Potential Thesis Advisers

Potential TF Thesis Advisers, 2017-18

Abolafia, Jacob
I study the history of political thought and contemporary European philosophy, with a particular emphasis on Greek and Roman thought (from Plato through Augustine) and German philosophy from Kant to Habermas (up to and including critical theory and the Frankfurt School). I would happily supervise any thesis in the history of political thought, and those topics in contemporary political and social theory that touch on the continental tradition as it emerges from the work of Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, Weber, Heidegger, and their students, as well as topics engaging with problems of religion and politics.

Ashley, Sean
I study comparative politics, with emphasis on state building, authoritarian durability and state violence. More specifically, my research concerns the difficulties faced by authoritarian leaders in organizing and exercising coercion. I’d be very happy to advise qualitative theses related to authoritarianism, state capacity, armed movements, and bloody politics in general.

Baranovsky, Alla
My dissertation topic is public opinion, censorship and propaganda in post-Soviet Russia. I have also researched governance and democratization, as well as media behavior in Russia. 

Bautista-Chavez, Angie
The domestic and international politics of immigration control.

Bucchianeri, Peter
My research interests are within the fields of urban politics, federalism, and state and local governance. I'm especially interested in questions that explore the relationship between cities and states, examine how the policies and priorities of state and local governments have changed over time, and those that seek to understand the causes or consequences of specific social policies. Please feel free to reach out if you'd like to chat about your project. I'm happy to advise theses in these areas or any others that fall within American politics more broadly.

Carothers, Chris
My dissertation is about the politics of corruption in authoritarian regimes, with a focus on China. I am happy to advise any thesis on Asian politics, authoritarianism/democratization, or Chinese history. My preference is for more qualitative research agendas.

Davis, Elizabeth
I study the comparative politics of the developing world. My research focuses on the social psychology of political decision-making. What makes particular social networks especially fit to demand public goods? When do individuals internalize their political affiliation as a part of their identity? I welcome the opportunity to advise theses with a quantitative bent that are focused on the political economy or political psychology of developing countries. 

Dowdy, Jamin
I welcome the opportunity to advise senior theses within the field of political theory. My research interests are both historical and normative, focusing on the history of sovereignty in Anglo-American thought, the history of the common law, and normative legal and moral theory. As a former undergraduate in this department, I wrote my senior thesis on the ambiguous concepts of sovereignty and federalism in Antebellum America and their facilitation of the American Civil War. Dissertation Topic: Normative Legal Theory (tentative).

Driscoll, Colleen
My dissertation research looks at historical patterns of regional voting and political socialization in France. My other interests include political parties and electoral politics in Western Europe, both historically and in contemporary cases. I'm happy to advise theses on political parties, electoral politics, or political economy in advanced industrial economies using qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods.

Fernandez Milmanda, Belen
I am a comparativist with a focus on Latin America. I work on the relationship between business and politics. More specifically, I look at how agrarian elites have organized to influence policy-making in Argentina, Brazil and Chile since the last democratic transition. I will be happy to help with dissertations on the political participation of economic actors or any other comparative politics topic as long as they focus on South American countries. 

Flanigan, Edmund Tweedy
I study contemporary political philosophy; my research concerns the moral foundations of the obligation to obey the law and the authority of the state to make laws. I would be happy to advise any thesis in normative political theory.

Foster, Chase
I am a PhD candidate in Government with broad research interests in the comparative political economy of market-state relations, comparative social policy, and the historical political development of the European and American regulatory states. I also have an MPP degree from the Kennedy School and four years of work experience in the public policy field in the United States. I would look forward to advising a thesis on any of the following subjects: comparative welfare states, comparative regulatory politics (especially financial, competition, or environmental), historical American state development, or any project about the European Union.   
Goldstein, Becca
My research applies a wide variety of quantitative methods to questions in political science and public policy, in particular American politics, policy evaluation, and the politics of criminal justice.  I would be excited to advise theses using any quantitative methods, including causal inference, survey data analysis, and design of experiments.  Please do be in touch if you plan on taking a quantitative approach to your thesis, especially one on American politics, political economy, or public policy evaluation. My substantive research area is criminal justice policy, and would be excited to advise quantitative or qualitative theses related to crime, policing, and incarceration. I served as a resident tutor for two years and love working with undergraduates to help conceive and execute research ideas!

Gould, Jonathan
I'm a PhD candidate in political theory and recently received a JD from HLS.  I'd be happy to advise theses on a variety of topics relating to political theory and/or law, particularly if you're considering writing about government structure and institutions, the regulatory state, equality, individual rights (especially speech and religion), constitutional or statutory interpretation, or contemporary democratic theory.  Feel free to be in touch if you want to talk about possible topics!

