Welcome! I am a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University. My work focuses on violent conflict, public opinion, and the politics of the Middle East and Islamic world. I am particularly interested in people’s attitudes and beliefs in — and toward — war.
My ongoing book project investigates the depths and limits of lies, misinformation, and “fake news” in war. From Syria to Colombia to Ukraine, misinformation is an endemic feature of modern war. But when is it actually believed by those living in the warzones, and when is it not? This question is key, as the spread of false beliefs can initiate, exacerbate, and extend violent conflicts. In the book, I develop a new and surprising argument about factual beliefs in war. In contrast to intuitive notions of people believing whatever they want amidst the “fog” of war, I argue that the accuracy of people’s wartime beliefs hinges critically on their exposure and proximity to the events in question. While war is full of lies, those close enough to the action have the means and motives to see through them. In short, when it comes to misinformation in war, seeing is disbelieving. Focusing on recent armed disputes in Pakistan and Iraq, I support this argument with original surveys and experiments, a range of violent event data, and the pairing of the two in new and powerful ways. The results enhance our understanding of both the dynamics of armed conflict and the role of facts in contemporary politics.
In addition to this book project, I have a number of other ongoing research projects on Islam and politics, U.S. foreign policy attitudes, non-state resistance leaders, and support for conspiracy theories. Before arriving at CMU, I earned my Ph.D. in political science at the Ohio State University and my B.A. in political science at the University of Pennsylvania.