Daniel Maxwell

Daniel MaxwellHenry J. Leir Professor in Food Security and Research Director
Henry J. Leir Professor in Food Security, Friedman School of Nutrition
Research Director, Feinstein International Center

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

Daniel Maxwell is the Henry J. Leir Professor in Food Security at the Friedman School of Nutrition, Science, and Policy. He directs the Food Security and Livelihoods in Complex Emergencies Research Program at the Feinstein International Center, and in 2016-2017, he served as the Acting Director of the Center. His recent research focuses on the re-emergence of famines in the 21st century and the politics of analyzing and declaring famine. Dan also researches food security, resilience programming and measurement, and livelihood systems under stress. He teaches courses on food security, humanitarian action, humanitarian policy, and food insecurity in situations of crisis and chronic vulnerability.

Prior to joining the faculty at Tufts, Dan worked for two decades at humanitarian agencies and research institutes in Uganda, Ghana, and Kenya. His most recent position was Deputy Regional 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 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:
  • Famine and acute humanitarian crises
  • 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:
  • Sub-Saharan 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-213), Spring Term
  • Transnational Social Issues: Humanitarian Assistance (GMAP 215)
Most Cited Books and Articles:
  • Maxwell, D. “Measuring Food Insecurity: The Frequency and Severity of ‘Coping Strategies.’” Food Policy 21, 3 (1996). 291–303.
  • Maxwell, D., Levin, C., Armar-Klemesu, M., Ruel, M., Morris, S., Ahiadeke, C. “Urban Livelihoods, Food and Nutrition Security in Greater Accra.” IFPRI Research Report 112. Washington: International Food Policy Research Institute. (2000).
  • Maxwell, D. “Alternative Food Security Strategy: A Household Analysis of Urban Agriculture in Kampala.” World Development 23, 10 (1995). 1669–1681.
  • Barrett, C. & Maxwell, D. Food Aid After Fifty Years: Recasting its Role. London: Routledge. (2005).
  • Maxwell, D. “The Political Economy of Urban Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa.” World Development 27, 11 (1999). 1939–1953.
Most Recent External Publications:
  • Maxwell, D. & Gelsdorf, K. Understanding the Humanitarian World. London: Routledge. (Forthcoming 2019).
  • Maxwell, D & Hailey, P. “The Re-emergence of Famine in the 21st Century.” Special Edition on, “La lutte contre la famine: un mythe de Sisyphe?” Politorbis. No. 66. (March 2018). 13-22.
  • Maxwell, D., Gordon, R., Moro, L., Santschi, M., Dau, P. “Trajectories of International Engagement with State and Local Actors: Evidence from South Sudan.” Journal of Intervention and State Building 12(1) (2018). 98-119.
  • Vaitla, B., Coates, J., Glaeser, L., Hillbruner, C.,* Biswas, P.,* Maxwell, D. “The measurement of household food security: Correlation and latent variable analysis of alternative indicators in a large multi-country dataset.” Food Policy 68 (April 2017). 193-205.
  • Seal, A., Hailey, P., Bailey, R., Maxwell, D., Majid, N. “Famine, conflict, and political indifference. Catastrophic combination for the people of Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Northern Nigeria.” British Medical Journal 357 (2017). 2196-97.

News Items

Dan Maxwell served on advisory committee for London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine study
September 30, 2018

Dan Maxwell served on an advisory committee led by Francesco Checchi for the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine study released on September 26. The report, “South Sudan: Estimates…

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Feinstein faculty participate in the Return of Famine Symposium
May 5, 2018

On May 4, 2018, Daniel Maxwell, Dyan Mazurana, and Greg Gottlieb featured at the Tufts Return of Famine Symposium. The event covered four main topics: Why has famine returned? Challenges…

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Feinstein Research Projects

The Constraints and Complexities of Information and Analysis

This study seeks to understand the availability and quality of information, and the external influences on data collection and analysis for the classification of food emergencies.

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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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Feinstein Publications

Constraints and Complexities of Information Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from South Sudan
identify famine

A study of the effectiveness of the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, used to identify famine and levels of food insecurity, in South Sudan.

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Briefing Paper: Constraints and Complexities of Information Analysis in Humanitarian Emergencies: Evidence from South Sudan
Integrated Phase Classification

The briefing paper about a study of the effectiveness of the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, used to identify famine and levels of food insecurity, in South Sudan.

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