Dr Anastasia Shesterinina
Lecturer in Politics/International Politics
Telephone: 0114 222 1665
Dr Anastasia Shesterinina joined the Department of Politics in January 2017 as a Lecturer in Politics/International Politics. Prior to taking up this position, she was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow (2015-2016) at Yale University, affiliated with the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. She holds a PhD (2014, first class) in Political Science from the University of British Columbia and an Honours Double Major BA (2008, summa cum laude) in Political Science and European Studies from York University in Canada. Dr Shesterinina has had extensive research methods training, including the Institute for Qualitative & Multi‐Method Research at Syracuse University (2010) and the Qualitative Methods and the Study of Civil War Course at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (2009).
Dr Shesterinina’s interests lie at the intersection of international relations, comparative politics, and qualitative methodology. Her field-intensive research explores the internal dynamics of and international intervention in contemporary armed conflict, with a focus on ordinary people’s mobilization under uncertainty and civilian protection norms and practices.
To facilitate student learning and success I have paid particular attention to the diverse student backgrounds and responded to student needs by developing targeted tools for text analysis, writing, and classroom discussion. I draw on my field-based research, academic and practitioner networks, theater training, and experience in the government (Elections Canada) and non-governmental sectors (Oxfam Russia and the Peace Research Institute of Frankfurt) to bring a variety of perspectives into the classroom. Module materials range from academic articles and up-to-date op-eds to archival documents and photographs collected during my fieldwork. Students benefit from guest lectures by academics, policy makers, and persons working in the field, brought into the classroom in person or by use of online media tools. Simulation exercises on the issues of current significance help bridge core theoretical insights with policy relevance and shape an energetic and interactive learning environment.
I am currently teaching the postgraduate modules POL6606 International Political Sociology of Civil Wars, POL6007 Research and Dissertation Preparation and POL6618 Doctoral Training in Politics and the undergraduate module POL117 Introduction to International Relations.
I look forward to supervising students interested in questions of political violence and civil war, including but not limited to armed group organization and mobilization processes and intervention in contemporary armed conflict. I am especially keen on supervising students conducting field-based research.
Watch: Dr Shesterinina interviewed on The MacMillan Report.
I pursue two lines of research on contemporary armed conflict based on extensive fieldwork in conflict areas and rigorous qualitative analysis that has been supported by nationally competitive scholarships and published in high-impact journals, such as American Political Science Review.
My work on the internal dynamics of armed conflict examines mobilization across the pre-, civil war, and post-war stages. My dissertation, Mobilization in Civil War: Latent Norms, Social Relations, and Inter-Group Violence in Abkhazia, asks why ordinary people mobilize in the face of high risk in civil war. Based on fieldwork over 2010-2013 in Abkhazia, Georgia, and Russia, I develop a socio-normative theory of individual decision-making and introduce a threat framing mechanism to explain the variation in mobilization roles adopted by individuals in civil war. I demonstrate that under the conditions where strong norms develop toward a collectivity, a norm triggering mechanism has greater explanatory power in accounting for mobilization than personal safety calculations. My article in American Political Science Review, “Collective Threat Framing and Mobilization in Civil War,” builds on and extends my dissertation research by focusing on how individuals come to perceive threat involved in civil war and how variable threat perceptions affect mobilization decisions. These aspects of my research form the foundation of my book manuscript (in progress), Mobilizing under Uncertainty. This work contributes to studies of conflict processes in diverse societies, with academic and policy implications for conflict prevention and management.
My second line of research examines international intervention in armed conflict, focusing on the norms and practices of civilian protection in the United Nations peacekeeping operations. As part of this research, I worked at the Peace Research Institute of Frankfurt on the links between peacebuilding, democratization, and violence. My single-authored and collaborative research with Brian Job explores the evolving international norms of the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, the Responsibility to Protect, and the Protection of Nationals Abroad. This research extends my regional area of expertise to cases including Somalia, Côte d’Ivoire, and more recently Libya and such global actors as China. The norm-shaping aspects of the civilian protection agenda at the United Nations and the novel theoretical framework we label as particularized protection are among our main contributions to research on international intervention and global governance of conflict.
Dr Shesterinina holds a leadership role as part of the Working Group on Evidence from Research with Human Participants in the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations, an inclusive dialogue among political scientists sponsored by the American Political Science Association’s Organized Section for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, https://www.qualtd.net/viewforum.php?f=18. To listen to Dr Shesterinina's talk on transparency and human subjects at APSA 2017 Qualitative Transparency Deliberations Roundtable, click here
She is affiliated and actively engaged with a number of research networks, including:
Dr Shesterinina has been invited to speak at a range of seminars and conferences, including:
Dr Shesterinina has served as a reviewer for Global Governance, Journal of Peace Research,International Studies Quarterly, and New Political Economy.
Key recent publications: