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Graduate students on the job market: Comparative Politics

Kirk HarrisKirk Harris
kirkharr at


Research and Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics; African Politics; Race and Ethnicity; Democratic Representation; Clientelism; Public Policy; Political Economy; Multi-Method Research

Dissertation Title:Pathways to Accountability: Ethnicity and Allocation in Kenya's Constituency Development Fund

Dissertation Committee: Lauren M. MacLean (Chair); Michael D. McGinnis; Timothy Hellwig; Jennifer N. Brass (IU SPEA)

Prashant HosurPrashant Hosur Suhas
phosur at

CV | Website

Research Interests: International Security, Conflict Escalation, Rivalry Maintenance, Asymmetric Conflicts, Multilateralism, Emerging Powers.

Teaching Interests: Foreign Policy Analysis, War and International Conflicts, International Relations, Grand Strategy, Security topics in Asia.

Prashant’s dissertation examines three questions pertaining to inter-state rivalry behavior. First, it examines why rivalries persist, particularly between states with asymmetric power capabilities? Relative power parity has been assumed to be required for states to acknowledge each other has rivals and for rivalries to persist. However, the world is observing many rivalries between states that are unequal in war-making capabilities. This poses a challenge to current scholarship and the dissertation provides a systematic explanation for why such rivalries persist. To address these questions the dissertation tackles the problem of defining asymmetry and whether it can be understood in a way that helps us understand cases of prolonged conflicts and rivalries across the world. Therefore, how we understand asymmetry and the level of asymmetry between different countries proves to be a very important context that can explain conflicts and rivalries. I reconceptualise asymmetry whereby I privilege high-tech armies over low-tech armies since technologically superior armies have historically excelled on the battlefield.
Second, the dissertation examines, why are some rivalries more conflictual than others? While much of the Middle East and Asian rivalries experience hostile conflicts, the same is not the case in Latin America. Finally, when rivalries do terminate, why do some end peacefully while others do not? Is peaceful termination a function of growing power disparity or do external factors like other rivalries and alliances make peaceful termination more or less likely? The dissertation develops an argument centered on the capability offsets mechanism to explain the maintenance, escalation and termination of rivalries because explanations at the dyad level do not explain how weaker states in a rivalry manage to mobilize resources to resist stronger foes. The dissertation also utilizes extensive archival resources on the India-Pakistan conflict to lend context to the empirical analysis.

Dissertation Title: “When David Fights Goliath: The Persistence of Asymmetric Strategic Rivalries.”

Dissertation Committee: William Thompson (Chair), Karen Rasler, Timothy Hellwig and Patricia McManus (Sociology).

Shelli IsraelsenShelli Israelsen
shjpowel at


Research and teaching interests: Gender and conflict, international security, African politics, international law, U.S. foreign policy, research methods

Dissertation Title: Gender in Conflict: A Dynamic Theory of Ethno-Nationalist Organizations’ Recruitment of Women

Dissertation Committee: Karen Rasler (chair), William Thompson, Diana O’Brien, Susan Williams (Maurer School of Law)

Rafael KhachaturianRafael Khachaturian
rafkhach at

CV | Website

Research & Teaching Interests: Modern and Contemporary Political Thought; Democratic Theory; Marxism and Critical Theory; History of the Social Sciences; American Political Thought and Development; Historical Sociology

Dissertation Title: "Discipline, Knowledge, and Critique: Marxist Theory and the Revival of the State in American Political Science, 1968-1989"

This dissertation is a study of the revival of interest in the concept of the state between the 1960s-1980s, after it had initially faded from prominence in the mid-twentieth century. I reconstruct this moment by focusing on how contemporary European neo-Marxist debates about the capitalist state were received and incorporated into the American social scientific context. I argue that through the influence of these discussions a renewed interest in the state provided a unique theoretical standpoint from which to critique the prevailing normative assumptions and practices within the field. I trace this influence by focusing on two research initiatives: the Social Science Research Council's "Committee on States and Social Structures," and the Woodrow Wilson Center's research project "Transitions from Authoritarian Rule." Through this critical genealogy, I suggest that discourses of the state can act as key vantage points for understanding the intersection of disciplinary identity, political power, and knowledge-producing practices in liberal democratic societies. 

