I joined the department in 2002 after completing my PhD at Stanford University. I teach courses in international relations and comparative politics. My regional area of expertise is Russia and the former Soviet Union, and my major research interests include democratization, human rights, gender politics, the politics of international democracy assistance, and NGO activism in both domestic and transnational politics.
My most recent book, Bringing Global Governance Home: NGO Mediation in the BRICS States (Oxford University Press, October 2021), co-authored with Laura Henry of Bowdoin College, explores how NGOs from the BRICS countries are engaging with key global governance initiatives on climate, sustainable forest certification, corporate social responsibility, and HIV/AIDS. Based on in-depth field research in Russia and secondary research on the other BRICS countries, the book examines variations in NGO participation in global governance initiatives, as well as how NGOs mediate their diverse domestic contexts in implementing global initiative principles and policies. We explore the interplay of international and domestic factors that allow domestically-rooted NGOs to participate globally, and the extent to which that participation shapes their ability to mediate and promote global governance perspectives within the borders of their own countries with varying regimes and state-society relations.
My 2019 book, called Courting Gender Justice: Russia, Turkey, and The European Court of Human Rights (Oxford University Press), is a collaboration with Valerie Sperling and Melike Sayoglu of Clark University. It investigates the puzzling question of why there are so few gender discrimination cases being submitted to the European Court of Human Rights from the Council of Europe states in general, and Russia in particular, despite tens of thousands of other types of case applications from Russia and plenty of gender discrimination taking place in the country. With comparative analysis of gender discrimination cases and violations in Turkey, as well as LGBT discrimination cases emerging from both countries, the analysis identifies the key roles of activist lawyers who are specially trained in gender discrimination and the ECtHR, as well as systematic data-gathering to substantiate discrimination claims, in the rare successful cases.
My 2006 book, Funding Civil Society, from Stanford University Press was based on extensive interview research, concerning the influence of foreign assistance programs on the development of women’s and human rights NGOs in Russia. I also published a book, co-edited with colleague Kathryn Harrison, on the comparative politics of climate policies (MIT Press, 2010). Current ongoing research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, examines Russian human rights NGOs’ interactions with the Council of Europe and European Court of Human Rights, and the impact of those interactions on NGOs themselves and human rights practices in Russia.
I am working with a number of scholars from North America and Europe to build a network called Activists in International Courts, linking scholars and human rights practitioners interested in questions of legal mobilization by NGOs and activist lawyers in international human rights courts. This activity began in May 2017 with a workshop on Legal Mobilization in International Human Rights Courts held at UBC and funded by a SSHRC Connection Grant, and has recently been supported through a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2019-2023). More information about the network is available on the network website.
- Bringing Global Governance Home: NGO Mediation in the BRICS States, co-аuthored with Laura A. Henry. New York: Oxford University Press, October 2021.
- Courting Gender Justice: Russia, Turkey, and the European Court of Human Rights, co-authored with Valerie Sperling, with contribution by Melike Sayoglu. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.
- Global Commons, Domestic Decisions: The Comparative Politics of Climate Change, co-edited with Kathryn Harrison. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010. I co-authored the introduction and conclusion with Harrison and the chapter on Russia with Laura Henry.
- Funding Civil Society: Foreign Assistance and NGO Development in Russia. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.
- Russian Civil Society: A Critical Assessment, edited by Alfred B. Evans, Jr., Laura A. Henry, and Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom. Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe, 2005.
Selected Articles and Chapters:
- “The Improbable Path to Peace through Domestic Political Change in Russia,” Canadian Slavonic Papers, September 2o22, 1–12.
- “Mixed signals: What Putin says about gender equality,” co-authored with Janet Elise Johnson, Alexandra Novitskaya, and Valerie Sperling. Post-Soviet Affairs (published online 8 September 2021).
- “Seeking better judgment: LGBT discrimination cases in Russia and at the European Court of Human Rights,” co-authored with Valerie Sperling. The International Journal of Human Rights Vol. 24, no. 6 (2020): 750-772.
- “NGO Participation in Global Governance Institutions: International and Domestic Drivers of Engagement,” co-authored with Laura A. Henry, Carla Winston, and Priya Bala-Miller. Interest Groups & Advocacy 8, no. 3 (September 1, 2019): 291–332.
- “Navigating Norms: Mapping Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Education through International-Regional-Local Sport for Development (SDP) Relations in Nicaragua,” co-authored with Lyndsay Hayhurst and Emma Arksey. Sociology of Sport, 35.3 (September 2018): 277-288.
- “Using a Postcolonial Feminist International Relations Approach to Explore Sport for Development and Peace,” co-authored with Lyndsay Hayhurst and Devra Waldman, in Palgrave Handbook of Feminisms in Sport, Leisure and Physical Education. Palgrave Publishers, 2018, pp. 589-607.