Havasy, Chris
My academic background is in normative political theory, political philosophy, moral philosophy, and law.  My specific current academic work involves the intersection of theoretical issues in public law, including constitutional, administrative, and corporate law, and democratic institutional design, as well as some contemporary issues in moral philosophy. I am happy to advise any theses in these domains, broadly construed.  I received a law degree at Harvard Law School prior to beginning my PhD in Government. 

Henn, Soeren
My fields are political economy and comparative politics. Specifically I work on Africa, Latin America and failed states.

Higgins, Dana
My dissertation/areas of interest are: quantitative methods, international conflict, civil conflict, conflict resolution (mediation, peacekeeping, negotiation, sanctions, etc).   

Ifkovits, David
I study democratization, particularly how authoritarian regimes function internally. I also have research interests in development, party politics and political socialization. In my dissertation I analyze under what conditions elites defect from ruling parties and how they attain elite status in the first place. Geographically I am mostly focused on developing countries and particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, but as a native of Austria I am happy to advise theses on European politics as well. Methodologically, I am versed in both quantitative and qualitative methods. I previously worked in journalism and the NGO/development sector and can provide guidance on how to use your thesis to acquire skills for your professional future.

James, Sarah
Interests: social policy, education & education policy, the American welfare state, and policy feedback. 

Jost, Tyler
My research covers topics related to international conflict, civil-military relations, diplomatic and military history, and technological innovation—particularly the impact of nuclear weapons and cyberspace. I am particularly interested in research that examines these topics in the context of China and East Asia. My dissertation project examines the origins of disparate preferences between civilian and military elites, and the circumstances under which these preferential differences can alter state behavior. I am open to advising theses that use quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. 

Kaufman, Aaron
My dissertation will be centered on methods I've been developing to estimate the partisan bias inherent in text, with applications to media, survey methods, the Supreme Court, and campaign messaging. I'm happy to advise thesis on any topic in American politics or research methodology, especially related to political behavior/political psychology. I'm especially interested in experiments and survey research, voter cognition and decision-making, and the ways that voters process political information.

Kim, Peter
My research focus is at the intersection of U.S. foreign policy and domestic politics. Specifically, I am interested in how the use of military force is shaped by, and affects, public opinion and elections in the U.S. My works include studies on how U.S. war casualties in Afghanistan influenced congressional election outcomes, and what are the political incentives that may motivate the outsourcing of wartime roles to private military contractors.

Kruszewska, Dominika
My research interests include protest organization and tactical choices; political violence and public opinion; and the state-protest movement nexus. I am particularly interested in the relationships between social movements, the public, and the institutions and agents of the state. My dissertation examines the effects of protest or activist origins on voter mobilization strategies and political program of new political parties in Europe. I am happy to advise theses that focus on protest, social movements, civil society, party formation, and democratization, as well as theses on any topic in European politics.

Kuriwaki, Shiro
I work on public opinion, political psychology, and representation. What motivates people into political issues? How do we measure the public's preferences over different issue areas?  My regional focus is on the United States but I have familiarity with other advanced democracies as well, especially Japan. I use statistical and experimental methods, and would be happy to advise theses that involve original data collection or dataset construction. Outside of (but closely related to) my academic research, I worked as a data science analyst during the 2014 and 2016 U.S. general elections.

Latura, Audrey
My dissertation looks at how beneficiaries of certain types of social policies experience attitudinal and preference changes, especially women, and I'm researching cases in Brazil and the US.  I could advise topics related to social policy (US, Latin America, and Europe), political attitudes, gender and politics, and anything related to the "welfare state" more broadly.

Lee , Yoon Jin
I study the relationship between identity and foreign policy. I focus on the Asia-Pacific, but I welcome any thesis projects with constructivist approaches to explaining state behavior and/or international relations.

Lucas, Christopher
I research text, audio, and video as data. The social sciences have access to more data than ever before; what methods can we apply to these data to learn about pressing questions in politics? I have developed methods for the estimation of emotional content in video and audio, image recognition in terrorist recruitment videos, and transcription of speech for analysis as text. Substantively, I am interesting in cybersecurity. How do countries ward off cyberattacks? Can states cooperate over cyber concerns?

Malina, Gabrielle
My work centers around religion and politics, political psychology, and political socialization. I'm specifically interested in the politics of the Religious Right and the influence of religious beliefs on political attitudes, especially related to redistribution, inequality, and racial justice.

Palmiter, Brian
My research explores issues in normative democratic theory and American politics. I’m happy to advise thesis writers in either area. My areas of expertise include the history of American political thought, contemporary democratic theory (Rawls, deliberative democracy, legitimacy, representation, etc.), and survey research on American political attitudes. 

Pressly, Lowry
Interests: political theory, philosophy and literature, privacy (dissertation topic), history of the self. 

