Aili Mari Tripp

Position title: Vilas Research Professor of Political Science


Phone: (608) 263-1873

217 North Hall

Affiliated with Program of African Studies Program


Ph.D. in Political Science, Northwestern University, 1990

M.A. in Middle East Studies, University of Chicago, 1985

B.A. in Political Science, University of Chicago, 1983

Research Interests:

Comparative Politics, Africa, North Africa, Civil Society, Gender and Politics, Women’s Movements, Global Feminism, Conflict Resolution, Democratization


Aili Mari Tripp is Vilas Research Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Tripp’s research has focused on gender/women and politics, women’s movements in Africa, transnational feminism, African politics (with particular reference to Uganda and Tanzania), autocracies in Africa, and on the informal economy in Africa. She is presently working on a project on women’s political leadership in African autocracies and a second project on women’s political citizenship and conflict globally.

She is author of Seeking Legitimacy: Why Arab Autocracies Adopt Women’s Rights (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), which won the 2021 L. Carl Brown Book Prize of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies. Other award-winning books by the author include Women and Power in Postconflict Africa (2015), Museveni’s Uganda: Paradoxes of Power in a Hybrid Regime (2010), African Women’s Movements: Transforming Political Landscapes (2009) with Isabel Casimiro, Joy Kwesiga, and Alice Mungwa, and Women and Politics in Uganda (2000). Her first book was Changing the Rules: The Politics of Liberalization and the Urban Informal Economy in Tanzania (1997), which was recently reissued.  She has edited Sub-Saharan Africa: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women’s Issues Worldwide (2003), and co-edited (with Ladan Affi and Liv Tønnessen) Women and Peacebuilding in Africa (2021), (with Balghis Badri) Women’s Activism in Africa (2017), (with Myra Marx Ferree and Christina Ewig) Gender, Violence, and Human Security: Critical Feminist Perspectives (2013), (with Myra Marx Ferree) Global Feminism: Transnational Women’s Activism, Organizing, and Human Rights, (with Joy Kwesiga) The Women’s Movement in Uganda: History, Challenges and Prospects (2002) as well as (with Marja-Liisa Swantz) What Went Right in Tanzania? People’s Responses to Directed Development (1996).

Tripp has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Axel Springer Prize from the American Academy in Berlin, African Politics Conference Group best book on African politics award, and the Victoria Schuck award of the American Political Science Association for the best book on women and politics. In 2014 she won the African Studies Association Public Service Award. She recently held a fellowship at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS) in South Africa and prior to that at the Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington DC.

She has been president of the African Studies Association and vice president of the American Political Science Association. She has also served on the boards of the American Political Science AssociationAfrican Studies AssociationNational Council for Research on WomenTanzania Studies AssociationUniversity of Wisconsin Press, and numerous other journals and book series. She is part of a team of editors of the American Political Science Review, the flagship journal of the American Political Science Association. She has served as a co-editor of Politics & Gender and of a book series on Women in Africa for the University of Wisconsin Press.


PS 862: State and Society in Comparative Perspective Spring 2023

PS 429: Gender Politics in Comparative Perspective Spring 2023

PS 329: African Politics Fall 2022

PS948: Seminar: State & Society Fall 2022

PS948: Seminar: Gender and Politics in Comparative Perspective Fall 2021

PS469: Gender, Women and Politics Spring 2020

PS948: Seminar: Gender and Politics in Comparative Perspective Spring 2020

Awards & Grants:


National Science Foundation, 2022-24

Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies, South Africa

Vilas Research Professor, 2022-


L. Carl Brown Book Prize of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies

Uppsala Forum for Democracy, Uppsala University, Sweden


UW-Madison Graduate School Research Committee. 2020-21

Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC


Wangari Maathai Professor of Political Science and Gender & Women’s Studies, WARF Professorship


American Academy in Berlin, Axel Springer Award. Spring 2017

Carnegie Corporation and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2016-20

Evjue-Bascom Professorship in Gender and Women’s Studies, 2016-21

Feminist Scholars Fellowship from the Center for Research on Gender and Women, UW-Madison, Fall 2016

Finalist, Herskovits Book Prize, African Studies Association, Women and Power in Postconflict Africa, 2016

Winner, Best book award in African politics, African Politics Conference Group, Women and Power in Postconflict Africa, 2016


Fulbright Award to carry out research and teach in Morocco


African Studies Association Public Service Award


First Runner-up, Best Book on African Politics Award, African Politics Conference Group, for Museveni’s Uganda: Paradoxes of Power in a Hybrid Regime (Lynne Rienner, 2010).


President, African Studies Association, 2011-12

Hear from Professor Tripp on this episode of the 1050 Bascom Podcast!