Welcome! I am an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. I am also a member of the Graduate Faculty at the Political Science Department at Boston University. My research and teaching focus on the international relations of the Middle East with a substantive emphasis on foreign intervention, ethnic conflict, political violence in divided societies, and institutions and statebuilding.
My current book project, tentatively titled Structuring Exclusion: the Institutional Legacies of Ethnic Conflict in Iraq, examines the relationship between state institutions, exclusion, and ethnic conflict in Iraq throughout formative statebuilding periods. I trace the longitudinal effects of British colonial institutional development on patterns of ethnic dominance and exclusion from governance across subsequent statebuilding periods. As a society divided along ethnic, religious, linguistic, and sectarian lines, I argue intergroup discord is linked to and shaped by patterns of institutional exclusion that frame ethnic power asymmetries between contending social forces. I develop a framework of the ethnic selectorate to endogenize how ethnic elites capture and reinforce ethnic dominance through state institutions to elucidate the processes that structure conflict across time. This project is theoretically grounded in the literature on ethnic conflict, colonial state formation, and governing in divided societies. I illustrate the conditions under which ethnic elite capture state institutions determine the parameters of exclusion during critical statebuilding periods where more inclusive governing options would have increased inter-ethnic cooperation and societal cohesion.
I am the author of After the Arab Uprisings: Progress and Stagnation in the Middle East and North Africa, with Valentine Moghadam (Cambridge University Press, 2021), and co-editor of State and Society in Iraq: Citizenship under Occupation, Dictatorship, and Democratisation, with Benjamin Isakhan and Fadi Dawood (I.b. Tauris 2017).
I received my Ph.D. in politics from the University of Edinburgh, my MA in political science from Wilfrid Laurier University, and BA (Hon) in political science and political philosophy from York University in Toronto. I have held research fellowships at the Middle East Studies Center at the Watson Institute for International Affairs at Brown University, the International Affairs Program at Northeastern University, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. I am fluent in Arabic, Assyrian/Aramaic, and have reading proficiency in French.
I am an avid runner and immensely enjoy running in Boston and its suburbs.