Dissertation Committee: Jeffrey Isaac (Chair), William Scheuerman, Russell Hanson, William Rasch (Germanic Studies) (Defended August 2017)

Navruz NekbakhtshoevNavruz Nekbakhtshoev
nanekbak at


Research and Teaching Interests: Politics of Property Rights Reform; Politics in Authoritarian Regimes; Non-State Provision and Government Legitimacy in Post-Conflict Societies; Comparative Politics; Theories of Political Contention; Theories of International Relations; Conflict Resolution; Post-Soviet Politics.

Dissertation Title: "Institutions and Property Rights Reform: Explaining Variation in Outcomes of Land Tenure Reform in Cotton-Producing Areas of Tajikistan."

Dissertation Committee: Regina Smyth (Chair); Jack Bielasiak; Dina Spechler; Gardner Bovingdon (Central Eurasian Studies); Don Van Atta (United States Agency for International Development)

Justin SchonJustin Schon
jschon at

CV | Website

Research Interests: Conflict, migration, development, information diffusion and uncertainty, spatial analysis

Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics, International Relations, Conflict, Migration, Development, African Politics, Middle Eastern Politics, Research Design, Applied GIS and Spatial Analysis

Dissertation Title: "The Relational Approach to Conflict-Induced Migration"

Dissertation Committee: Karen Rasler (chair), Lauren M. MacLean, William R. Thompson, Jennifer N. Brass (IU SPEA)

Matthew SlabochMatthew Slaboch
mslaboch at


Research and Teaching Interests: Political Philosophy: The History of Political Thought; Nationalism; Modern Ideologies
Comparative Politics: East and West European Politics; Nationalism; Religion and Politics

Dissertation Title: Abandoning Hope, Questioning Change: German, Russian, and American Critics of “Progress” Compared

Dissertation Committee: Aurelian Craiutu (Chair), Patrick Deneen (The University of Notre Dame), Russell L. Hanson, William Scheuerman, Sara Stefani (Slavic)

Katie Stewart

Katie Stewart
katlstew at


Research and teaching Interests:Nationalism, Russian and East European Politics, Authoritarianism, Contentious Politics, Identity Politics, Democratization, Legitimacy, Symbolic Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations

Dissertation Title: "Contentious Conceptions of We the People: An Analysis of Regional Variation in Russian Nation-building Strategies and Outcomes"

Dissertation Committee: Regina Smyth (Chair), Gardner Bovingdon, J. Paul Goode (University of Bath), Kathryn E. Graber, Karen Rasler

Jason StoneJason Stone
jgstone at


Research and Teaching Interests: Civil Wars; Insurgency and Counterinsurgency; Civilian Victimization in War; Ethnicity and Nationalism; International Security; Authoritarian Regimes; Nuclear Proliferation; South Asian Politics; Qualitative Research Methods

Dissertation Title: “Reaching Beyond the Village: Civic Activism and Insurgent Mobilization in Deeply-Divided Societies”

Dissertation Committee: Jack Bielasiak (co-chair), Gardner Bovingdon (co-chair), Lauren MacLean, Keera Allendorf (Sociology), Arjun Guneratne (Anthropology, Macalester College)

Kevin TaberKevin Taber
cktaber at


Research Interests: Migration, Ethnic/identity politics, Sub-Saharan Africa, Political and economic development, Global North-South Relations, Democratization

Teaching Interests: Comparative politics, international relations, politics of the Developing World, ethnic/identity politics, African politics, development, critical thinking and research

Dissertation Title: Collective Democratic Remittances: The Transnational Politics of Ghanaian Migrant Associations

Dissertation Committee: Lauren MacLean (Chair), Timothy Hellwig, Abdulkader Sinno, Beth Buggenhagen (Anthropology)

Luke B. WoodLuke B. Wood
lukwood at


Research Interests: Elite and Mass Political Behavior in Advanced Industrialized Democracies; Foreign Policies of Advanced Industrialized Democracies; Trans-Atlantic Relations

Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics, West European Politics, European Studies, Foreign Policy Analysis

Dissertation Title: “The Sources and Consequences of Anti-Intellectual Attitudes”

Dissertation Committee: Timothy Hellwig, Jacob Bielasiak, Matthew Hayes, Diana Z. O’Brien