Melissa Pavlik

Melissa Pavlik's picture
Graduate School Student


Melissa (Mel) Pavlik is a PhD candidate studying the political economy and geography of repression and resistance, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Her research interests include micro-dynamics of political violence, conflict actor decisionmaking, and mapping patterns of coercion and violent control, particularly across the informal sector. She also works on issues of causal inference and measurement, especially observational inference and the production of conflict datasets. Her dissertation project focuses on how uneven state enforcement patterns ‘produce precarity’ among vulnerable populations in the Global South, especially targeting those internally displaced due to conflict and climate change.

Before grad school, Melissa spent years mapping and analyzing political violence and international security issues, including at the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) and the Institue for the Study of War (ISW). Her analysis and data visualizations have been published across a wide variety of outlets, including Foreign Policy and The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage.



  • B.A. University of Chicago, Political Science (Statistics Minor)
  • M.A. King’s College London, War Studies


  • Quantitative Methods
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations