I am a political scientist and lawyer studying how legal systems operate in and are transformed by war through multi-method research designs that include field experiments, door-to-door surveys, interviews, and social media data. I hold a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
My dissertation on the Islamic State (IS)’s system of governance in Iraq and Syria and its post-conflict consequences includes articles on (1) IS’s system of taxation, (2) civilian experiences with and perceptions of IS rule, and (3) public opinion concerning punishment, forgiveness, and reintegration of individuals who are perceived as having collaborated with IS. This dissertation is based on an original dataset documenting IS’s governance activities across time and space, a door-to-door survey of 1,458 residents of the Iraqi city of Mosul, and in-depth interviews with more than 300 Syrians and Iraqis who lived in IS-controlled areas conducted during 18 months of fieldwork in Turkey and Iraq. Building upon this dissertation, my current and future research aims to contribute to the development of evidence-based strategies for strengthening rule of law and state legitimacy after war. I am currently based in Iraq studying the effects of community policing methods on trust and cooperation between Iraqi civilians and state security forces.
My work has been published or is forthcoming in the Journal of Politics, the Harvard National Security Journal, the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Foreign Affairs, and the Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law, among others. My research has been featured or cited in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, Time Magazine, and Lawfare.
During my dissertation research, I served as the lead researcher on Iraq and Syria for United Nations University, the research wing of the UN system, for two related projects on (1) child recruitment by armed groups and (2) post-IS transitional justice. Before graduate school, I was a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Middle East Program), a Critical Language Scholar in Jordan, and a Fulbright Fellow in Oman. I hold a B.A. in Political Science and Arabic from Swarthmore College.