I have been travelling to and studying Egypt for fifteen years. My first book examined why the Egyptian leadership has thwarted the opposition from taking power for over fifty years. For that study I approached Egyptian politics through a comparative framework that also looked at Iran, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Subsequently I published a series of scholarly articles on US foreign policy and authoritarianism. The latter topic included my article "Hereditary Succession in Modern Autocracies," which makes a political argument for why dictators, with the requisite biological and political opportunities, often bequeath power to their sons. The Comparative Democratization section of the American Political Science Association recognized that work with the Best Article Award of 2008. Recently I have gravitated toward the study of transnational politics, with a focus on politics between Washington and Cairo. In some respects, my current book project is a diplomatic history of how the US-Egyptian relationship has constituted repressive practices in Egypt, a central concern of my earlier work. In addition to receiving the support of the Woodrow Wilson Center, I have been awarded a Fulbright Scholar Grant for studying this research.


B.A. with highest honors in International Studies, (1997), Emory University; M.A. in Politics (2000), Princeton; Ph.D. in Politics (2004), Princeton


  • Post-Doctoral Fellow (2004-2005), Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Stanford University
  • Assistant Professor of Government (2004-2009), The University of Texas at Austin
  • Associate Professor of Government (2009-present), The University of Texas at Austin


Egypt; US foreign policy; comparative politics

Project Summary

Sentry State challenges the understanding of post-Camp David US-Egyptian relations as a history of conflicted but idealistic US officials prodding their Egyptian counterparts toward political reform. The book traces how Carter and Sadat's peacemaking presupposed and reinforced the aggressive policing of the Egyptian public. Over subsequent decades, US administrations and President Mubarak have continued to promote Cairo's regional security role, in the process suppressing local advocacy for political competition and open debate. Vital bilateral cooperation for major US projects—including Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror, and the containment of Hamas—overshadows the two governments' periodic, and largely superficial, quarrels over democracy.

Major Publications

  • Authoritarianism in an Age of Democratization (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
  • "Hereditary Succession in Modern Autocracies," World Politics (July 2007).
  • "Portents of Pluralism: How Hybrid Regimes Affect Democratic Transitions," American Journal of Political Science (July 2009).