Director of Research | Associate Teaching Professor
Institute for Security Policy & Law
Syracuse University College of Law | Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs
office: 300F Dineen Hall
Zoli’s research focuses on contemporary problems of warfare from an interdisciplinary social science, public policy, and law perspective, with attention to the culture and governance of contemporary conflict dynamics, changing patterns of global conflict, and the role of international humanitarian law in contemporary conflict dynamics.
One track of Zoli’s research investigates the changing nature of the US military force structure, the challenges of asymmetric warfare for military personnel, and data-driven inquiry into servicemembers’ and veterans’ service and post-service experiences, including post-9/11 veterans’ reintegration and subsequent pathway in higher education, civic engagement, and employment. Zoli’s veterans research uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to help prioritize their perspectives, as in the co-authored white paper, Missing Perspectives: Servicemembers’ Transition from Service to Civilian Life.
On another track, Zoli analyzes the role of technology, culture, and religion in contemporary security dynamics and in postconflict transition. This includes the role of Islamic law in mitigating conflict and postconflict dynamics; Muslim-majority states’ international law conflict and compliance behavior; problems of law and governance in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and the importance of Islamic and international norms for transitioning post-Arab Spring states.
In her graduate/law seminar “Law and War,” Zoli prioritizes interdisciplinary research with various partners in and beyond Syracuse University, including the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF); United States Institute of Peace (USIP); New America Foundation (NAF); International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences (ISISC); the US Department of State; and others.
Zoli’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and Google. Her work has been published in Foreign Policy, Harvard National Security Journal, and the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, among other venues.
Zoli earned her Ph.D. in cultural studies and international relations at Syracuse University (2004) and completed all credits in the professional policy master’s degree program at SU Maxwell School. She is a senior researcher at IVMF; a faculty member in political science and international relations at Maxwell School; an honorary professor at the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Society at Australian Catholic University, Melbourne; and Chair of the Academic Advisory Board for the Warrior-Scholar Program.