Lina Benabdallah is a scholar of international relations theory, Global South politics, and foreign policy analysis. She is the author of Shaping the Future of Power: Knowledge Production and Network-Building in China-Africa Relations (University of Michigan Press, 2020). The book argues that Global South encounters do not necessarily exhibit the same logics, behaviors, or investment strategies of Euro-American hegemons. Instead, they have distinctive features that require new theoretical frameworks for analysis. Shaping the Future of Power adopts a relational approach in order to probe the types of power mechanisms that build, diffuse, and project China’s power in Africa. It centers the role and importance of knowledge production, social capital formation (through network-building among elites and government officials), and norm diffusion (of various aspects of China’s development model) that Chinese and African foreign policy makers (and citizens) prioritize in their relations.
Dr. Benabdallah’s second book project examines the intersection of the politics of nostalgia, historic narratives of great powers, and empire-making. A first article from this project was published in International Studies Quarterly. Her research also appeared in the Journal of International Relations and Development, Third World Quarterly, African Studies Quarterly, Project on Middle East Political Science, as well as in public facing outlets such as the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog and Foreign Policy. Dr. Benabdallah is also a Johns Hopkins University China Africa Research Initiative research associate, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Africa Program, and a contributing editor for Africa is a Country. Dr. Benabdallah earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florida in 2017 and a B.A. from the University of Batna (Algeria) in 2004. She currently is assistant professor of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest University.