Zachary C. Steinert-Threlkeld

Subnational conflict; computational methods; social networks; international relations

Dissertation Title: Collective Dynamics of Protest Mobilization

Description: Zachary C. Steinert-Threlkeld is a PhD Candidate in political science at the University of California – San Diego.  He studies political violence, with a particular focus on mass protest in authoritarian regimes.  Zachary’s dissertation argues that protest mobilization occurs through peripheral actors in a social network, not social elites such as opposition politicians or activists.  His research takes advantage of social media data to understand individual-level behavior at a daily level, and he uses these data to understand dynamics of mobilization, elite behavior, and state repression, with a focus on the Arab Spring protests.  He uses millions of tweets to show that protest mobilization can occur spontaneously, without organized leadership; develops a theory of protest tactics that explains how activists substitute between online media and offline activity; and provides tools and guidance to enable other scholars to incorporate social media data in their research.

Committee: Emilie Hafner-Burton (Chair), James Fowler (Chair), Lawrence Broz, David Lake, Barbara Walter