Daniel Maxwell

Daniel MaxwellHenry J. Leir Professor in Food Security, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Working with Feinstein Since: 2006
Based in: Somerville, MA

Dan Maxwell leads the research program on food security and livelihoods in complex emergencies. In 2016-2017, he served as the Acting Director of the Feinstein International Center. His recent research focuses on the re-emergence of famines in the 21st century and the politics of analyzing and declaring famine, as well as food security and resilience programming and measurement, and livelihood systems under stress.

Prior to joining the faculty at Tufts, Dan worked in East and West Africa for two decades in humanitarian agencies and research institutes in Uganda, Ghana, and Kenya. His most recent position prior to joining the faculty at Tufts was Deputy Director for Eastern and Central Africa for CARE International.

He is the author, with Nisar Majid, of Famine in Somalia: Competing Imperatives, Collective Failures (Oxford University Press, 2016). He is the co-author, with Chris Barrett of Cornell University, of Food Aid After Fifty Years: Recasting Its Role (Routledge, 2005), and co-author with Peter Walker, of Shaping the Humanitarian World (Routledge, 2009). He teaches humanitarian action, humanitarian policy, and food insecurity in situations of crisis and chronic vulnerability.

He holds a B.Sc. from Wilmington College, a master’s degree from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.

Research Interests:
  • Humanitarian action
  • Resilience, livelihoods, food security, and the measurement of food security
  • Food assistance
  • Emergency preparedness, information systems and contingency planning
  • Humanitarian operations and policy
Regional Focus:
  • East Africa
  • Greater Horn of Africa
Courses Taught:
  • Humanitarian Action in Complex Emergencies (NUTR 229/DHP D230), Fall Term
  • Seminar in Humanitarian Issues (NUTR 223), Fall Term
  • International Humanitarian Response (NUTR 324/DHP D-21), Spring Term
  • Transnational Social Issues: Humanitarian Assistance (GMA P215)
Most Cited Books and Articles:
  • Maxwell, Daniel. “Measuring Food Insecurity: The Frequency and Severity of ‘Coping Strategies.’” Food Policy 21, 3 (1996). 291–303.
  • Maxwell, Daniel, Carol Levin, Margaret Armar-Klemesu, Marie Ruel, Saul Morris and Clement Ahiadeke. Urban Livelihoods, Food and Nutrition Security in Greater Accra.  IFPRI Research Report 112. Washington: International Food Policy Research Institute, 2000.
  • Maxwell, Daniel. “Alternative Food Security Strategy: A Household Analysis of Urban Agriculture in Kampala.” World Development 23, 10 (1995). 1669–1681.
  • Barrett, Christopher and Daniel Maxwell. Food Aid After Fifty Years: Recasting its Role.  London: Routledge, 2005.
  • Maxwell, Daniel. “The Political Economy of Urban Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa.” World Development 27, 11 (1999). 1939–1953.
Most Recent External Publications:
  • Maxwell, Daniel and Nisar Majid. “Facing Famine: Somali Experiences in the Famine of 2011.” Food Policy 65 (2016). 63-73.
  • Maxwell, Daniel and Nisar Majid. Famine in Somalia: Competing Imperatives, Collective Failures, 2011-2012. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • Maxwell, Daniel, Bapu Vaitla, and Jennifer Coates. “How Do Indicators of Household Food Insecurity Measure Up? An Empirical Comparison from Ethiopia.” Food Policy 47 (2014). 107-117.
  • Maxwell, Daniel, John Parker and Heather Stobaugh. “What Drives Program Choice in Food Security Crises? Examining the ‘Response Analysis’ Question.” World Development 49 (2013). 68-79.
  • Young, Helen and Daniel Maxwell. “Participation, Political Economy and Protection: The Governance of Food Aid in in the Darfur Region of Sudan.” Disasters 37, 4 (2013). 555-578.

News Items

Feinstein faculty and alum honored at Institute for Human Security Event
September 21, 2017

On September 18, 2017 Feinstein faculty and an alum were honored at the naming event of the Henry J. Leir Institute for Human Security. Fletcher Masters of Arts in Law…

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Gregory Gottlieb assumes leadership of the center
August 15, 2017

On August 15, 2017, Gregory Gottlieb officially joined the Feinstein International Center as the director,  as Daniel Maxwell stepped down as acting director and resumed his role as research director….

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Feinstein Research Projects

The Humanitarian Evidence Program

The Humanitarian Evidence Program produces a series of evidence syntheses to distill humanitarian evidence and communicate it to key stakeholders in order to enable better decision-making and improve humanitarian policy and practice.

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Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium Generating stronger evidence on conflict situations

The Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium aims to generate a stronger evidence base on how people in conflict-affected situations make a living, access basic services like health care, education and water, and perceive and engage with governance at local and national levels.

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Feinstein Publications

Livelihoods, conflict and recovery: findings from the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium
Conflicts, Gender, Livelihoods, Markets, and Micro finance research

This report synthesizes findings on livelihoods from research projects that took place over five years in eight countries affected by fragility and conflict as part of the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC).

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Statebuilding and legitimacy: experiences of South Sudan
Politics, Governance, Post conflict action, and humanitarian action research

This report uses South Sudan as an example to interrogate people’s perceptions of the state, asking what – if not service delivery – fosters state legitimacy.

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