Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science
Political Science / Academic
- Sherman Hall 126
B.A., Tbilisi State University
M.A., Tbilisi State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages
M.A., Central European University
Ph.D., Rutgers University
I have been teaching courses in Political Science and International Relations since 2001. Among the places where I have taught are Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), St. Francis Xavier University (Canada), the University of Calgary (Canada), and more recently Tbilisi State University (Tbilisi, Georgia).
At Austin College, I am teaching introductory and upper-level courses in International Relations (including theories of IR), the course in research design. In the January term, I plan to offer a course “Democracy, Elections, and Electoral Systems” which will explore the centrality of elections for modern conceptions of democracy and the underappreciated importance of electoral systems for elections. Among other electoral systems, we will cover the Electoral College and its various reform proposals.
I am excited at this opportunity to teach at Austin College as I find the philosophy of liberal arts education and the atmospherics of a small campus and a tightly-knit community of scholars and students to be so congruent with my own professional views and practices.
- “The Idea of Europe” and “Research Design and the Qualitative Methods” (PhD seminars at the Institute for European Studies, Tbilisi State University)
- “Institutions of Global Governance” (Seton Hall University)
- “Canada and the World” and “Politics of Post-Industrial Society” (the University of Calgary)
- “Causes of War” and “US Foreign Policy” (St. Francis Xavier University)
- “Democracy, Elections, and Electoral Systems” (Rutgers University)
My research interests include several topics. I am interested in nationalism and national identity, specifically in the questions of perennialism or modernity of nations and the presumed dichotomy of “civic” and “ethnic” nations. I have recently co-authored a paper (with my sibling, Prof. Regina Akopian) on the latter question for the annual convention of the Canadian Political Science Association and the joint conference of Vytautas Magnus University (Vilnius, Lithuania) and the Association for the Study of Nationalities. Another topic in which I have been heavily invested intellectually is the “Democratic Peace” argument. My own research was testing the argument through a series of historical case studies from the Anglo-American relations of the late 1890s and the early 1900s. More recently, I have started exploring the intellectual roots of the Brexit by tracing the evolving attitudes of Britain’s major political parties toward the idea of Europe and various European integration projects since the end of World War II. Finally, a perennial interest of my professional life has been the topic of political consequences of electoral systems and comparative electoral reform.
I speak Russian as my native language and have a big interest in opera and Napoleon Bonaparte stamp collecting. I would welcome students and colleagues who might want to practice their Russian or who agree with me that Maria Callas and Luciano Pavarotti are vastly overrated singers (give me Anno Moffo and Franco Corelli ANY TIME) or who are excited about Albert Decaris’ hand-colored die proofs.