Alex Mierke-Zatwarnicki

Welcome! I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University where I research the historical development of political competition in advanced democracies. My dissertation, still in early stages, draws on a combination of quantitative text analysis and qualitative case studies to develop a theory of 'identity-based politics': how to conceptualize them, and the conditions under which parties are most likely to embrace them as a style of political competition. More broadly, I'm interested in the origins and evolutions of party systems, the comparative structure and content of political disagreement, and the dilemmas of the left. I also maintain a strong personal interest in urban housing politics (a common symptom of growing up near Vancouver, BC), though I haven't found a way to bring it into my research quite yet. During my time at Harvard, I've been lucky to receive financial support for my research from the Weatherhead Center’s Canada Program, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS), and the Center for American Political Studies (CAPS).

For the 2020-2021 academic year, I will be based in Montreal, where I will hold a Dissertation Research Fellowship from the Minda de Gunzberg Center for European Studies (CES). I'll also be a visiting student at McGill University and the Center for the Study of Democratic Citizenship (CSDC-CEDC), a cross-disciplinary research centre which gathers scholars across Quebec who study democratic politics.

Prior to my doctoral work, I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of British Columbia, followed by a Master’s degree in Political Science at the University of Toronto, where I was a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Fellow. During this time, I co-authored two articles on Canadian political behaviour that have been since published in the Canadian Journal of Political Science.