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 Central Asia and the Caucasus, 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 the post-Soviet region. Focusing on Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Azerbaijan from 1995 to the present, the project looks at how conspiracy narratives diffuse across space and evolve over time.
I am also interested in how attitudes and identities change in Central Asia and the Caucasus, for which I employ surveys, focus groups, and experimental methodologies.
A third project investigates 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, a board member of the Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), and a participant in the Bridging the Gap Project.
I teach the following courses: Contemporary Central Asian Politics, Post-Soviet Security, Interdisciplinary Survey of Eurasia, Failed States, and Social Movements and Revolutions.