Personal Biography

I am Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations and Fellow of Corpus Christi College. My research interests include democratization and democratic backsliding, how liberal democracies respond to political extremism, transitional justice, and European politics. I have a long-standing interest in the theory and analysis of political institutions, and on historical approaches to political analysis. My work in these areas was recognized with several awards from the American Political Science Association (APSA). Among these are the Best Book in European Politics and Society for Defending Democracy: Responses to Extremism in Interwar Europe (Johns Hopkins), the Best Paper in Comparative Politics, the Best Paper in Comparative Democratization, the Mary Follett Award for the Best Article in Politics and History, and both the Best Paper and the Best Article in Qualitative and Multi-Method Research. My research has been supported by several national and international funding agencies. I have held several research Fellowships, among which a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship, and the Rita E. Hauser Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Research and Teaching

My research agenda focuses on the clashes between democracy and anti-democratic extremism, with a focus on political institutions. In Defending Democracy. Responses to Extremism in Interwar Europe, I compare political crises that led to a democratic breakdown in some countries with similar crises in other democracies where that outcome was narrowly averted thanks to the reactions of strategically placed incumbents. In the co-edited collection The Historical Turn in Democratization Studies, I propose a new theoretical framework for the study of democratization that centers on the historical development of democratic institutions in Europe between the 1810s and the 1970s. I have just completed a project on the effects of transitional justice on democratic attitudes in postwar West Germany. The results have been published in the journals Comparative Political Studies and Comparative Politics. In a project that I am currently co-directing, called “Back from the Brink: Countering Illiberalism in Liberal Democracies”, I analyze the conditions under which strategies to contain and resist illiberal movements are political viable in liberal democracies. The project, funded by the British Academy, the University of Oxford, and Yale University, will result in an edited collection. I am also working on a research monograph entitled The Boundaries of Democracy, which analyses legal and judicial responses to right-wing extremism in Western European democracies since 1945. A paper from the project has received the APSA award for the Best Paper in Comparative Politics. My college teaching concentrates on comparative and European politics: Political Institutions, Comparative Politics, Political Sociology, and European politics. In the Department of Politics and IR, where I have recently served as Director of Research, Director of the MPhil in Comparative Government, and Convenor of the Comparative Government Research Network, I teach both comparative politics and methodology mainly to graduate students. I supervise MSc, MPhil and DPhil students in my areas of interest.

Selected Publications

Volumes (selection)

The Historical Turn in Democratization Studies (co-edited with D. Ziblatt), special double issue of Comparative Political Studies, August/September 2010, Vol 43, 8/9.

Defending Democracy: Reactions to extremism in Interwar Europe, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005, pages 352 (paperback, 2007)

Articles and book chapters (selection)

“Trying Perpetrators: Denazification Trials and Support for Democracy in West Germany” (with G. Pop-Eleches), forthcoming, Comparative Politics

“Democracy and Retribution: Transitional Justice and Regime Support in Post-War West Germany” (with G. Pop-Eleches), Comparative Political Studies, 53 (3/4), 2020, 399-433.

"Militant Democracy and the Study of Political Tolerance", forthcoming in Kirshner, Alexander, and Anthoula Malkopoulou (eds.), Militant Democracy and its Critics, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2019.

"When Do Institutions Bite? Historical Institutionalism and the Politics of Institutional Change", Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 49, n. 8, June 2016, pp. 1095-1127.

"Critical Junctures and Institutional Change", in Mahoney, James, and Kathleen Thelen (eds.), Advances in Comparative Historical Analysis, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015, pp. 147-179

"The Study of Democratization and the Arab Spring" (with A. Ahmed), Middle East Law and Governance, 6, 1, 2014. pp. 1-39

"Militant Democracy. The Institutional Bases of Democratic Self-Preservation", Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 9, 2013, pp. 207-226.

“When State Responses Fail: Religion and Secessionism in India 1952-2002” (with L. D. Saez and E. de Rooij), The Journal of Politics, 74, 4, October 2012, pp. 1010-1022.

"The Historical Turn in Democratization Studies: A New Research Agenda for Europe and Beyond"(with D. Ziblatt), Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 43, n. 8/9, July-August 2010, pp. 931-968.

“Germany’s Response to 9/11: The Importance of Checks and Balances”, in Crenshaw, Martha (ed.)The Consequences of Counterterrorist Policies in Democracies, New York, Russell Sage Foundation, 2010, pp. 285-334.

“The Study of Critical Junctures: Theory, Narrative and Counterfactuals in Historical Institutionalism”(with R. D. Kelemen), World Politics, April 2007, pp. 341-369.

“Anti-system Parties: A Conceptual Reassessment”, Journal of Theoretical Politics, Vol. 14, No. 1, January 2002, pp. 9-35.