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

Daniel Maxwell and Nisar Majid’s book reviewed in the Journal of African History
November 8, 2017

In the Journal of African History Jonathan Benthall reviewed Daniel Maxwell and Nisar Majid‘s book Famine in Somalia: Competing Imperatives, Collective Failures, which was published in 2016. In the book, Dan and…

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Daniel Maxwell and colleagues publish article in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding
October 25, 2017

On October 11 the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding published the Trajectories of International Engagement with State and Local Actors: Evidence from South Sudan article written by Feinstein’s Daniel Maxwell. Dan…

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Feinstein Research Projects

Synthesizing Research on Resilience in Drylands and Fragile Contexts Project

From 2005 to 2017, we developed a wide-ranging research portfolio on livelihoods systems under stress throughout the Greater Horn of Africa and beyond. This project synthesizes key themes of that research.

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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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Feinstein Publications

Conflict and Resilience: A Synthesis of Feinstein International Center Work on Building Resilience and Protecting Livelihoods in Conflict-Related Crises
Cover of Conflict and Resilience Synthesis

Resilience is defined as the ability of people to mitigate, weather, and “bounce back” from shocks or adversity. This definition is framed in terms of understanding capacities and risk—often particularly…

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Conflict and Resilience: A Synthesis of Feinstein International Center Work on Building Resilience and Protecting Livelihoods in Conflict-Related Crises (Briefing Paper)
Cover of the Conflict Resilience brief

This is a briefing paper of the full report. Resilience is defined as the ability of people to mitigate, weather, and “bounce back” from shocks or adversity. This definition is…

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