My research centers on the dynamics of pogroms, which I define as relatively brief episodes of multiple, public violent acts by an informal group against a specific social community. This research raises important descriptive and causal questions about political violence, such as:

  • Why do pogroms occur, and what explains variation across cases in social relations between pogrom organizers and the groups they target?
  • 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, visibility, and performance in explaining patterns of political violence. Empirically, I draw on archival data from historical cases of pogrom violence 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,” forthcoming at Comparative Politics (2020) (pdf)

“The Black Freedom Movement and the Politics of the Anti-Genocide Norm in the United States, 1951 – 1967,” Genocide Studies and Prevention 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” (August 2019 draft)

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)