Richard J. McAlexander



I am a Political Science Ph.D. Candidate at Columbia University, specializing in International Relations. My primary interests are in political violence, terrorism, nonviolent resistance, and imperialism. I am passionate about using social science methods to study and answer historical questions. My work has appeared in or has been accepted by The Journal of Politics, the Journal of Global Security Studies, Review of Policy Research, Cold War History and The Washington Post.

My dissertation examines violent and nonviolent anti-colonial resistance within the British Empire after World War I. Using a number of methods, including qualitative process tracing, text analysis, and standard regression methods, I argue that violent resistance was more effective than nonviolent resistance at coercing concessions favoring colonies from the British metropole. I present a target-centered theory to explain variation in effectiveness across time and across colonies that focuses on the interests of the Empire itself. I also examine how the international environment affected the spatial variation in violence during the 1947-1948 war in Mandate Palestine.

My main regional focus is on the Middle East, specifically in Mandate Palestine. I am currently working on a number of projects to investigate conflict dynamics during the 1947-1948 War.

I have conducted research on a number of other topics, including the relationship between immigration and terrorism, estimating state positions in climate change negotiations, and making inferences using predictive machine learning tools. Please see the research section for more details. You can reach me at rjm2187 [at] columbia dot edu.