Aditi Malik, Ph.D.

College of the Holy Cross

Country: United States (Massachusetts)

About Me:

Aditi Malik is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the College of the Holy Cross. Her research focuses on the study of political and sexual violence, political parties, and ethnic politics in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. She has conducted fieldwork on these topics in Kenya, India, Rwanda, and Cambodia. Aditi received her PhD from Northwestern University in 2015. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Human Rights ReviewHuman Rights QuarterlyAfrican Conflict and Peacebuilding ReviewCommonwealth and Comparative Politics, SAGE Research Methods Cases, and Zed Books. She has also conducted policy analysis for the World Bank and the United Nations. 

Research Interests

Political Violence

Sexual Violence

Political Parties

Ethnic Politics


Social Movements

African Politics

South Asian Politics

Cross-Regional Comparisons

Countries of Interest





Journal Articles:

(2018) Constitutional reform and new patterns of electoral violence: evidence from Kenya’s 2013 elections, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics

In places prone to electoral violence, what effects can constitutional changes have on elites’ incentives to organise conflict? This article develops two hypotheses to address the above question. It proposes that in places where national reforms find sub-national resonance, national and local politicians’ incentives regarding the electoral utility of conflict will align. However, in places where national-level changes fail to be locally relevant, these incentives will deviate from one another. The research illustrates these logics through a controlled comparison of two Kenyan counties: one that experienced electoral violence and the other that maintained peace around the 2013 elections.

(2016) Mobilizing a Defensive Kikuyu-Kalenjin Alliance: The Politicization of the International Criminal Court in Kenya's 2013 Presidential Election, African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review

Since the restoration of multiparty political competition, Kenya has witnessed three violent elections. However, the 2013 presidential election concluded relatively peacefully and the winning Jubilee Coalition succeeded in uniting the “historically rival” Kikuyu and Kalenjin communities behind its banner. What factors explain these notable developments? Drawing on original interviews with elites as well as relevant secondary sources, this article shows that the birth of a Kikuyu-Kalenjin coalition and the lack of violence in 2013 were not due to Kenyan elites' commitments to peace. Rather, politicians steered clear of instrumentalizing violence because new institutional arrangements prevented them from doing so. The research also demonstrates that the leaders of Jubilee—Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto—strategically made use of the International Criminal Court indictments against them to consolidate Kikuyu and Kalenjin support behind their coalition. As such, this study shows how international legal interventions can be tactically recast to pursue domestic political ends.

(2010) Justice, Human Rights, and Reconciliation in Postconflict Cambodia (with Susan Dicklitch), Human Rights Review

Retribution? Restitution? Reconciliation? “Justice” comes in many forms as witnessed by the spike in war crimes tribunals, Truth & Reconciliation Commissions, hybrid tribunals and genocide trials. Which, if any form is appropriate should be influenced by the culture of the people affected. It took Cambodia over three decades to finally address the ghosts of its Khmer Rouge past with the creation of a hybrid Khmer Rouge Tribunal. But how meaningful is justice to the majority of survivors of the Khmer Rouge auto-genocide when only a handful of top officials are tried? Further, given the persistent abuse of political and economic rights in post-conflict Cambodia, we are skeptical that justice or reconciliation is presently possible.

(2010) The Protection and Development of the Human Spirit: An Expanded Focus for Human Rights Discourse (with Michael Penn), Human Rights Quarterly

Human rights discourse would be enriched by a greater focus on the conditions that are necessary for the protection, development, and refinement of the human spirit. This essay outlines a rational account of the notion of the human spirit and endeavors to show that the human spirit provides an appropriate focus for human rights concerns because it embodies the intrinsic value of the human person, provides an ontological basis for the oneness and interdependence of humankind, and defines those capacities of consciousness upon which the future of civilization depends.