I am a Visiting Assistant Professor in the University of British Columbia - Okanagan's Department of Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Last year I was the Simons Research Fellow in Dialogue on International Law and Human Security at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I received my PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University in June 2015, and have since taught as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University, Chicago's International Studies program and at Wheaton College, Illinois, where I taught Comparative Politics and African Politics.

My work engages both International Relations and Comparative Politics, and explores the internal make-up and international strategies of the world’s youngest and least materially powerful states. These states regularly do the very thing IR theory says they should not. They invite international scrutiny of domestic policies for which they could be punished, waiving the sovereignty that supposedly serves as their last defence. My research seeks to understand why they take this risk.

They do this, I find, because of a logical contradiction between the rule-based international order and the privileged-based logic of their domestic orders. I call these patronage states, and they shape citizens’ behaviour through distribution of state resources to loyal clients: cash, career advancement, political voice, even physical security. But because international norms of human rights and good governance demand that states provide these to citizens by rule or right, patronage states are often in the global cross-hairs.

On top of this, many of them are poor, militarily weak and had little to no say in how international institutions were created. Yet they sometimes wield influence over great powers and international organizations when this dilemma drives them toward innovative use of global norms. Several factors combine to make this possible, but all seem rooted in a commitment by weak and powerful alike to maintain an illusion of the state as the “natural” governing unit worldwide.

I use a fieldwork-based comparative approach to uncover local practices and rhetoric connected to norm-implementation, which I then use to inquire into the structure of the international system.

My first career was as a professional dancer (ballet, modern and whatever that one dance company in London tried to convince us we were doing), for which I trained from a very young age. Ultimately I made the move into academia for the job prospects. 

To contact visit my Contact & CV page.