My primary research interests are in the fields of international relations and comparative politics, which focus broadly on three concepts- political violence, state repression and human rights, and authoritarian political institutions. I am particularly interested in disaggregating concepts and processes regarding political violence in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the causal mechanisms and dynamics that influence decision-making in different institutional contexts. More specifically, I seek to understand the actions and behaviors of non-state and state actors, determining the conditions and factors that contribute to the outbreak of dissent, terrorism, and civil conflict as well as methods to deter and quell these forms of political violence.
Faculty Research Interests
I have an active research agenda dedicated to human security. Much of my research work has focused on the principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P). This global norm was developed in 2001 when the global community was faced with questions surrounding its moral and legal obligations of the international community to prevent and respond to the most egregious mass atrocity crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, often at the hands of state governments. I have published several co-authored books, policy papers, op-eds, and journal articles in this area. More recently, I have begun examining the relationship between the concepts of kinship, race, gender, and state repression both along and inside territorial borders. Kinship as a concept has largely been used in the fields of Anthropology and Sociology and refers to a typology of human relationships centered around family, identity, and community networks.
My primary interests are in the fields of American federalism and state and local policy agendas. Recently I have been researching how the American federal system has affected the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in four co-authored publications. I am also currently co-editing a book on Teaching Federalism: Multidimensional Approaches, which will be published as part of Edward Elgar’s Teaching Methods series. Much of my research on state politics focuses on Pennsylvania. I have recently co-edited Pennsylvania Politics and Policy: A Commonwealth Reader, Volume 1 (2018) and Volume 2 (2019). I am currently doing research for Governing the Commonwealth: Politics, Policy and Executive Power in Pennsylvania. The book examines how recent Pennsylvania governors have used their formal and informal powers to influence public policy across a range of issues including education, the environment, and social welfare.
I am currently co-authoring research adapting this model to local politics through an exploration of the agendas of large-city mayors as voiced through their State of the City addresses. I am in the beginning stages of writing Governing the Commonwealth: Politics, Policy and Executive Power in Pennsylvania. The book examines how recent Pennsylvania governors have used their formal and informal powers to influence public policy across a range of issues including education, the environment, and social welfare.
My current research interests spread across the disparate fields of bureaucratic politics and political engagement. My work on bureaucratic politics focuses on examining the extent of political influence on the regulatory scope and enforcement outputs of federal and state-level regulatory agencies.
My work on political engagement focuses on isolating key factors for promoting political engagement among young citizens without simultaneously triggering partisan polarization and uncivil discourse.