Moshi Optat Herman


Ph.D. Brown University, Sociology
M.A. Brown University, Sociology
B.A. Middlebury College, Economics

Research Interests and Background

I am a visiting professor this year at Davidson, my research interests reside in aspects of social demography, global political economy, and development.

I grew up in Tanzania and completed my undergraduate and graduate studies in the United States. I'm a native speaker of Swahili, and speak proficient French. I continue to enjoy interacting with Davidson's talented students, especially those with an interest in global affairs. I am also grateful for the opportunity to design and teach courses that expand the global focus of the curriculum, including courses in Global Development, Global Health & Social Inequalities, Population and Society, and Political Economy of African Development.

Broadly speaking, my research agenda attempts to contribute an answer to the following perennial questions: how is global socioeconomic inequality produced and reproduced?; how are populations in the global south (and of socio-economically disadvantaged groups in the global north) affected by the socioeconomic changes that globalization creates? To that end, I read research from social demography on changing patterns of health and health inequality in the global south; development research on (de)construction of development as a global agenda; and global political economy works on north-south institutional ties, especially studies on the engagement between sub-Saharan African nation-states and international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

My early work has been featured in the International Handbook of Rural Demography and in an edited volume under the title Demographic Transition and Development in Africa: the Unique Case of Ethiopia. I am currently working on articles based on my dissertation work, which examined the impact of economic and political transitions in Africa on demographic outcomes with a focus on health indicators. An article emerging from my dissertation is forthcoming in African Population Studies with two other papers under review. I am also working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Democracy, Development, and Demography: Transition to Competitive Politics and Infant Mortality Trends in Africa, 1980-2010. In addition, I have been gathering qualitative and archival data for an ongoing project that examines sub-Saharan Africa's engagement with International Financial Institutions through international development policies. This research builds on the completed quantitative work.


SOC 243 Global Health & Social Inequalities
SOC 247 Global Development & Underdevelopment
SOC 260 Social Statistics  
SOC 265 Population and Society
SOC 387 Political Economy of African Development
SOC 392 Quantitative Data Analysis