Antoinette Handley

Antoinette Handley

Antoinette Handley

PIIRS Visiting Research Scholar

World Politics, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

Aaron Burr Hall, Office 330


Handley is currently an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto where she teaches comparative, developing country politics, including African politics and government, African political economy and the politics of epidemics. Prior to her current position, Handley served as the director of studies at the South African Institute of International Affairs in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she led the institute’s research and publications division.Handley’s research focuses on the nature of the private sector, specifically, business as a political actor and the role of these actors in the political economy of development more broadly. More recently, her work has focused on how African economic elites respond to moments of national social or political crisis. One such crisis that she examines is the wide-ranging and devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in certain Southern and East African countries; another is presented in moments of national political turmoil and violence. Her work considers why, in some instances, business, often at some considerable cost to itself, seeks to play a key role in resolving the crisis in question, while in other instances, firms attempt much more narrowly to simply insulate themselves from the costs of the crisis, doing little or nothing to resolve it.

While at Princeton, she will be working on a new project: attempting to develop a political economy account of state formation in Africa. This will examine how iterated interactions between particular economic and political elites, and the public and private sector, have shaped the ongoing construction of the state across the continent. She seeks to understand whether the power of political elites and the states that they build is constrained or enabled by the concomitant development—or not—of a dominant economic class.,  Ph.D. in Politics at Princeton.