I study modern state formation in conflict and post-conflict settings. In particular, I have spent the last several years studying the role of warlords in the state building project in post-2001 Afghanistan. I am fascinated by the challenges weak political centers face as they attempt to grow their authority in the face of formidable competitors. Unlikely alliances sometimes form that turn strongmen into governors operating on behalf of the very centers with which they were once competing. These are the kinds of dynamics that most interest me as a scholar.
Dipali recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton, during which she prepared a a book manuscript for Cambridge University Press. It is based on her doctoral dissertation at the Fletcher School at Tufts University: Warlords, Strongman Governors, and State Building in Afghanistan.
U6389: State Formation, Violence, and Intervention in the Modern World