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 the post-Soviet region, covering topics such as protests, authoritarianism, informal networks, and identity.
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, British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Democracy, Studies in Comparative International Development, and Post-Soviet Affairs. Policy commentary has appeared in Foreign Policy, The National Interest, Slate, and the Monkey Cage/Washington Post blog.
I am currently doing research on the political uses of conspiracy theories in the post-Soviet region. The project investigates why politicians promote conspiratorial claims and traces how these narratives diffuse across space and evolve over time. Another ongoing project investigates state-building and informal networks over two decades in Georgia. 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.
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: States, Markets, and Societies; Contemporary Central Asian Politics; Post-Soviet Security; Interdisciplinary Survey of Eurasia; Failed States; and Social Movements and Revolutions.