For several years, Prerna Singh (Brown), and I carried out collaborative research on how to conceptualize and measure the thorny notion of “ethnic politics,” and also to understand some of the causes and consequences of mobilizing ethnic categories. Here is a link to our project website: http://institutionalizedethnicity.net/.
Our first article from that project lays out some broad conceptual and measurement strategies, and appears in Studies in Comparative International Development.
Our second article shows how a broad set of state institutions affected the salience of ethnic differences, in turn leading to outbreaks of violent ethnic conflict across 11 Southern African countries. That piece appears in Comparative Politics.
A third article, published in World Politics, analyzes an original dataset of census enumeration questionnaires from around the globe to test the proposition that enumeration of ethnic cleavages increases the likelihood of conflict. We demonstrate a strong and robust pattern consistent with this hypothesis.
More recently, Andrew Miller (PhD student, MIT) and I are in the early stages of a project investigating inter-ethnic conflict in Nigeria through textual analyses of online discourse. Stay tuned!