Dr. Gloria Y.A. Ayee is a Harvard College Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Government at Harvard University, and a faculty associate with the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

Ayee is a political scientist with expertise in behavior and identity politics, and race and ethnic politics. Her research interests center on American politics, comparative politics, human rights, transitional justice, truth and reconciliation commissions, race and civil rights policy, African politics, political institutions, political reconciliation, media policy and politics, politics and popular culture, and immigrant political incorporation. At Harvard University, she teaches the following courses: Global Ethnic Politics; Race, Film, and American Politics; and Transitional Justice and the Politics of Truth Commissions

Ayee earned her Ph.D. in Political Science and a Graduate Certificate in African and African American Studies from Duke University. She also holds Master’s degrees in Political Science and Liberal Studies, both from Duke University. Ayee received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Dordt University.


Ayee is the co-editor (along with Elena V. Shabliy and Dmitry V. Kurochkin) of Global Perspectives on Women's Leadership and Gender (In)Equality (2020, Palgrave Macmillan) and Women's Human Rights in Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture (2020, Lexington Books). Ayee is the co-author of “White House, Black Mother: Michelle Obama and the Politics of Motherhood as First Lady” (published in the journal Politics & Gender in 2019). She also co-authored “Race, Power, and Knowledge: Tracing the Roots of Exclusion in the Development of Political Science in the United States” (published in Politics, Groups, and Identities in 2016), which examines the complex relationship between racial ideologies and the development of the discipline of political science in the United States. Ayee is currently working on a book manuscript, which focuses on theories of justice and political reconciliation, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction, and explores truth and reconciliation processes around the world.

Ayee’s dissertation, titled Restorative Justice and Political Forgiveness: A Comparative Analysis of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, is a comparative, cross-national study of truth and reconciliation commissions (TRCs) in countries that have used these extra-judicial institutions to pursue justice and promote national reconciliation following a period of civil unrest marked by severe human rights abuses. Her research seeks to determine why there has been a proliferation of TRCs around the world in recent years, and whether the perceived effectiveness of these commissions is real and substantial. Her work considers the institutional design and composition of TRCs, as well as the roles that these commissions play in the democratic transformation of nations with a history of civil conflict and human rights abuses.


Last Updated: September 2021

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