I am currently a visiting professor of comparative politics and international relations at Oklahoma State University. I teach a number of courses in these fields, including ethnic conflict, Russian and Central Asian politics, international organizations, and global economics. I also teach research methodology and data skills, including our department’s introductory methods courses and senior capstone class.
My research focuses on ethnic politics, conflict mediation, and democracy. I have long been interested in questions of identity and democracy, especially how minorities may be brought into a political system. These are important questions that affect all countries, as failure to integrate groups may result in political stability and a weakening of the quality of government.
with Stephen C. Nemeth and Jacob A. Mauslein; forthcoming in Conflict Management and Peace Science
Abstract: Previous work finds that countries that contain an excluded group are at higher risk of terrorism. However, there are good reasons to think that the impact of exclusion may be more likely to motivate ethnic violence when this exclusion is paired with local conditions that increase awareness of intergroup competition. In this study, we examine sub-national terrorist violence and find that areas that contain an excluded ethnic group are at higher risk of violence. Moreover, this risk is heightened by regional population density, wealth, and country regime type.
Abstract: Two major goals of teaching include educating students to communicate effectively and encouraging students to critically engage with information. To what extent can student blog writing help us achieve these goals? In this pilot study, I analyze how short “blog-style” writing assignments compare to more traditional short research essays in promoting student learning and engagement with research. I compare the two writing styles using a basic content analysis; I then analyze student self-reports on their engagement with class learning goals and whether each assignment encouraged further interest in the topic. I also examine the amount of time students devote to each assignment, how many drafts they prepare on each assignment, and how many and what sort of sources they use. Despite the data-gathering limits of the pilot study, I find preliminary support that blogs and essays best serve as complementary writing assignments, as each style encourages students to develop different research and writing skills.
Abstract: We challenge the civic–ethnic dichotomy drawn by previous authors and propose a four-category typology of identities based on out-group tolerance and in-group attachment. Drawing from work on national identity formation and nation-building, we test hypotheses about the processes that cause individuals to adopt one identity over others using survey data based on representative samples of five ethnic groups in Ukraine. We find that the effects of socialisation processes vary greatly depending upon ethnic group. Our results challenge some long-held assumptions about the potential destabilising effects of ‘ethnic’ identities and the degree to which ‘civic’ identities correspond to values and behaviours supportive of democracy.
with Sara McLaughlin Mitchell and Stephen C. Nemeth; Journal of Conflict Resolution
Abstract: Regional and global intergovernmental organizations have grown both in number and scope, yet their role and effectiveness as conflict managers is not fully understood. Previous research efforts tend to categorize organizations solely by the scope of their membership, which obscures important sources of variation in institutional design at both the regional and global levels. International organizations will be more successful conflict managers if they are highly institutionalized, if they have members with homogeneous preferences, and if they have more established democratic members. These hypotheses are evaluated with data on territorial (1816-2001), maritime (1900-2001), and river (1900-2001) claims from the Issue Correlates of War (ICOW) project in the Western Hemisphere, Europe, and the Middle East. Empirical analysis suggests that international organizations are more likely to help disputing parties reach an agreement if they have more democratic members, if they are highly institutionalized, and when they use binding management techniques.
I teach a number of courses in the fields of comparative politics and international relations, including classes on ethnic conflict, Russian and Central Asian politics, international organizations, and global economics. While my sample syllabi (see below) reflect classes I have taught recently or plan to offer in the near future, I have also offered classes on Democracy and Democratization, European Politics, International Law, and Intro to International Relations.
Reflecting my interest in applied methodology, I also teach our department’s introductory methodology class and our senior capstone research course. I focus my introductory methodology class on helping students build a practical skill set, focusing the class on topics such as research and data literacy, basic statistical analysis, data visualization, statistical program training, and research ethics.