Research

Research Focus

My research focuses on conflict processes, political corruption, international development, state collapse, and social trust in the African context.

Current Research

Individual Research

  • Corruption and Conflict. How different types of corruption shape contentious politics in Africa, ranging from social movements to armed rebels and secessionists.
  • Trust & Mobilization. The role that social trust plays in shaping mobilization into contentious groups, as well as shaping ‘cultures of trust within those groups.
  • Unity & Fragmentation. The processes by which African secessionist groups experience movement unity or suffer from fragmentation.
  • State Capture. How and why African democracies are captured by private and party interests.

Collaborative Research

Civil Resistance & Political Violence. With Brandon Ives and Jonathan Pinckney. This research focuses on topics like the emergence of non-strategic violence, the formation of alliances within civil resistance movements, and issues of temporality in contentious politics.

Methods

  1. Geospatial analysis, which allows me to visualize and model the spatial impact of social incidents on one another, as well as to derive a stronger understanding of how geography drives political outcomes.
  2. Quantitative analysis, including parametric and non-parametric statistical analysis in both frequentist and Bayesian approaches.
  3. Experimental methods, which I find to be useful in deriving and testing initial suppositions about behaviors in response to certain stimuli. I see experiments as a crucial first step in testing whether we are asking the right questions.
  4. Field research and interviews, which provide both exploratory and confirmatory information in the form of thick context and process-tracing.

Research Appointments

  1. Center for Open Data Enterprise. Washington, DC. (2018 – 2019)
  2. Global Integrity. Washington, DC. (2016 – 2018)
  3. Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. College Park, MD. (2015 – 2017)
  4. Uppsala University, Department of Peace Research. Uppsala, Sweden. One-Sided Violence Project (2015)
  5. University of Maryland. College Park, MD. w/ Mark Lichbach & Paul Huth (2013 – 2016)