Melissa Lee


Klein Family Presidential Assistant Professor of Political Science


Melissa M. Lee is the Klein Family Presidential Assistant Professor of Political Science and a Faculty Fellow at Perry World House. She studies the international and domestic politics of state-building and state development.

Professor Lee is the author of Crippling Leviathan: How Foreign Subversion Weakens the State (Cornell University Press, 2020). Her research has also been published in the American Journal of Political ScienceJournal of PoliticsInternational Organization, and the Annual Review of Political Science, and her policy writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs and the Irregular Warfare Initiative. Her work has received the American Political Science Association’s 2016 Helen Dwight Reid (now Merze Tate) award, APSA’s European Politics and Society Section 2020 Best Article Prize, and Perry World House’s inaugural Emerging Scholar Global Policy Prize.

Lee received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University and her B.A. in Political Science from the University of California San Diego. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn, Lee was Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Lightning Scholar at Perry World House.