I teach in the fields of comparative politics, public policy, health, development, and research methods, at both the undergraduate and Ph.D. levels, through a mix of seminars, lecture courses, and individual supervision of independent research.

If you are an undergraduate student at MIT or Wellesley, and would like to work as a UROP with me, please send me an email describing your interests.

Please note that I will not be teaching in 2018-19, but should be teaching the same courses as 2017-18 in 2019-20…

Courses offered (2017-8)


17.special: State-Building (graduate). This doctoral seminar is taught jointly with Daniel Ziblatt at Harvard. We will investigate the politics of state-building in comparative perspective. The course is intended primarily for Ph.D. students in political science/government, particularly for those with research interests in comparative politics. Throughout the semester, we will try to tackle the following questions: How should we conceptualize the state? What are the best empirical strategies for measuring state “strength” or power? What is the range of theoretical explanations that account for variation in state power, and what is the quality of the evidence in support of such propositions? Can we improve upon the existing state of theory and/or the quality of empirical research?


17.571 Engineering Democratic Development in Africa (undergraduate). In this course, we will examine the varied relationship between democracy and human development in sub-Saharan Africa. Encourages students to apply “engineering thinking” to better understand which institutions, practices, and technologies have helped, and which have hindered, the achievement of health, education, infrastructure, and other outcomes. Addresses many of the challenges and dilemmas of democratic practice in poor, diverse, and unequal societies, while inviting students to propose practical interventions. Meets Tuesdays 9-11am plus recitation. SYLLABUS: syllabus17-751spring2017


17.571x Democracy and Development: Perspectives from Africa (introductory).

In Fall 2017, I released my first “MOOC” on the EDx platform, “Democracy and Development: Perspectives from Africa,” and you can enroll in the archived version now:


MIT News Profile on MITx/EDx course

Doctoral Supervision

I am very proud of the various doctoral students I have advised, who have completed outstanding doctoral dissertations in Political Science, addressing major questions in comparative politics, and international relations. Their work has spanned all world regions, on topics relating to development, human rights, violent conflict, ethnic politics, and democratic governance. Several of these students have won prestigious dissertation awards. Most have gone on to tenure-track academic jobs, including at Brown University, the College of New Jersey, Harvard University, Northwestern University, St. Andrews University, Syracuse University, University of California Los Angeles, University of California Riverside, University of California Santa Cruz, University of Chicago, and the University of Toronto.

If you are interested in working with me for your doctoral studies, please apply to the MIT Ph.D. program in political science.

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