Professor John Harriss is a social anthropologist who has worked for most of his professional life in the inter-disciplinary field of International Development Studies.
Following his education at the University of Cambridge and then at the University of East Anglia, he taught in the School of Development Studies at the University of East Anglia from 1976 to 1990, and served as the Dean of the School in 1987-90. Thereafter he moved to the London School of Economics (LSE) as the founding Programme Director of the Development Studies Institute (DESTIN), and directed the Institute from 1990. In 1994-96, on leave from the LSE, he worked as the Head of the Regional Office for South and Central Asia of the Save the Children Fund (United Kingdom-UK). He served again as Director of DESTIN in 2001-04. In 2004-05, he headed a successful bid for the establishment of the Department for International Development-funded Research Programme Consortium on Institutions and Pro-Poor Growth, and directed the Consortium – with members from Africa, Latin America and India, as well as from the UK – in 2005-06.
In 2006, he moved to Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, as the first Director of the University’s new School for International Studies. Professor Harriss has held visiting research fellowships at the Australian National University and at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris, and he has had a long running affiliation with the Madras Institute of Development Studies. He has undertaken research and advisory work for a number of development agencies including the Department for International Development of the UK government, the International Labour Office, and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.