Preceptors are advanced Ph.D. students who work with CIR students individually and in small groups to help them in completing the Committee's degree requirements. Students work closely with preceptors as they select an MA topic and they advise students in the thesis writing process.
Milena Ang is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science, specializing on Comparative Politics and Political Methodology. Her dissertation uses a mixed-methods approach to study the trajectory of politicians that have been involved in corruption scandals in Mexico, India, and Indonesia. In particular, she analyzes how a variety of actors and democratic institutions (elections, political parties, and the judicial system) fail or succeed at holding them accountable. Other research interests include transparency, federalism and subnational politics, democratic practices and institutions, and representation in contemporary democracies. Milena enjoys building and analyzing large-N datasets, particularly if the data structure is well suited for hierarchical modeling, and is currently learning web scraping and content analysis. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from CIDE (Mexico City, 2008). Before coming to the University of Chicago, she worked as a research assistant for a public opinion firm in Mexico.
Jonathan Obert is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science specializing in American Political Development, International Security and Comparative Politics. His work focuses on the question of violence: how it is organized and how its use changes over time. More specifically, his dissertation investigates the process of violence monopolization and the co-evolution of private and public forms of organized coercion in the U.S. Jonathan addresses these questions using archival research, case studies, statistical, GIS, and network analysis. In terms of general interests, Jonathan's work touches on law and society, state formation, civil and ethnic war, crime and social control, contentious politics, institutional theory, and social structural methods. He has published or presented work on constitutional change in Imperial Germany and Bismarck's approach to strategic action, Gunfighting networks in the American West, the legal roots of vigilantism, and the origins of the private security industry.
Matthias Staisch is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science. Before beginning his doctoral studies at Chicago, he was a research associate and instructor in the Center for International Relations and Peace Research, Eberhard-Karls-Universitaet Tuebingen (Germany). Matthias has been trained in International Relations and Comparative Politics. He specializes in the theory and history of international institutions. Matthias’ dissertation – tentatively titled The Imperial Origins of Multilateralism – is motivated by the following puzzle: Although scholars and policy-makers have endorsed multilateralism as the norm for building modern international order, great power strategies rarely follow multilateralism’s organizing principles. The dissertation draws on social network theory to re-conceptualize multilateralism and its alternatives, imperialism and leadership, as networked orders which yield different, and mutually exclusive, benefits for great power sponsors. The work then develops a logic by which great powers rarely face a strategic situation which incentivizes them to secure multilateralism’s benefits. A series of historical case studies illustrate the implications of the argument. In addition to his work on international institutions, Matthias is completing article-length projects on U.S. counterinsurgency in Iraq, and the theory-praxis gap in International Relations research. His publications include: International Organization: Polity, Policy, and Politics, with Volker Rittberger and Bernhard Zangl (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006).