I study subnational conflict, with a focus on the dynamics of mass protest. My research takes advantage of social media data to understand individual-level behavior at a daily level; these data can illuminate dynamics of mobilization, elite behavior, and state repression, among others. I am currently a professor of public policy at the University of California – Los Angeles’ Luskin School of Public Affairs.
My earliest research focuses on the Arab Spring. In it, I develop a theory of protest tactics that explains how activists substitute between online media and offline activity; use millions of tweets to show that protest mobilization can occur spontaneously, without organized leadership; and show how to harness new data sources to understand emergent conflict narratives, changes in social network structure, and identify transnational social networks.
I also have written about Ukraine’s Euromaidan protests and subsequent civil conflict and am starting projects on protest in other countries. I am at various stages of completion on projects involving measuring the size of protests, predicting protest dynamics, and measuring protest dynamics using images shared at protests.
I am from Connecticut, with time spent in Texas, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and San Diego, where I spent more time living than anywhere else. Traveling, the scenery of Southern California, good coffee, good books with good coffee, and exercising provide me pleasure. I have no shame having been a fan of the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and, now, the Los Angeles Lakers solely because of LeBron James. (The future, though, is clearly with the Clippers.) On the court, I am closer to Matthew Dellavedova.
– Zachary C. Steinert-Threlkeld