NSF Post-doctoral Research Associate, Computational Social Science, START
8400 Baltimore Ave., Suite 250, College Park, MD 20740
Dr. Erin McGrath serves as NSF Post-doctoral Research Associate in Computational Social Science at START. Her research approach, through inter-disciplinary collaboration, combines complexity theory with the rigor of social scientific research design through the application of computational methods. In particular, she focuses on how social media and other sources of unstructured data can shed new light on extant research problems. Currently her research looks at two problems the forefront of international affairs, subnational inequality and instability, and semi-authoritarian resilience.
While inequality and instability have a storied relationship in political science, inequality is a growing problem and big data can improve our understanding of the impact it has on instability and conflict. Funded by the National Science Foundation INSPIRE track and headquartered at START, this research triangulates different sources of structured and unstructured data on inequality, conceptualized as subjective and objective grievances, to improve our understanding of the causation and dynamics of instability and conflict. This project has a global focus but will look in-depth at Sub-Saharan Africa.
The second line of research, based on her dissertation, is the contemporaneous problem of semi-authoritarian regimes that straddle democracy and authoritarianism by manipulating the rule-of-law and information flows to and between citizens. By turning liberal constitutional democracy against the very principles on which it was founded, but maintaining some democratic standards through partial freedoms, regimes bolster their resilience. For this research, she focuses on the Republic of Turkey from the Ottoman Empire to present, and also to the Kurdish minority’s relationship with the regimes that developed historically in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq.
- University of Pittsburgh, Ph.D., Public and International Affairs, 2015
- Central European University, M.P.P., International Public Policy, 2005
- University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.B.A., Management, 2000
- Pre-dissertation Grant, European Union Center of Excellence, University of Pittsburgh, 2012
- Critical Language Scholarship Award, US Department of State, Ankara, Turkey, 2009
- Academic Pro-Rector’s Excellence Award and Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement, Central European University, 2005
- NSF Post-doctoral Research Associate, University of Maryland, 2015 to present
- Visiting Researcher, Department of Political Science, Bilkent University, 2009-2010
- Internship, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, Germany, 2005