Reichert, Matthew
My dissertation is on authoritarian politics, nationality, and state formation in the Soviet Union. Below is a list of thesis topics that I can definitely advise on (really broadly defined - I'm pretty good on most mainstream topics in comparative politics and international relations)
strong knowledge (would be very comfortable advising a thesis)
- Former U.S.S.R. and E. Europe
- State building
- Regimes; democratization
- Civil war; political violence; terrorism
- Identity politics & nationalism
- Collective action & social movements
- Civil-military relations
moderate knowledge (could adequately advise a thesis)
- Middle East, China, SE Asia, historical Europe
- The welfare state
- International security
- Civil society
- PE of development

Resch, Tobias
I study American politics, with an emphasis on state development, Congress, representation, social movements and political activism. I use a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods in my own research and have served as a TF for Social Studies 40 (Philosophy and Methods of the Social Sciences) in the past. I am open to advising theses across a wide range of methodological approaches and US-related topics. I love teaching and advising students, so don't hesitate to reach out as you think about thesis topics and approaches.

Romney, David
I study a range of topics, including the psychology of intergroup relations, social media and political discourse, and conspiracy theories, with a focus on the Middle East (especially Israel/Palestine) and to a lesser extent Southeast Asia (especially Malaysia/Indonesia). For my dissertation, I look at how people communicate ingroup criticism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Specifically, how do the arguments critics use make others more or less receptive to the criticism? I would be happy to advise theses that relate to any of these substantive or regional interests.

Soderborg, Seth
I study how political parties adapt to democracy. I also work with the World Bank on expanding inclusion of marginalized people in Indonesian village life. If you are interested in writing about politics in the developing world--especially in Brazil and Southeast Asia--I am an experienced teacher and researcher in these areas. If you are interested in pursuing fieldwork, or using mixed methods, I would be excited to advise you. My own senior thesis was on the politics of social policy in Brazil. I TF the course on Brazilian politics and the course on Political Economy in Asia. In the past I have taught general comparative politics courses and a course on the Tea Party. 

Strange, Austin
Much of my research focuses on contemporary Chinese international political economy. My dissertation focuses on authoritarian foreign economic policy and looks specifically at the economic-security nexus in imperial China. In general my research interests include international relations, security studies, authoritarian foreign policy, and Chinese politics. 

Strezhnev, Anton
My dissertation is on the political economy of international investment, but I feel comfortable generally advising any thesis in international relations or using quantitative methods.

Thaler, Kai
I study a range of topics related to conflict, political violence, and state building. My dissertation project focuses on the consequences of rebel victory in civil wars on a range of political and economic outcomes, using both cross-national analysis and close case studies of successful rebel organizations. I have a regional focus on Africa and Latin America, as well as the politics of the Portuguese-speaking world, and have conducted research on topics in Colombia, Nicaragua, Portugal, Liberia, Uganda, Southern Africa, and Indonesia and Timor Leste. I have also worked on rebel group formation and practices, states' relationships with armed groups, revolutionary regimes, genocide, the politics of development and food security in Africa, state failure, and criminal violence in the developing world. I would be comfortable advising qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods theses.

Volberding, Peter
My research focuses on international political economy issues, with a particular interest in development finance and development financial institutions. My dissertation examines the history of development aid tools from multilateral and bilateral development institutions. I have research experience working with both traditional donor countries (US, UK, France, and Germany), as well as new donor countries (China). I primarily work with qualitative and historical methods. I would be happy to advise in the following areas: development finance institutions (World Bank, EBRD, etc), new development institutions (AIIB, New Development Bank), bilateral development institutions (KfW, AFD, USAID), Chinese foreign economic investment, and instruments of development finance (SME, microfinance, structured funds).

Weitz, Shanna
My research focuses on class, race, and urban politics. Specifically, my dissertation project looks at income segregation in cities and how this structures political activity and local policy outcomes using a mixed-methods approach. I have also conducted research on local government responses to immigration and have helped develop a survey of local elected officials. In addition, I have an extensive background in racial politics in the U.S., particularly Black politics, and I am happy to advise students broadly interested in any of these topics at the national or local level. 

Wise, Tess
My research is in political methodology, specifically the philosophy of causality, but I have a very broad background and love working with undergrads on almost anything. Areas where I have more experience include political psychology (I was a TF for that class), American politics (specifically ethnic and racial politics), ethnic politics and immigration, globalization, and anything that includes survey research, experiments, or other quantitative methods.

Yang, Saul Xiao
My research focuses on comparative political economics & history. I'm happy to advise any project that primarily uses historical approaches or historical evidence to study a political science topic. Projects that make use of natural experiments, GIS, text analysis, or rational choice models, and those set in the regions of United States and East Asia, are especially welcome. Secondly, I'm open to advising any research involving formal political theory, especially in the topics of rural governance, social capital, political delegation & learning, and comparative law. The research design should generally be an application or extension of an existing model, with empirical implementation, and the student should have a decent mathematical background, e.g. real analysis (Math 23, 25, 55, or 112) and two of: {Math 116, Ec 1011, Ec 1052, Ec 1060}.