Kaden Paulson-Smith

Position title: Ph.D. Candidate: Comparative Politics | Political Theory

Email: paulsonsmith@wisc.edu


Personal Website


Research Interests:

African politics, gender and sexuality, British Empire, critical criminology, decolonial and feminist methodologies


Kaden is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Wisconsin—Madison in the Department of Political Science with a Minor in African Studies and in Gender & Women’s Studies.  They specialize in comparative politics and political theory with a substantive focus on African politics, gender and sexuality, British Empire, and critical criminology and a regional focus on East Africa.  Their research exhumes the relationship between empire, policing, and identity with the aim of advancing methods for the continued work of decolonization.  Kaden’s dissertation critically analyzes British archives and discourse to trace how the colonial police was developed and contested during colonization in former Tanganyika and after the fall of the British Empire.  This project joins others’ calls to center the criminal punishment system in global analyses of the modern capitalist state.  Kaden previously worked for Teaching, Research, & International Policy and AidData at the College of William & Mary’s Global Research Institute.  They received a Bachelor of Arts in Government and a Five College Certificate of African Studies from Smith College.


Creating and Contesting Empire: Policing in Tanganyika

TA for:

Political Science/International Studies 439: The Comparative Study of Genocide (Teaching Assistant for Scott Straus), Spring 2020

History 277: Africa: An Introductory Survey (Teaching Assistant for Neil Kodesh), Fall 2019

International Studies 523: Culture and the Global Workplace (Teaching Assistant for Online Course of International Internships Program), Summer 2019

African Cultural Studies 277: Africa: An Introductory Survey (Teaching Assistant for Matthew Brown), Spring 2019

International Studies 601: Topics in Global Security: Negotiating Peace in the African Great Lakes Region (Graduate Assistant for Russ Feingold), Fall 2018

Political Science 160: Introduction to Political Theory (Head Teaching Assistant for Daniel Kapust), Fall 2018

Select Awards and Honors:

Institute for Legal Studies Law and Society Graduate Fellowship, Law School, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2020-2021

Student Research Conference Travel Grant, Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Funding in the Graduate School, University of Wisconsin–Madison, April 2019 and August 2019

Scott Kloeck-Jenson International Internship Fellowship, Institute for Regional and International Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Summer 2019

Hyde Dissertation Research Award, Center for Research on Gender and Women, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Summer 2019

Summer Initiative Funding Award, Political Science Department, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Summer 2018, 2019, 2020

African Studies Program Scholarship for Northwestern University’s AfriSem Graduate Conference, University of Wisconsin–Madison, April 2019

Royal Air Maroc Student Travel Award, African Studies Association, November 2018

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, Summer 2018

Jordan Prize for year’s best graduate paper on Africa, African Studies Program, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2017-2018

African Studies Summer Fieldwork Award, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Summer 2017

Elections Research Center Fellowship, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2016-2017