Alesha Porisky


  • Comparative politics
  • Social policy
  • Service provision
  • State building and citizenship
  • Africa
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Ethics of field research

Overview of Scholarly Activity

Alesha Porisky is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science with a specialization in Comparative Politics. She is also a faculty associate at the Center for Nonprofit and NGO studies at NIU. Her research focusses on social policies, cash transfers, citizenship and state-building, with a particular focus on East Africa. She also has an interest in qualitative research methodologies and the ethics of fieldwork. Professor Porisky’s research has been published in the Annual Review of Political Science and Regional and Federal Studies, among other outlets. Her book manuscript, The State at the Margins: The Politics of Cash Transfers in Rural Kenya and Tanzania, explores how the state provision of cash transfers in Kenya and Tanzania shape citizens’ perceptions of citizenship and access to the structures of the state.

Professor Porisky has worked as a Researcher with the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Center at the University of Manchester, where she led research examining how subnational variations in state capacity and political competition impact the implementation of cash transfer programs in Kenya. She is currently a collaborator on a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funded project which examines the political impacts of electricity provision in Kenya.

Professor Porisky teaches courses on comparative politics, African politics, gender and politics and research methods. She is particularly interested in supervising research projects related to social policy, service provision, citizenship, state-building, international development and the political economy of development.

Selected Publications

Dreier, Sarah, Milli Lake, Arthur Alix LeGrange and Alesha Porisky. Forthcoming. "Social Protection and the Social Contract." Annual Review of Political Science.

Mohamed, Tahira Shariff, Alesha Porisky and Patrick Mutinda. 2021. "The Politics of Social Protection in Kenya: State Capacity, Political Competition and Social Pension Registration in Marsabit County." ESID Working Paper Series, No. 166.

Porisky, Alesha. 2020. "The Distributive Politics of Social Transfers in Kenya." ESID Working Paper Series, No. 155.

Davidson, Adrienne, Matthew Lesch, Maxime Héroux-Legault, Tanya White, Alesha Porisky, Karol Czuba and Zain Asaf. (2017). "Advancing the Study of Political Cleavages through Experimentation: Revisiting Regionalism and Redistributive Preferences in Canada." Regional and Federal Studies, 27(2).

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