Hilary A. Matfess

Assistant Professor

  • Faculty

What I do

I am a political scientist with a focus on political violence and gender dynamics, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

Professional Biography

Dr. Matfess is an Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, where she is an affiliate of the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy. She is also a Research Fellow at the Research on International Policy Implementation Lab, a Senior Associate (non-resident) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies' (CSIS) Africa Program, and a Fellow with the George Washington University Program on Extremism. She was a 2020-2021 United States Institute for Peace (USIP) Peace Scholar Fellow.

Her research is at the intersection of security, gender, and governance, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Her first book, Women and the War on Boko Haram, was published by Zed Books in 2017.

In 2015, she graduated with an MA in International Relations, with a focus on African Studies from Johns Hopkins SAIS. In 2021 she received her Doctoral Degree from Yale University's Political Science Department.


My research centers on the dynamics of political violence and women's contributions to non-state armed groups. I have several collaborative research projects underway, including the creation of a dataset documenting examine women's activities in non-state armed groups and a project exploring how non-state armed groups' relationships with the humanitarian community have shifted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.