Teaching Interests

International relations, comparative politics, political violence and mass killing; internal conflict; international security; international political economy; undergraduate and graduate quantitative methods

Classes Taught

The US in The Global Economy (UMN 2015)

  • Advanced theoretical and formal theoretical approaches to the international relations of trade, resources, and finances


Teaching Assistant and Instructor Positions

Causes and Consequences of Civil War (UMN 2016)

  • Advanced theoretical approaches to the study of civil wars, their causes, and their aftermath

Global Environmental Cooperation (UMN 2015)

  • Intermediate theoretical approaches to the politics of the environment

Thinking Strategically in International Relations (UMN 2014)

  • Advanced game theoretical approaches to international relations


Other Teaching Experience

Language Instructor (Dartmouth 2010):

  • Introductory and Intermediate Hebrew

Preparing Future Faculty (UMN 2016):

  • A class designed to prepare graduate students for careers as teachers in an academic setting (student)


Sample Courses: Undergraduate

Introduction to International Relations

Why does the United States keep forces in Afghanistan? Why did Russia invade the Ukraine? These questions are only part of the day-to-day events that shape the international arena. International relations are thus an integral part of our modern world, and have a crucial effect on shaping our everyday life. Conflict and peace, natural resources, and economic development are all affected as the interactions between different actors create new “winners” and “losers.”’ What are the main actors that shape the international arena? What factors govern the way in which it is being shaped?

This course introduces the systematic analysis of the international arena, national secu- rity and other factors that motivate foreign policies, and instruments used in the conduct of international relations. Particular attention is given to security motivations and economic relations; to the historical structuring and functioning of international institution; to cultural differences that may inhibit mutual understanding or lead to conflict, as well as nationalism and other ideologies; and to the requisites and limits of cooperation.

The U.S. and the International Economy

Globalization has been a defining force driving markets – and, hence, shaping politics – over the past 20 years. Global financial flows and imbalances are implicated in financial crises both recent and past, and the mobility of firms and migrants across international borders has im- portant distributional and regulatory consequences. Yet, the impact of the U.S. on the global economy is not exclusive to purely financial phenomena: conflict and peace, technological in- novation, natural resources, and economic development are all affected as rising levels of trade create new “winners” and “losers.” This class examines some of the broad themes that charac- terize gloablization with a focus on – but not only on – the U.S. and the ways in which its policy responses shape and are being shaped by globalization.

Environmental Politics and Policy

Environmental politics spans a number of traditional subfields within public policy and political science, including international relations, political economy, and comparative politics. The present course will explore a number of recent approaches to environmental politics using international and comparative political economy perspectives, as well as some security implications. We will begin with exploring the domestic side of environmental politics, in order to understand the roles of domestic institutions, partisanship, public opinion, environmental social movements, and the global economy in shaping environmental policy outputs and outcomes. We will then move on to study the connections between resource scarcity and political violence (or lack thereof), before spending the remainder of the course on international environmental problems – including their relationships with international institutions & cooperation, globalization, and climate change politics.

What’s So Civil About War Anyway? The Causes and Consequences of Civil war

Civil war is the dominant form of political violence in the contemporary world – approximately 80 percent of the wars fought since the end of World War II were internal conflicts. What explains the outbreak of civil war? What motivates participants in such conflict? Is international intervention effective? Over the last decades, these and other questions have motivated scholars seeking to understand the social, economic, and political causes – and consequences – of civil war. In this class, we will explore some of the recent literature on civil conflict in order to understand the origins, dynamics of civil war, how it ends, and its aftermath. We will review new and ongoing debates about why civil wars erupt. We will try to understand why such conflict frequently involves the deaths not only of thousands – and sometimes millions – of combatants, but also of innocent civilians. We will discuss the role of participants in such conflicts, their aims, and their motivations. Finally, we will look into the detrimental consequences of such conflicts, and try to understand when they are likely to recur, but also when peace can persist in their wake.


Sample Courses: Graduate

Maximum Likelihood Estimation

The course is primarily a generalization of regression-like statistical methods to nonlinear frameworks using likelihood-based models. We will spend most of our time on models where several of the traditional Gauss-Markov assumptions are violated because the dependent variable is non-continuous, and operationalized, for instance, in binary or count formats. We will survey maximum likelihood models for various kinds of limited-dependent and qualitative response variables, paying particular attention not only to each model’s theoretical underpinnings, but also to empirical practicalities – how to estimate, interpret, and present these models. The class will cover binary response models such as logit, probit in both standard and multinomial forms; ordered logit and probit for categorical dependent variables; survival – or event history – models; and event count models such as the Poisson and Negative Binbomial. We will also briefly discuss how to estimate some basic Bayesian mixed effects models.

Political Violence

Political violence again noncombatants has been a defining feature of warfare since prehistoric times. In this class we will cover different theoretical and practical approaches to explaining political violence and understanding its causes, both within and outside the confines of civil war. In the first part of the course, we will discuss theoretical explanations to violence, ranging from rational strategic perspectives to explanations that emphasizes “ancient hatreds.” In the second part we will explore specific motivations for violence, such as democratization, information, the availability of natural resources, and food scarcities. Finally, the third part of the course will cover approaches, both academic and practical, to mitigating political violence and addressing some of its intended and unintended effects on human security and long term development.