- “Private Actors, Public Policy Impacts: The Forest Stewardship Council in Russia and Brazil,” co-authored with Laura A. Henry. Forests 8(11) (2017), 445.
- “Russian Women’s Activism: Grassroots Persistence in the Face of Challenges,” in Women’s Movements in a Global Era: The Power of Local Feminisms. 2nd fully revised edition, ed. Amrita Basu (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2016), pp. 213-239.
- “International NGOs.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. Ed. Sandy Maisel. New York: Oxford University Press, September 2016.
- “Russian NGOs and the European Court of Human Rights: A Spectrum of Approaches to Litigation.” Human Rights Quarterly 36, no. 4 (2014): 844–68.
- “Advocacy Beyond Litigation: Examining Russian NGO Efforts on Implementation of European Court of Human Rights Judgments.” Communist and Post-Communist Studies 45 (September 2012): 1-18.
- “Russia’s Climate Policy: International Bargaining and Domestic Modernisation,” co-authored with Laura A. Henry, Europe-Asia Studies 64, no. 7 (September 2012): 1297-1322.
- “The Comparative Politics of Climate Change,” co-authored with Kathryn Harrison. This is the introductory overview chapter for a special issue of Global Environmental Politics, Vol. 7, no. 4 (November 2007).
- “Russia and the Kyoto Protocol: Seeking an Alignment of Interests and Image“, co-authored with Laura A. Henry, Global Environmental Politics, Vol. 7, no. 4 (November 2007).
- “Foreign Assistance, International Norms, and Civil Society Development: Lessons from the Russian Campaign,” International Organization, Vol. 59, no. 2 (spring 2005): 419-49.
I am most interested in supervising student theses on topics of democratization, authoritarianism, civil society, feminist activism, Russian/ post-Communist politics, Western aid, mobilization by activists in international human rights tribunals, and NGOs in global politics.
Current and recent Postdoctoral supervisions:
- Dr. Ibrahim Muradov, SSHRC grant-funded fellowship (2022-23)
- Dr. Catherine Hecht, SSHRC grant-funded fellowship (2017)
- Dr. Freek van der Vet, Finnish postdoctoral fellowship (2016-2017)
- Dr. Lyndsay Hayhurst, SSHRC Banting Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-2015)
Current and recent PhD supervisions:
- Alexandra Yao (current) — international human rights courts’ jurisprudence on member states’ civil society restrictions.
- Mendee Jargalsaikhan (PhD 2019) – explaining Mongolia as an outlier for democratization among small Asian communist states.
- Priya Bala-Miller (PhD 2018) – explaining when large institutional investors engage corporations on human rights conduct in conflict zones.
- Yana Gorokhovskaia (PhD 2016) — Elections, political participation, and authoritarian responsiveness in Russia.
- Anastasia Salnykova (PhD 2015) – deliberative capacity in ethnically divided democracies, focusing on Ukraine as a case.
- Ana Lukatela (PhD 2014) — gender mainstreaming policies in United Nations agencies’ country teams in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Albania.
- Kristi Kenyon (PhD 2013) — why NGOs choose to frame health issues as human rights issues, examining African HIV/ AIDS NGOs as cases.
- Olga Beznosova (PhD 2013) — opposition and dissent in petro-states, focusing on Russia as a case.
- Catherine Hecht (PhD 2012) — Inclusiveness and status in international organizations: Cases of democratic norm development and implementation in the UN and CSCE/OSCE.
Current and recent MA supervisions:
- Alexandra Yao (MA 2022) — The record of the Council of Europe and European Court of Human Rights on member states’ restrictions of civil society organizations.
- Katherine Alexander (MA 2021) — explaining change in transitional justice politics in Spain.
- Kelley Humber (MA 2019) — Crimean Tatars and the Politics of Sovereignty.
- Blažka Felicijan (MA 2019) — the Normative Legacy of the International Criminal
Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia.
- Ryan Carter (MA 2019) — the impact of energy insecurity on postcommunist CEE countries’ perceptions of Russia.
- Byron Haworth (MA 2016) — taking class seriously: alternatives to income-based measures of class.
- Fabio Resmini (MA 2015) — United Russia as a political party.
- Gabrielle John (MA 2015) — how perceptions of trauma influence transitional justice in post-conflict Guatemala.
- Stephanie Meitz (MA 2015) — Canada’s compliance with CEDAW on status and rights of Canadian women.
- Lynn Hancock (MA 2012) – explaining variations in levels of academic dissent in surrounding countries in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Most Recent Course Syllabi
Poli 334 Syllabus 2022-23 (Comparative Democratization — undergraduate)
Poli 516A Syllabus 2021-22 (Comparative Democratization — graduate)
Poli 511A Syllabus 2020-2021 (Core Graduate Seminar in Comparative Politics)
Poli 464A syllabus 2019-20 (NGOs in International Politics)