“'Ethnic cleansing': An analysis of conceptual & empirical ambiguity." 2023. Political Science Quarterly: Link.
Despite significant scholarly disagreement about its definition, core meaning, and corresponding cases, ethnic cleansing has escaped careful conceptual examination. This article identifies five key areas of conceptual confusion that undermine the integrity and utility of the concept. These include discrepancies over its core meaning; tension between ethnic cleansing as a practice versus a policy; the lack of boundedness between ethnic cleansing and other related concepts; the universe of cases that belong together; and disparate sub-type classification criteria. This conceptual confusion undermines effective comparative analysis and in turn our understanding of the causes of ethnic cleansing and associated policy recommendations. The solution is to abandon the social science usage of ethnic cleansing in favor of alternative concepts defined by the distinct intent of the perpetrator(s): massacre (to annihilate), mass expulsion (to remove), coercive assimilation (to eliminate a unique cultural identity), and control (to subjugate). This eliminates ambiguity, improves theoretical precision, and opens a promising new research agenda.
"What Enables or Constrains Mass Expulsion? A New Decision-Making Framework," 2023. Security Studies 32(3):537-567: Link.
Given similar probabilities of mass expulsion, why do some governments expel ethnic groups en masse and others refrain? Extending the genocide studies literature on the dynamics of restraint, this theory-building study introduces a new framework to conceptualize the process of governments' mass expulsion policy decisions. The novel paired comparison case study of Asian minorities in post-colonial Uganda and Kenya generates new hypotheses about what enables and constrains a specific type of eliminationist policy. Despite analogous contexts, target populations, and motives to expel, in 1972 Uganda systematically expelled up to 80,000 South Asians en masse, while in 1967-69 Kenya did not. The negative case of Kenya, a country that seemed likely to expel but refrained, highlights important factors that constrain government expulsion decisions: alliances, target group “homeland” state(s), and international organizations. Evidence was drawn from archival research conducted at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The article concludes outlining a research agenda to test the new analytical framework to contribute to our understanding of demographic engineering policies and restraints on ethnic violence.
“'The People Admire and Trust Hitler': Race, Risk and American Religious Groups’ Views of Nazi Germany in 1935," 2023. British Journal of Sociology 74(4): 598-623 (withMelissa Wilde): Link.
What explains American religious groups’ views of Nazi Germany before the U.S. entered the Second World War? Using a comparative-historical approach, we employ a novel set of data on 25 of America’s most prominent religious denominations to answer this question. We find that two factors were crucial in explaining religious elite discourse about Hitler in the U.S. in 1935: whether leaders believed in white supremacy and whether their denominations were incumbents or challengers in the American religious field. Our findings underscore the growing theoretical consensus that racial resentment is key to support for authoritarianism and call attention to religious groups’ complicity in its growth, both active and passive.
"Introducing the Government-Sponsored Mass Expulsion Dataset," 2022. Journal of Peace Research 59(5): 767-776. Link.
This article introduces the Government-Sponsored Mass Expulsion dataset documenting cross-border mass expulsion episodes around the world from 1900-2020. This new dataset focuses on mass expulsion policies in which governments systematically remove ethnic, racial, religious or national groups, en masse. The GSME dataset disaggregates mass expulsion from other exclusionary politics concepts to isolate policies of intentional group-based population removal. This allows for a systematic examination of governmental expulsion policies, distinct from policies aimed at annihilation (genocide), control (massacre), or cultural elimination (coercive assimilation). The GSME dataset documents 139 expulsion episodes since 1900, affecting over 30 million citizens and non-citizens across all world regions. The data is drawn from archival research conducted at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as secondary sources and extant datasets. This article presents an empirical overview of the data including information on the expelling country, onset, duration, region, scale, category of persons expelled and frequency. Although mass expulsion is a rare event, it is a reoccurring rare event. Its consistent use—with over two million people expelled in the last five years alone—demands additional empirical and theoretical investigation. The GSME dataset contributes to the study of exclusionary politics as a dependent variable, but it also offers promise as an explanatory variable for those studying phenomena affected by mass expulsion.