I am a
doctoral researcher at the International Relations/Political Science department of the Graduate Institute Geneva until September 2022,
working on allegiance and political behavior in the
Occupied Palestinian Territories where I interviewed political activists and other victims of repression,
and the former
German Democratic Republic. To construct a database on defection in East Germany during the Cold War, I conducted archival research at the Stasi Archives in Berlin.
I study how governments label their subjects for disloyal behavior, and the conditions for labeling to elicit conformity or intensify
defection. Generally the behavior of an ingroup member is perceived as disloyal when it benefits an outgroup at the expense of the ingroup. Political authorities often treat spying for their rivals and affiliation with violent insurgent groups as defection. But in many conflict settings, loyalty expectation encompass a
broader range of behavior. Individuals may be labeled as defectors for their political activism, religious activities, ethnic identity, dual citizenship and other criteria that lend credence to claims of
outgroup affiliation. Loyalty trials for affiliation with political rivals are conducted by modern authorities to reproduce political order in a state of exception.
I find that loyalty trials tend to repress minorities, and can lead to polarization and popular resistance.
The project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
I use archives, experiments, computational modeling, network analysis, interviews and surveys in my research.
Previously I worked on armed organizations in Guatemala and Syria, as well as the relationship between conflict, malnutrition, and foreign interventions. I've taught research design and Python.

Selected Research

Allegiance in Social Conflict

We develop a computational model to explore conditions under which the labeling of disloyalty increases conformity or generates cascades of defection.

Evidence-Driven Computational Modeling

Guidance for the development and presentation of evidence-driven computational models.

The Morphology of Urban Conflict

As cities emerge as the dominant sites for civil conflict, international organisations and governments are faced with situations that differ markedly from rural locales.