Kevin Weng

Kevin Weng is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and Comparative Politics. His more explicit research interests focus on civil-military relations, state-formation, security studies, and crisis policy-making. Kevin’s existing research uses a combination of Chinese and English-language archival sources to illustrate how the politics of state-building can impact military battlefield behavior through causal pathways that circumvent traditional civil-military mechanisms. By employing comparative case studies and process-tracing to analyze the dueling state-building projects of the Chinese Communist and Nationalist Parties from 1937-1948, he argues that variations in modes of resource mobilization can facilitate or constrain the logistical capabilities of military organizations and their resulting operational strategies. Additional research looks at crisis manipulation among great powers and weak states operating in asymmetrical alliances. Kevin currently holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Florida and an MA in Political Science from the University of Chicago. Kevin's office is located in Pick Hall 116.



Yuna Blajer de la Garza

Yuna Blajer de la Garza is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science, specializing in Comparative Politics and Political Theory. Her research focuses on belonging, citizenship, and trust in modern democracies. In her dissertation, she analyzes the ways in which formal inclusion into the political community is appropriated and translated into informal modes of inclusion in everyday life. Yuna’s dissertation combines political theory and ethnographic research in Paris and Mexico City. Her other research interests echo her desire to better understand the relationship between formal and informal normative frameworks: condoned violence and punishment, law and society, democracy and nationalism, inequality and power, and the politics of identity.

Yuna holds a BA in International Relations from El Colegio de México. She is an alumna of CIR herself and received an MA with honors from The University of Chicago prior to joining the PhD program. Yuna's office is located in Pick Hall 116. Click here to sign up for office hours.


Manuel Cabal

Manuel Cabal is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science with a concentration in Comparative and American Politics. His research interests are related to state building in developing countries, political regimes, public education and welfare states. He is currently working on a project about the relationship of the expansion of state institutions and developmental policies, with the incorporation of the popular masses to the political arena. The project focuses on the centralization and growth of Mexico’s primary education system, and the role of teachers in mass political mobilization. Other research interests include the political development of autocratic regimes, and teachers unions in comparative perspective.

Manuel holds a BA in Political Science from ITAM (Mexico City, 2011), where he studied the democratization process of Mexico’s countryside in comparative perspective. And, before coming to the University of Chicago, he served in the Mexican federal government in areas related to economic development and sustainability. Manuel’s office is located in Pick Hall 116.

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