Stephen Harmon

About Stephen A. Harmon

Stephen Harmon is an associate professor of history. He earned his M.A and Ph.D. in History at UCLA, where he researched French colonial rule in Islamic West Africa. He received a NDEA Title IV grant to study Bambara, 1980-1983, as well as two Fulbright Research Fellowships to conduct field research in Senegal and Mali, 1983-1984 and 1990-1991. 

He was co-writer and Principal Investigator of a NDEA Title VI grant to internationalize the curriculum at PSU, 1999-2002. He has published recently on Democratization in Mali and on Islamic radicalism in North and West Africa. 

He has completed a year or more of formal study of seven foreign languages, and has lived and worked on five different continents. Prior to coming to PSU, Dr. Harmon taught at Arkansas State University and SUNY-Oswego in New York. His hobbies are world travel and fly fishing.

Areas of specializations

  • Radical Islam
  • Democratization in Africa
  • French Colonial Africa


Ph.D., UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles), California, U.S.A., December, 1988

M.A., UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles), California, U.S.A., June, 1981

B.A., San Francisco State University, California, U.S.A., January, 1979

Courses Taught

HIST 102  World History since 1500
HIST 505  African Civilizations
HIST 507  Modern Africa
HIST 510  Modern Middle East
HIST 536 Modern South America
HIST 547 Radical Islam
HIST 626 U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan

Publications and Presentations


  • “Mali: Recent History.” In: Africa South of the Sahara 2016. 45th Edition. Edited by Europa Publications. Routledge, 2015. Updated in 2016.
  • “Securitization Initiatives in the Sahara-Sahel Region in the Twenty-first Century” African Security. Vol. 8, No. 4, December, 2015. pp. 227-248.
  • Terror and Insurgency in the Sahara-Sahel Region: Corruption, Contraband, Jihad and the Mali War of 2012-2013. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2014.
  • “From GSPC to AQIM: The Evolution of an Algerian Islamist Terrorist Group into an al-Qa’ida Affiliate and its Implications for the Sahara-Sahel Region” Concerned Africa Scholars Bulletin, N°85 US militarization of the Sahara-Sahel: Security, Space & Imperialism. Spring 2010, pp. 12-29.
  • “The War on Terror: Separating the (Star)Fish from the Sea” Freedom from Fear Magazine (UNICRI, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute) November 2009, pp. 4-6. Co-author Paul W. Zagorski.
  • "Radical Islam in the Sahel: Implications for U.S. Policy and Regional Stability." A. Jalloh and T. Falola (eds.) The United States and West Africa: Interactions and Relations. Rochester NY: University of Rochester Press, 2008. pp. 396-422.
  • "Joseph and Pharaoh: Religious Fundamentalists and Secular Modernists in Contemporary Islam and their Hostility towards Western Liberalism." Midwest Quarterly, pp. 179-199, Vol. XLIX, No. 2, 2008.
  • "Religion and the Consolidation of Democracy in Mali: The Dog That Doesn’t Bark." Democracy and Development: Journal of West African Affairs Vol. 5. No. 1, 2005, pp. 8-30.
Stephen Harmon
Dr. Stephen Harmon
Professor of History/Africa and the Middle East

Phone: (620) 235-4314

Office: 406 B Russ Hall

E-mail Stephen Harmon