Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Stephanie Savell

Stephanie Savell

Stephanie Savell

Senior Researcher
Co-Director of the Costs of War


Stephanie Savell is a public anthropologist who researches militarism, security, and civic engagement in relation to the United States post-9/11 wars and policing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As Co-Director of Costs of War, she serves as editor of the project's research papers and executive director of operations. Savell's global map of U.S. counterterrorism operations has been featured by USA Today, BBC World News, and Smithsonian magazine, among others. She has published in a number of academic journals, including American Ethnologist, media outlets such as The Guardian, Foreign Policy, and Axios, and is co-author of The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life (Routledge, 2014). Her interviews have appeared on NPR's 1A, Vox's podcast Today, Explained, The Problem with Jon Stewart, C-SPAN Washington Journal, and elsewhere. She earned her Ph.D. from Brown University.


“The Right to Public Security: Policing and Activism in a Rio de Janeiro Favela.” American Ethnologist. November 7, 2021.

“Policing Rio de Janeiro and Complexo da Maré,” in Maré from the Inside: Art, Culture, and Politics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, edited by Nicholas Barnes, Desirée Poets, and Max O. Stephenson, Jr. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech Publishing. (Co-authored with Nicholas Barnes.) 2021.

“The Costs of United States Security Assistance: How Counterterrorism Intensified Conflict in Burkina Faso and Around the World.” Costs of War, Watson Institute, Brown University. March 2021.

“United States Counterterrorism Operations 2018-2020.” Costs of War, Watson Institute, Brown University. February 2021.

“Numbers and Per Capita Distribution of Troops Serving in the U.S. Post-9/11 Wars in 2019, By State.” Costs of War, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University. (Co-authored with Rachel McMahon. Map designed by Maria Ji). 2020.

Talks & Media

Television panelist, “The Problem with War: Digital Exclusive Panel.” The Problem with Jon Stewart, October 4.

Podcast interview. “After 20 Years, Measuring the True Costs of War.” Trending Globally (Watson Institute podcast), September 8.

Podcast interview. “The Cost of 9/11.” Today, Explained, Vox, September 8, 2021.

“Taking Stock: US Counterterrorism Interventions in Africa Today.” Invited speaker, Quincy Institute. Virtual Presentation, July 15.

Radio interview. “The Cost of US Counterterrorism Efforts.” WBUR (NPR Boston) Here and Now, March 2, 2021.

Research featured in “Exclusive: US Counterterrorism Operations Touched 85 Countries in the Last 3 Years Alone.” USA Today, Feb. 25, 2021.

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