PhD Job Candidates

Poulomi Chakrabarti
Curriculum Vitae
Poulomi is a eighth year Ph.D. candidate in comparative politics. Her research interests include political economy of development, identity politics, public service delivery, and urbanization with a regional focus on South Asia. Poulomi's dissertation explores the relationship between social bases of power and the nature of state intervention in multi-ethnic democracies. She employs a number of methodological approaches to understand how different developmental regimes came to be constructed in post-independent India. Her dissertation has been supported by the International Growth Center, American Institute of India Studies, Smith Richardson Foundation, Tobin Project, Oxford University, Library of Congress, and various centers at Brown University. In other projects, she explores the transformation of identity politics in urban India and its impact of service delivery. Poulomi has a masters degree in international development from MIT and undergraduate degree in urban planning from the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi. Before starting graduate studies at Brown, she worked on issues related to decentralization and local governance at the World Bank. 

Matthew Hodgetts
Curriculum Vitae
Matthew Hodgetts received his doctorate in May 2017. He is from Kingston, Ontario. His dissertation, We Are All In This Together: Climate Change and the Global Ethos, addresses the problem of international cooperation on climate change, and argues for the necessity of reforming our global ethos in order to achieve a lasting solution. To do so, he draws on work from the fields of political theory, international relations, and environmental studies. Chapters of his dissertation have been presented at the American Political Science Association, Midwest Political Science Association, and New England Political Science Association Annual Meetings. Matthew's teaching focuses on political theory, international relations, and environmental politics, and he was the recipient of the P. Terrence Hopmann Award for Excellence in Teaching for his work in International Organization and World Politics. He holds a B.A. (Hons.) in Philosophy and Political Studies from Queen's University, and a M.A. in Political Science from McGill University. He previously worked as a researcher for a public health agency. For more information, you can visit his website 

Colin Johnson  
Curriculum Vita
Colin Johnson defended his dissertation in July 2017. Colin is from Aledo, Texas. He received his B.A. in International Studies from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and a M.A. in Political Science from Brown University. His interest areas are Comparative Politics and International Relations. His research focuses on politics surrounding the management of international migration and population growth, but also includes development, ethnic conflict, and xenophobia in public discourse. His geographic specialization is Russia and post-Soviet Eurasia, though he is interested in the aforementioned issues in hybrid regimes worldwide. He was an Interdisciplinary Opportunity Fellow at the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University (2015-2016). His year-long dissertation fieldwork in Kazan, Russia was funded by an IREX IARO Fellowship (2013-2014), and his research was also supported by an NSF-IGERT Fellowship at the Watson Institute (2012-2013). Colin also received a Teaching Fellowship in Spring 2015 from the Department of Political Science to teach "Survey of Comparative Politics." He was a trainee in the Graduate Program in Development, in the GIS Methods Institute, and in the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University. This year Colin is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and East European Studies. 

Matthew J. Lyddon 
Matthew J. Lyddon defended his dissertation in September 2015 and received his diploma at Brown's May 2016 Commencement ceremony. His dissertation, 'Value Integrity Civics: A New Approach for Crafting Liberal Democratic Citizens,' constructs a new approach in normative political theory to the role of the state as educator, supporting students as future citizens in integrating core liberal political values with those of their moral and religious traditions. More generally, Matt's primary research interests encompass contemporary forms of political liberalism, education, political ethics, leadership, and the intersection of democratic theory and constitutional law. Matt maintains a professional interest in citizenship and leadership education, having previously co-authored an educational resource for students aged 16-18, which explores the history of democracy and voting rights in the UK. He also originated and has twice taught the 'Ethical Leadership' class in the summer program at Brown Leadership Institute. For more information and a current CV, please visit 

Kelly B. Smith  
Curriculum Vitae
Kelly B. Smith received her doctorate in May 2017. She studies American politics and is from Orlando, Florida. Her dissertation, "Policy into Practice: Explaining the Diffusion of Policy Content and Implementation across the U.S. States," argues that the diffusion and implementation of policy are not two, independent processes. Instead, implementation politics can structure the adoption of policy and, therefore, policy diffusion. Similarly, out-of-state politics can bear on the implementation of policy within states. Her work has consequences for how we study the relationship among state politics, policy, and inequality. She has presented an article from her dissertation at the American Political Science Association, Midwest Political Science Association and Southern Political Science Association annual meetings. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Providence College, graduating with Summa cum laude honors. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute at Brown University. 

Megan Turnbull 
Curriculum Vitae 
Megan Turnbull received her doctorate in May 2017.  She studies comparative politics. Her research interests include the dynamics of state-building, armed non-state actors, electoral violence, internal conflict, political development, and African politics. Megan's dissertation examines the effects of electoral competition on state-building through the lens of state responses to militias. Her field research in Nigeria has been supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Megan is currently a managing editor for the journal Studies in Comparative International Development. Prior to her doctoral studies, Megan received a M.A. in Political Science (cum laude) from Leiden University and earned a B.A. in Political Science (summa cum laude) from the University at Albany. For more, you can visit her website at  

Aaron Weinstein  
Curriculum Vitae
Aaron Weinstein received his doctorate in May 2016. He is from Nashua, NH.  He received his B.A. from Cornell University, graduating with Magna cum laude honors in Government as well as the Esman prize for best senior honors thesis. After his senior year, he enrolled in the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA) - where he did one year of masters work focusing on religion and ethics in public policy - before coming to Brown.  His area of interest is the intersection of American politics and faith, especially: the American civil religion, atheism in the public sphere, and the repercussions of religious pluralism in a liberal democracy. Currently he is teaching at Tufts Univeresity.

Liza Williams 
Curriculum Vitae
Liza B. Williams received her doctorate in May 2016. She studies Political Theory and International Relations. Her research in political theory focuses on contemporary democratic thought, immigrant justice, ethics and public policy, the concept of sovereignty, and the history of political thought, especially the work of Rousseau. Her dissertation, Hospitality and the Horizons of Democracy: Responsibilities to Immigrants, develops a new ethical practice of hospitality and examines the reasons why liberal democracies may have certain obligations to immigrants and other categories of noncitizens. Currently, she is an Interdisciplinary Opportunity Fellow at The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Prior to doctoral studies, Liza worked at an international NGO on topics relating to Asian regional affairs and the development of democratic institutions abroad. Liza holds a M.A. from Columbia University in Political Science and an A.B. from Dartmouth College. Currently she is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University.