Laura E. Seay is a PhD candidate in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on the diffusion of authority to non-state actors in collapsed states, particularly with respect to the role of local elites in social service delivery in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Seay’s dissertation research was supported by two Malcolm MacDonald Fellowships (2002-03; 2005-06) and two Malcolm MacDonald Summer Research Internship grants (2004, 2005) from the University of Texas at Austin Department of Government. She conducted fieldwork in the cities of Goma and Bukavu in the D.R. Congo for a total of eight months from 2005-2007.