorial control and civilian casualties.” The Journal of Politics 79 (1): 284-301.

Contact Information

Please contact MEI’s media relations manager, Rachel Dooley, at or 202-785-1141 ext. 241 for assistance contacting this expert.

Twitter Handle: @Megan_A_Stewart