Jocelyn Sage Mitchell

Assistant Professor in Residence, Liberal Arts Program
Email: jocelyn.mitchell (at)
Phone: +974 4454 5051
Office Location: 2-234


Jocelyn Sage Mitchell is assistant professor in residence at Northwestern University in Qatar, teaching comparative and American politics and interdisciplinary courses. She is also an affiliated faculty member of Northwestern University's Middle East and North African Studies Program in the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences. Mitchell holds a BA in political science and Middle Eastern studies from Brown University (2003) and an MA (2008) and a PhD (2013) in government from Georgetown University. She has lived in Doha, Qatar, since August 2008 with her husband and two sons.

Mitchell's research agenda encompasses the interaction between citizens and their governments, whether democratic or authoritarian. In particular, how do disadvantaged and/or underrepresented groups make their voices heard? Her interests include political legitimacy, state- and nation-building, civil society, public opinion, and political participation. In her research, she combines qualitative (ethnography, interviews, audiovisuals, media analysis) and quantitative (survey) methodologies. She has received over one million USD in grant funds from the Qatar National Research Fund, most recently for a three-year grant (2016–2019) on citizen and expatriate responses to the new National Museum of Qatar. Previous to this, she has been the lead primary investigator on grants on methodological innovation in comparative survey research and on women's civil society networks, participation, and effects. Her dissertation, “Beyond Allocation: The Politics of Legitimacy in Qatar,” focused on the interaction of oil wealth, nationalism, and citizen voice in Qatar, and she is currently expanding this topic into a book manuscript.

Mitchell regularly presents her work in comparative and American politics at the annual conferences of the American Political Science Association, the Midwest Political Science Association, and the Middle Eastern Studies Association, as well as many other research venues, working groups, and invited lectures. She teaches introductory courses on American and comparative politics; seminars on political legitimacy, public opinion, and civil society; and is developing an interdisciplinary course on climate change. Mitchell teaches research methods (ethnographic participant-observation, interviews, oral history, and survey research) in all of these courses and includes her undergraduate students in her research and grants. Her undergraduate students have won awards, presented at international conferences, and published their own work under her mentorship. Mitchell has won awards for her research and teaching and has received scholarships, fellowships and professional development grants from Georgetown University, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, and Northwestern University in Qatar.

Courses Taught at NU-Q
  • POLI SCI 242 Debates in Comparative Politics
  • POLI SCI 242 American Government and Politics
  • POLI SCI 242 Gulf Society and Politics
  • POLI SCI 387 Public Opinion
  • POLI SCI 387 Politics of Legitimacy
  • POLI SCI 387 Female Civil Society
Areas of Research
  • State-society relations
  • Political legitimacy
  • State- and nation-building
  • Civil society
  • Public opinion
  • Political participation

National Museums and the Public Imagination: A Longitudinal Study of the National Museum of Qatar. (2016–2019). Primary Investigator, Qatar National Research Fund, $800,521 USD. NPRP 8-389-5-051.

Qatari Women: Engagement and Empowerment. (March 30, 2014–September 30, 2015). Primary Research Mentor, Qatar National Research Fund, $150,000 USD. UREP 15-035-5-013.

Qatar and the World Values Survey: Ensuring Conceptual Validity and Cross-Cultural Comparability. (September 9, 2012 – September 8, 2013) Primary Research Mentor. UREP 12-016-5-007.

  • Qatar National Research Fund: $99,836
  • Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar: $20,000.  
  • Total Grant Funds: $119,836

Finalist, 8th Annual UREP Competition, for best UREP grant concluded in 2015, for the QNRF UREP grant, “Qatari Women: Engagement and Empowerment,” Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference, Doha, Qatar, March 21–23, 2016. Top 6 out of 66 UREP projects overall.

Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), “Best Paper Award,” May 2015, for the paper, “In Majalis Al-Hareem: The Complex Professional and Personal Choices of Qatari Women,” presented at the DIFI Annual Conference on Family Research and Policy: The Arab Family in an Age of Transition: Challenges and Resilience, in the Role of State Policies on Family Formation and Stability pillar.

Qatar Foundation, Research and Development, “1st Prize Research Excellence Award,” November 2014, for the poster presentation, “Majalis Al-Hareem in Qatar: Sites of Social and Political Engagement,” presented at the Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference 2014 in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities pillar.

Northwestern University in Qatar “Unity Award,” May 2014, for the QNRF UREP grant, “Qatari Women: Engagement and Empowerment.”

Best Course Taught by a Graduate Student during the 2006–2007 Academic Year, Department of Government, Georgetown University, October 2007; for "Comparative Political Systems," Summer 2007.

Graduate Student Paper of the Year Award, Comparative Subfield, Department of Government, Georgetown University, March 2007, for “The Israeli High Court of Justice: A Study of a Domestic Court in Times of Conflict.”


Gengler, J. J., and Mitchell, J. S. (Forthcoming) “A Hard Test of Individual Heterogeneity in Response Scale Usage: Evidence from Qatar.” International Journal of Public Opinion Research.

Mitchell, J. S., Foley, S., Moritz, J., and Carvalho Pinto, V. (2016) “Gendered Spaces in the Arabian Peninsula.” The Encylopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, Supplement 14.

Mitchell, J. S. (2016) “Book Review: The Wages of Oil: Parliaments and Economic Development in Kuwait and the UAE by Michael Herb.” Arab Studies Journal.

Mitchell, J. S., Paschyn, C., Mir, S., Pike, K., and Kane, T. (2015) In majaalis al-hareem: The complex professional and personal choices of Qatari women. DIFI Family Research and Proceedings 4.

Mitchell, J. S. (2015) Book Review: Qatar and the Arab Spring by Kristian Coates Ulrichsen. Cambridge Review of International Affairs 28 (4): 768–770.

Mitchell, J. S. (2014). Beyond Bricks and Mortar: Creating Knowledge through Student-Faculty Partnerships. Journal of General Education 63 (2–3): 73–93.

Mitchell, J. S. (2014). Book Review: Qatar: Small State, Big Politics by Mehran Kamrava. Democratization 21 (4): 771–73.

Mitchell, J. S. (2013). Book Review: Qatar: Politics and the Challenges of Development by Matthew Gray. Review of Middle East Studies 47 (2): 246–48.

Mitchell, J. S. (2010). Political and Socioeconomic Transformation in the Gulf: Image and Reality. History Compass 8 (3): 275-302.

Weiner, J. S. (2007). Book Review: Faith in Moderation: Islamist Parties in Jordan and Yemen by Jillian Schwedler.  Democracy & Society 4 (2): 19-20.  

Book chapters:

Mitchell, J. S. (2016). We’re All Qataris Here: The Nation-Building Narrative of the National Museum of Qatar. In Erskine-Loftus, P., Al-Mulla, M., and Hightower, V. (Eds.), Representing the Nation. Oxford, UK: Routledge.

Mitchell, J. S., and Pal, L. A. (2016). Policy Making in Qatar: The Macro-Policy Framework. In Tok, M. E., Al-Khater, L., and Pal, L. A. (Eds.), Policy Making in a Transformative State: The Case of Qatar. Palgrave Macmillan.

Weiner, J. S., and Wilcox, C. (2009). Bridging the Cultural Divide: Accommodating Religious Diversity. In Martinez-Ebers, V. and Dorraj, M. (Eds.), Perspectives on Race, Ethnicity, and Religion: Identity Politics in America. New York: Oxford University Press.