I am a currently a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the University of Washington (defending June 2012) and a research associate at the American Bar Foundation.
I will be a Max Weber Fellow for the 2012-2013 academic year, after which I will take up an appointment as an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina.
I received a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, an M.A. in Russian Studies from the European University, St. Petersburg, and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington.
My substantive interests focus on the rule of law and governance, institutional development, and the politics of post-communism. I am especially interested in how institutions of democracy and dictatorship intersect with political competition to produce legal structures.
My dissertation, Political Competition and Judicial Independence After Communism, examines the causes and consequences of judicial independence in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Scholars of courts in democratic states typically believe political competition explains judicial independence: the more the competition, the more the independence. I argue that the relationship extends to non-democracies, and is in fact conditional on regime type, with the salience of competition greater in non-democracies.
In non-dissertation work I extend the geographical focus of this analysis, as well as explore novel empirical implications of theoretical arguments put forward in my dissertation.
My teaching experience has included courses on law and courts, comparative politics, international relations, and research methods.