Academic Research

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My scholarship addresses a question of central concern in international politics: the ongoing formation – and transformation – of the modern state. Working at the intersection of historical sociology, political science, and international relations, my work engages with classic themes about war-making and state-making; rather less classically, my research rethinks state formation through the lenses of space, culture, and capitalism.

The scope of my research ranges from interventions in social theory (engaging with the work of state theorists from Lefebvre and Foucault to Poulantzas and Weber) to fine-grained archival research and qualitative data collection using Arabic sources that takes the globally-situated Middle East as its point of departure.  The primary focus of my empirical work is Syria, a country to which I have a long-term intellectual as well as personal commitment, having lived there for some five years since 1997 (most recently during the first 12 months of the revolution).

My research combines the theoretical ambition of an IR scholar with a historical sociologist’s eye for exactitude and a regional specialist’s insistence on the need for a global, non-Eurocentric understanding of world politics.