A specialist on politics in the Middle East and North Africa, Anderson served as dean of SIPA from 1996 to 2008, and as the James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations at Columbia University. She previously served as chair of the University’s political science department and director of the Middle East Institute. Before joining Columbia, she was assistant professor of government and social studies at Harvard University.
Past president of the Middle East Studies Association and past chair of the board of the Social Science Research Council, Anderson is a former member of the Council of the American Political Science Association and served on the board of the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs. She is member emerita of the board of Human Rights Watch, where she served as co-chair of Human Rights Watch/Middle East, co-chair of the International Advisory Board of the Von Humbolt Foundation, and member of the International Advisory Council of the World Congress for Middle East Studies. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Anderson is the author of Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-first Century (Columbia University Press, 2003), The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1820-1980 (Princeton University Press, 1986), editor ofTransitions to Democracy (Columbia University Press, 1999) and coeditor of The Origins of Arab Nationalism (Columbia 1991).
Anderson holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, an M.A. in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. She was awarded an honorary doctor of laws from Monmouth University in 2002.