Joel D. Barkan, a former political science professor at the University of Iowa and a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, died Jan. 10 at a private home in Mexico City, where he was vacationing. He was 72.

The cause was a pulmonary embolism, according to his wife, Sandra Barkan.

Dr. Barkan came to the Washington area in 1997 as a senior fellow at the Jennings Randolph Program for International Peace at the United States Institute of Peace.

He later held positions that included professorial lecturer at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University, a consultant at the World Bank, an adviser at the National Democratic Institute and fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy.

Joel David Barkan was a native of Toledo, Ohio, and a 1963 graduate of Cornell University. He received a master’s degree in 1965 and a doctorate in 1970, both in political science from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Early in his career, he was on the faculty of the University of California at Irvine in addition to his work at Iowa. He also had appointments, lectureships and research assignments in Africa, France and India.

Dr. Barkan wrote and edited several books on political issues in Africa.

Survivors include his wife since 1962, Sandra Hackman Barkan of Washington; two children, Josh Barkan of Wichita and Bronwyn Barkan of Santa Monica, Calif.; his mother, Theresa W. Barkan of Columbus, Ohio; and two grandchildren.

— Bart Barnes