My research centers on pogroms, which I define as relatively brief episodes of multiple violent acts against people and physical structures associated with a select social community, by an informal group but involving some pattern of state complicity. This research raises important descriptive and causal questions about political violence, such as:

  • Why do pogrom organizers mobilize against certain groups, but not others?
  • What explains why pogroms result in violence in some places, but not in others?

My work on pogroms builds on multiple bodies of scholarship in the fields of political science, sociology, and history about the origins and dynamics of violence, contention, and social movements. Theoretically, this research illuminates the importance of symbolic action in explaining patterns of political violence. The project also contributes to the broader constructivist research agenda in comparative politics by elaborating on the mechanisms by which violence emerges from and calcifies processes of group boundary-making. Empirically, I draw on novel archival data—press reports, census and real estate records, and electoral returns—that document historical cases of pogrom violence and their antecedents in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Nazi Germany.

Below is a list of published and in-progress works that make up my ongoing research agenda on these and closely-related topics. If you’re working on these issues as a scholar, policymaker, practitioner, or activist, and want to collaborate, please reach out at

Peer-reviewed publications

(with Laia Balcells) “Violence, Resistance, and Rescue during the Holocaust,” Comparative Politics, vol. 53, no. 1 (2020), 161 – 180 (pdf)

“The Black Freedom Movement and the Politics of the Anti-Genocide Norm in the United States, 1951 – 1967,” Genocide Studies and Prevention, vol. 13, no. 1 (April 2019), 130 – 143 (pdf)

Works in progress

(with Kelebogile Zvobgo) “Co-Opting Truth: Explaining Quasi-Judicial Institutions in Authoritarian Regimes” (October 2019 draft)

“The Symbolic Logic of Pogrom Violence: Evidence from Kristallnacht” (pre-analysis plan)

Best Doctoral Paper, Central Europe Section, Association for the Study of Nationalities Convention 2019

“Norm-Speak: Explaining Discursive Frames by Domestic Social Movements”

Policy publications

(with Zachariah Mampilly, Anushani Alagarajah, Dharsha Jegatheeswaran, Nyathon H. Mai, and Congo Research Group) “The Role of Civilians and Civil Society in Preventing Mass Atrocities,” US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, July 2020 (pdf)

“Evaluating Counterfactual US Policy Action in Syria, 2011-16: A Review of Empirical Evidence from Related Cases,” US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, August 2017 (pdf)

(with Otto Saki and Lawrence Woocher) “Scenarios of Repression: Preventing Mass Atrocities in Zimbabwe,” US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, November 2016 (pdf)

(with Richard Gowan and Lawrence Woocher) “Preventing Mass Atrocities: An Essential Agenda for the Next UN Secretary General,” US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, September 2016 (pdf)

Public scholarship

(with Jewel Tomasula) “Contract Personalis: How Georgetown’s Graduate Workers Organized to Win,” The Forge, October 2020 (link)

“The Country Club,” The New Republic, September 2018 (link)

(with Aliza Luft) “How dangerous is it when Trump calls some immigrants ‘animals’?,” The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, May 2018 (link)

“A Lost Boy in Louisville: One Refugee’s Story,” Dissent, Winter 2016 (link)

“The Many Trials of a Nazi War Criminal,” The New Republic, April 2016 (link)

“No Country for Rich Men,” The New Republic, November 2015 (link)

“Between Israel and Social Democracy: Tony Judt’s Jewishness,” Dissent, August 2014 (link)