I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto.
My research focuses on the emergence and evolution of states and the elites that dominate
them, as well as the interactions between these elites and societies that they govern. I am
also interested in African politics (especially East Africa and the Horn) and pastoralist
societies. My methodological interests include experiments, game theory, causal
mechanisms, and microfoundations.
My PhD project investigates the strategic interactions of political agents involved
in a struggle over the establishment of state structures in a territory that had never
previously experienced effective state control and their impact on the nature of these
structures. Specifically, the project examines 1) the efforts of the governments of
Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda to extend their power into the dryland areas located
along the borders shared by the three countries, 2) the (frequently violent) reactions
of their pastoralist inhabitants to this encroachment on their autonomy, and 3) the
ensuing strategic interactions between state administrators and the leaders of pastoralist
communities. It takes the form of a natural experiment (made possible by the
distribution of pastoralist communities in the region) and is based on field
research—which I conducted in the three countries over the course of eleven months
in 2016—that involved collection of both qualitative and (experimental and observational)
quantitative data. More information about my PhD project is available here.
My CV can be found here.