I am an Associate Professor in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and Director of the Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies at the University of Washington. I do research on post-Soviet politics, covering topics such as protests, authoritarianism, identity, and state building.
My book, Weapons of the Wealthy: Predatory Regimes and Elite-Led Protests in Central Asia, was published by Cornell University Press in 2010. Articles have appeared in journals including Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Democracy, and Europe-Asia Studies. Policy commentary has appeared in Foreign Policy, The National Interest, Slate, and the Washington Post.
I am currently doing research on the role of conspiracy theories in the politics of post-Soviet states. Another project experimentally investigates the origins of political beliefs and identities, including papers on ethnicity and historical memory in the Caucasus and the determinants of belief in conspiracies in the US. I am also involved in collecting data on state-building and informal networks in Georgia before and after the Rose Revolution.
I am a member of the Program on New Approaches to Research and Security (PONARS) in Eurasia and a participant in the Bridging the Gap Project.
I teach courses on the international system in the twentieth century, social movements and revolutions, contemporary Central Asian politics, post-Soviet security, and failed states.