I am Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University. During the Spring and Summer terms of 2023, I am a visiting fellow at the Center for African Studies at Harvard University. My research focuses on international relations theory, foreign policy, critical theories of power, politics of the past, and knowledge production and hegemony in South-South relations.

My book, Shaping the Future of Power: Knowledge Production and Network-Building in China-Africa Relations (July 2020 ), probes the type of power mechanisms that project, diffuse, and circulate China-Africa relations. The crux of the argument is that it is necessary to take into account the processes of knowledge production, social capital formation, networks, and skills transfers in Chinese foreign policy towards African states to fully understand how power permeates these encounters. For more details, check out the Book tab or the book’s webpage!

My scholarship has been published in International Studies Quarterly, International Studies Review, Foreign Affairs, Third World Quarterly, Journal of International Relations and Development, African Studies Quarterly, and Rising Powers Quarterly among others. My research was featured and/or quoted in Foreign Policy, Washington Post, Aljazeera, The Guardian, Le Monde, The Economist, BBCThe New York Times, CNN, Voice of America, Sputnik International, Mail & Guardian, The Diplomat, The South China Morning Post, The New Republic, SupChinaThe Strait Times, etc. as well as in Africa is a Country where I am a Contributing Editor.

In addition to my scholarly research and teaching, I also regularly participate in workshops, roundtables, and consultation briefings that aim to bridge the gap between academic scholarship and public-facing and foreign policy making outlets. Starting September 2022, I will join the editorial team of PS: Political Science and Politics as a co-editor along with Betina Cutaia Wilkinson, Justin Esarey, and Peter M. Siavelis.

I am now working on a new book which studies political nostalgia in current Chinese government-issued discourses and narratives about the New Silk Road being a continuation of Sino-centric 15th Century Indian Ocean exchanges. The project investigates the degree to which Chinese foreign policy is successful in deploying nostalgic narratives about the Ancient Silk Road and the Sino-centric ordering that ensued from it to exercise influence on elites and citizens of countries along the New Maritime Silk Road. 

Wake Forest politics professor Lina Benabdallah in her office in Kirby Hall on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.