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Zachary Agatstein

PhD Candidate in Political Science

Zachary “Zach” Agatstein is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University, specializing in International Relations and Comparative Politics. He has a strong background and interest in human security, ethnic conflict, nationalism, and Europeanization. Zach has served as a Teaching Assistant for International Relations, Comparative Politics, and American Government.  

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Research Interests

Zach’s research interests include genocide prevention and the root causes of genocide; his in-progress dissertation will focus on global norms regarding the prevention of genocide, as well as the impact of ethnic conflict and genocide on human security. He also has a strong interest in the politics of nationalism and nationalist groups, governmental institutions, as well as the process of Europeanization and European politics generally.

Prior Work

Before entering the PhD program at Northeastern University, Zach attended St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the only public honors college in Maryland, where he majored in political science. As part of that major, he completed a capstone project on comparative federalism, focusing on the Australian Senate and the United States Senate as federalist institutions.

He later enrolled at Northeastern as a Master’s student, where his research interests shifted to encompass nationalism and nationalist movements. His thesis, available upon request, is a critical examination of the Scottish nationalist movement and its primary actor, the Scottish National Party. He graduated in May of 2015 and immediately continued into Northeastern’s PhD program.


Zach was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island and is a lifelong New Englander, save for his college years spent in southern Maryland. Active in his college community, he served for three out of his four years at St. Mary’s as a member of the student government, including a term as Chairman of the Policy Review Committee and a member of the college’s Handbook Committee; as part of this service, he was the sole student representative to have a hand in revising college policies ahead of the 2010-2011 academic year. In addition, he was the first junior (3rd year) to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the college’s journal of the social sciences, Open Water.

In the fall of 2013, he enrolled as a Master’s student at Northeastern University, where he was awarded a Graduate Student Scholarship during each semester of the program, and served as a Teaching Assistant throughout his second and final year of MA work. His coursework and concentration focused on Comparative Politics, and he completed courses in Europeanization, nationalism, comparative electoral systems, normative regimes, and U.S. foreign policy. His final semester in the Master’s program was a thesis project on Scottish nationalism that is available upon request.

As a PhD student, he has continued his studies of nationalism, complemented by studies of genocide and ethnic conflict. Successfully achieving candidacy in April of 2017, his forthcoming dissertation will focus on norms surrounding the prevention of genocide, as well as a critical consideration of case studies of genocide in Rwanda and the Balkans. In addition to his research responsibilities, he will be teaching an undergraduate course in American Government, commencing from September of 2017.

Outside the classroom, Zach has a keen interest in national and local politics, and has volunteered for Presidential campaigns as well as worked on city council races in Boston. He was also the lead opposition researcher for Lincoln Chafee’s successful 2010 campaign to be elected Governor of Rhode Island; as a campaign staffer, he also worked on the future Governor’s education policy brief.

Degrees Earned and Institutions:

BA, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

MA, Northeastern University

Research Interests: Human security, genocide and genocide prevention, nationalism, Europeanization

Contact info:
960A Renaissance Park

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