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S. N. Sangmpam

S. N. Sangmpam

Contact Information:


217 Sims Hall

S. N. Sangmpam

Professor by Courtesy Appointment, Political Science Department

Senior Research Associate, Maxwell African Scholars Union

Professor, African American Studies, College of Arts & Sciences


Comparative State-Society relations
Comparative Third World Politics
International Political Economy of the Third World
African Politics
African American Politics

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., University of Chicago

Areas of Expertise

Theoretic comparative politics, empirically oriented social/political theory, Third World politics and political economy, African politics, international politics, African American politics

Research Interests

Crossnational comparative politics of Western and non-Western countries, empirically oriented social/political theory, african politics and transformations, North-South political economy, African American politics and panafricanism

Research Grant Awards and Projects

Currently, Sangmpam has an active two-track research agenda. The first track is about the conceptual, theoretical, and empirical foundations of the overpoliticized state in developing countries. As a follow-up to his book "Comparing Apples and Mangoes" (2007), which established—theoretically and empirically—the conceptual basis that distinguishes the overpoliticized state in Africa, Asia and South America from the liberal democratic state in Western countries, he is now collecting data and writing a book to test the explanatory propositions/hypotheses about the overpoliticized state developed in the 2007 publication.

The second track is about Africa’s transformations and development. Sangmpam is now writing a book about Sub-Saharan Africa’s exceptionalism. He attempts to answer the “big question” of why Sub-Saharan Africa has lagged behind other developing regions in socioeconomic terms even though it shares with them the same type of state and politics.

Selected Publications

Comparing Apples and Mangoes: The Overpoliticized State in Developing Countries (2007)

Pseudocapitalism and the Overpoliticized State (1994)

“Politics Rules: The False Primacy of Institutions in Developing Countries,” Political Studies (2007)

“American Civilization, Name Change, and African American Politics” National Political Science Review (1999)

“The Overpoliticized State and International Politics: Nicaragua, Haiti, Cambodia and Togo,” Third World Quarterly (1995)

“Social Theory and the Challenges of Africa’s Future,” Africa Today (1995)

“Neither Soft nor Dead: The African State is Alive and Well,” African Studies Review (1993)

“The Overpoliticized State and Democratization: A Theoretical Model,” Comparative Politics (1992)