David Patel (speaker) is a 2006-2007 predoctoral fellow at CDDRL (fall quarter) and postdoctoral fellow at CISAC (winter and spring quarters). His dissertation examines questions of religious organization and collective action in the Middle East, with a theoretical focus on the relationship of organization and information in particular. Empirically, his study looks at Islamic institutions and their role in political action in a wide range of settings including 7th century garrison cities of the early Islamic empire, through the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. Patel has spent a great deal of time in the Middle East over the last several years, including extended visits to Yemen, Morocco, Jordan, and Iraq, where he spent seven months in Basra conducting research beginning in the fall of 2003. He works with David Laitin, Jim Fearon, and Avner Greif at Stanford.
Patel received his PhD in political science from Stanford University in March 2007. In fall 2007 he will join the faculty at Cornell University as an assistant professor of political science.
Walter W. Powell (respondent) is a professor of education and affiliated professor of organizational behavior, sociology, and communications at Stanford University. He is also an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute. At Stanford, he is director of the Scandinavian Consortium on Organizational Research. Powell works in the areas of organization theory and economic sociology. He is coauthor of Books: The Culture and Commerce of Publishing (1983), an analysis of the transformation of book publishing from a family-run, craft-based field into a multinational media industry, and author of Getting Into Print (1985), an ethnographic study of decision-making processes in scholarly publishing houses. He edited The Nonprofit Sector (1987, referred to by reviewers as "the Bible of scholarship on the nonprofit sector"). Powell is currently directing a large scale study, Stanford Project on the Evolution of the Nonprofit Sector, of the circulation of managerial practices in the Bay Area nonprofit community, mapping the flow of ideas among consultants, philanthropists, founders, business leaders, government officials, and nonprofit managers. Powell is widely known for his contributions to institutional analysis, beginning with his article, with Paul DiMaggio, "The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields" (1983) and their subsequent edited book, The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis (1991). At Stanford, he is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Social Innovation at the Graduate School of Business, a member of the Public Policy faculty, and serves on the governing board of the France-Stanford program.