I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Politics at Drexel University. I completed my Ph.D. in Political Science at Yale University. In addition to my academic work, I am a Field Consultant with the Human Rights Data Analysis Group. I have also worked with groups like UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict as a statistical consultant. My dissertation considered variations in the types of violence that armed groups use against noncombatants, showing that political education programs can limit repertoires of violence against civilians during armed conflicts. More generally, I am interested in how information, ideologies and behavioral norms are transmitted through hierarchical organizations (see my Research page and my CV for more information).


10 May 2015: Headed to El Salvador

I am delighted to announce that I've won Drexel's Antelo Devereux Award for Young Faculty, which comes with a grant to support a last round of interviews for my book manuscript, The Commander's Dilemma: Armed Group Institutions and Violence Against Civilians in War. This summer and fall, I'll spend a few weeks interviewing ex-combatants in Morazan, El Salvador, as well as several days interviewing Salvadoran ex-combatants now living in the US.

1 January 2015: Peace and Conflict 2014

A belated announcement: my chapter on the promise and pitfalls of disaggregated data appears in Peace and Conflict 2014, the most recent of the biennial Peace and Conflict series. My chapter focuses on descriptive and causal inferences surrounding sexual violence in conflict settings. Many thanks to David Backer and Paul Huth for the invitation to contribute and the excellent editorial assistance along the way.

17 June 2014: Ignoring the Evidence at the End Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit

I recently attended the End Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit (London, 10-13 May) as a delegate. It was thrilling to see so many advocates and so many policy-makers under the same roof. Nevertheless, as an academic I felt pretty disappointed in some of the claims made at the Summit.

1 February 2014: An Armed Group Institutions Database Update

The AGID's first pilot phase included one research assistant, Drexel University undergraduate Arhama Rushdi. Thanks to crowd-funding and the Drexel Funded Research Co-op Program, Ms. Rushdi was able to attend the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association with me this past September. In addition to assisting with presentations of initial AGID research, while in Chicago Ms. Rushdi also got a glimpse of the world of professional political science, attending a dozen panels over the conference's four days.

14 June 2013: Open Letter

Recently, University of New Mexico Associate Professor Geoffrey Miller (who is currently visiting at New York University) wrote a scary and offensive tweet claiming that "obese PhD applicants" would not be able to finish dissertations because they lack "willpower." I responded to the tweet with an open letter calling on Miller to recuse himself from positions in which he might evaluate students or colleagues, particularly "peer review" processes such as tenure and promotion committees. Obviously, both the tweet and my response fall outside my academic research, but appearance bias is an important issue for all of us in academia.

11 March 2013: Data-blogging!

I've been doing a lot of writing, lately, about the ins and outs of human rights data. Today, my colleagues at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group released the first entry in a five-part series of frequently asked questions on Multiple Systems Estimation. Today's entry is the bare bones, including (importantly!) a definition of statistical inference. Over the next two weeks, my posts will cover data collection, cleaning and canonicalization, matching across datasets, stratification, the estimation process and the validity of the technique. In a similar vein, last month I published a guest post about sexual violence data for the Women Under Siege blog, dramatically titled "The Devil's in the Data". It explores how elements of rape culture are reproduced in rape statistics -- and why we should be wary when making inferences from those data.

8 February 2013: New USIP Special Report

Today, the USIP released a Special Report on wartime sexual violence that I co-authored with Dara Kay Cohen and Elisabeth Wood. The report, titled Wartime Sexual Violence: Misconceptions, Implications and Ways Forward, discusses ten key misconceptions that members of the public and policy-makers tend to hold about wartime rape and other wartime sexual violence.