Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Stephanie Savell

Stephanie Savell

Senior Research Associate in International and Public Affairs


Stephanie Savell is an anthropologist of militarism, security, civic engagement, and political culture, and has studied these topics in the United States and in Brazil. She co-directs Brown University's Costs of War Project and conducts research and outreach on the U.S. war on terrorism and its costs for Americans and others around the world. Another major line of research is on policing and activism in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she has conducted extensive field research. Savell writes for academic and public audiences; she has published in PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology ReviewFocaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology, the Smithsonian magazine, US News and World Report, Axios, and The Nation, among others, and is co-author of The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life (Routledge, 2014).


“When Is America Going to End Its Shadow War in Somalia?,” The Guardian, September 5, 2019.

“Opinion: Democratic Candidates Are Ignoring the 'Endless War' Beyond Afghanistan,” Military Times, August 11, 2019.

The American Empire’s Long Reach,” The Nation, February 19, 2019

This Map Shows Where in the World the U.S. Military is Combatting Terrorism,” Smithsonian, January 2019

"Rising death rate prompts some in Congress to reassess 'war on terror,'" Axios, November 8, 2018

"Credit Card Wars: Today's War Financing Strategies Will Only Increase Inequality," TomDispatch, June 28, 2018 

The War on Apathy Over America’s Wars,” Salon, February 25, 2018

Life in a War Zone: Putting the Military in Control of Rio de Janeiro’s Policing Threatens Brazilian Democracy.” US News & World Report. February 23, 2018. (Co-authored with Nicholas Barnes.)

“Performing Humanitarian Militarism: Public Security and the Military in Brazil.” Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 75: 59-72. 2016.

 “‘I’m Not a Leader’: Cynicism and Good Citizenship in a Brazilian Favela.” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 38(2): 300-317. 2015.

The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life. Routledge. (Co-authored with Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Elizabeth A. Bennett, Alissa Cordner, and Peter Taylor Klein.) 2014.

Talks & Media

Podcast interview. “Episode 39: Stephanie Savell: The Costs of War,” The Peacebuilding Podcast, August 6.

Stephanie Savell on Los Angeles Pacifica Radio, KPFK Middle East in Focus, April 21, 2019

Stephanie Savell on America’s Role in Global War Against Terrorism,” C-SPAN Washington Journal, April 20, 2019

"Fueling the Backfire: Our Everywhere War on Terror," Keeping Democracy Alive with Burt Cohen, March 7, 2019

How Global Is the Global War on Terror? For the U.S., Very Global,” NPR 1A, February 14, 2019

Counterterrorism Map Interview, BBC World News, January 17, 2019

News|Recent News

American soldiers

Democratic candidates are ignoring the "Endless War" beyond Afghanistan (written by Stephanie Savell)

August 12, 2019 Military Times

Stephanie Savell, Co-Director of the Costs of War Project, in Military Times, "America is currently embroiled in counterterror wars stretching across the planet, and public discussions are largely ignoring them. It’s good to see the Presidential candidates talking about ending the war in Afghanistan, but the American public deserves to know what these candidates plan for the rest of the wars as well."


American soldiers saluting

The Costs of War (interview with Stephanie Savell)

August 6, 2019 Susan Coleman

Stephanie Savell, Co-Director of the Costs of War Project, sat down with Susan Coleman to discuss the Project and the war on terror, saying "it seems to be 'the biggest story in the United States that no one wants to talk about.'"


A United States Marine during a training exercise

The American empire's long reach (written by Stephanie Savell)

February 20, 2019 The Nation

Stephanie Savell, co-director of the Costs of War Project, in The Nation, "All told, it should be clear that another kind of grand plan is needed to deal with the threat of terrorism both globally and to Americans—one that relies on a far smaller US military footprint and costs far less blood and treasure."


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