Bozena Welborne, Ph.D.

Smith College

Phone: 413-585-4024

Address: 10 Prospect Ave. Room 302, Smith College

City: Northampton, Massachusetts - 01060

Country: United States

About Me:

Bozena Welborne teaches courses in Middle East politics and global development at Smith College, and is also a contributing scholar to the Women's Rights in the Middle East Program at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. Her current research considers the impact of foreign capital and Arab diaspora networks on gender empowerment in the Middle East and North Africa. Welborne is also a principal investigator on the co-authored book, The Politics of the Headscarf in the United States, which showcases results from the largest academic survey of Muslim-American women enquiring into their Islamic practice and politicization (Cornell University Press). Her current book project, The Business of Ballots: Financial Globalization and Women’s Political Agency in the Arab World, explores the impact of financial globalization on incentivizing women's political inclusion in the Middle East and North Africa, and is based on insights from fieldwork in Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, and Yemen. 

Research Interests

Middle East & North African Politics

Political Economy

Gender and Politics


Comparative Political Institutions

Political Participation

Specific Areas of Interest

Gender Quotas

Women's Political Representation

State Development

Foreign Aid

Financial Globalization

Countries of Interest





United States

My Research:

My personal research has focused on the legacy of policy interventions geared at gender empowerment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) such as gender quotas. I am currently working on my second book manuscript entitled, "The Business of Ballots: Financial Globalization and Women's Political Agency," which investigates the broad impact of financial globalization on women's political participation and inclusion across the MENA region.

I am also a principal author on the book The Politics of the Headscarf in the United States. We use original survey data from 2000+ American Muslim women across 49 states to explore their religious and political practices, and how those intersect with personal and social identity. The insights gleaned from our survey are further supplemented by 13 focus group interviews in 8 major cities, which use the practice of headcovering as a lens to shed light on the experiences of the Muslim-American community post-September 11th. We hope this book helps nuance current debates on the health of democratic pluralism and the threat Islamophobia poses to the U.S.' core values and institutions. We have also published scholarship on the role of social networks in encouraging American Muslim women to vote and join political parties, as well as on the diversity of motivations behind their choice to wear the headscarf in the U.S.

Finally, I collaborate with an international research team on topics related to women's labor force participation in the GCC. We have published a number of short policy briefs investigating the undercounting of citizen labor, the impact of rentierism on women's work opportunities, and how "wasta" (a specific brand of clientelist social network) conditions women's full participation in the public realm. We also have an article out on how labor nationalization policies created incentives for women to enter the GCC workforce in a special edition of the Journal of Arabian Studies.