Dr Matthew Benson is the Sudans Research Director within the Conflict and Civicness Research Group. Matthew’s research is at the intersection of social and economic history and political economy with a focus on how marginalised communities might be able to disrupt historic patterns of state predation.
Matthew is currently researching how decarbonisation might transform how war is financed and shape conflict and peace dynamics in the 21st century. The first component of this project is underway in 2023-2024 as Matthew collaboratively leads an update to a dataset on transnational conflict in Africa to identify and trace how conflicts on the continent have been financed from post-independence into the present. This includes a focus on the extent to which African petrostates have been engaged in interstate conflicts. This aspect of the project builds from Matthew’s doctoral thesis and post-doctoral research which examined how state and armed group revenue raising practices from the start of British colonial occupation to the present contributed to elite state capture. Matthew holds a PhD in History and an MA in Social and Economic History from Durham University, an MA in Governance and Development from the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex, and a BA in International Relations from Tufts University.