Beth Elise Whitaker is an associate professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who works on migration and security issues in Africa. She has done extensive research on the politics of African migration, including attitudes toward immigration, comparative refugee policy, and diaspora engagement in homeland politics. She has conducted fieldwork in Kenya (2005-2006, 2015, 2016), Tanzania (1996-1998, 2003), and Botswana (2005). With a grant from the Minerva Initiative of the U.S. Department of Defense, Whitaker and colleagues launched the Resources and Conflict Project to examine how rebel groups’ illicit funding strategies influence the dynamics of civil conflict. As a Fulbright Scholar in Kenya, she conducted research on U.S.-African counter-terrorism cooperation.
Whitaker is co-author with John F. Clark of Africa’s International Relations: Balancing Domestic and Global Interests (Lynne Rienner, 2018) and her articles have appeared in Political Research Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, African Studies Review, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, International Migration Review, Third World Quarterly, and Journal of Refugee Studies, among others.
From 2010 to 2012, Whitaker served as chair of the African Politics Conference Group, a network of political scientists who study Africa. She worked previously at the Brookings Institution and the American Council on Education and has consulted for the U.S. Department of State, the Social Science Research Council, the United Nations Foundation, and Save the Children Fund. She received her Ph.D. in 1999 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.