I am a comparative political scientist. My research is often interdisciplinary, grounded in political science but also drawing on sociological theory. My primary field expertise is in central Africa, principally Rwanda and to a lesser extent Burundi, the D.R.C., and Uganda. I also have some experience in south-east Asia, in particular the Philippines.
I have undertaken research in three main areas:
1. Inter-ethnic Conflict and Violence I have been interested in understanding how and why individuals come to participate in violence that follows ascriptive group boundaries and in connecting these micro-level explanatory factors to events, forces, and processes taking place at higher levels of abstraction. I have studied this question in relation to the Rwandan genocide where I have sought to synthesize research findings at the micro, meso, and macro levels into a theoretical whole.
2. Ethnic Inequality and Inter-ethnic Co-existence I am also interested in the converse question of how and why individuals, divided by violence along ascriptive group boundaries, come to co-exist and even co-operate across these lines. I have focused particularly on the role of socio-economic disparities between groups in shaping micro-social integration. I examined this question in the context of Muslim-Christian relations in Mindanao, the Philippines.
3. Kleptocracy and Professional Intermediaries This research area, which is a more recent field of interest, is part of an effort to re-balance the study of corruption away from its focus on the agency of kleptocratic elites in 'victim' countries and to examine the role of their professional collaborators in 'host' countries. I am interested in the part played by lawyers, accountants, and other professional gatekeepers in the transfer of illicit monies from economies in the Global South and into financial jurisdictions in the Global North. At a time when the global financial system is under scrutiny for its role in creating economic inequality and insecurity, I am interested in the actions of its professional gatekeepers in helping corrupt elites from developing countries access this system and impoverish their countries.