Political Science


Josh is a seventh-year PhD candidate in comparative politics and international relations. His academic interests concern question-driven research pertinent to political innovation, the politics of crisis, and change. His current work focuses on historical and contemporary case studies that investigate the role of organizational learning in party innovation following periods of socioeconomic transformation. Drawing on relational sociology, and combining sequence analysis and archival research, his dissertation analyzes party competition and learning in interwar Germany, and seeks to explain Nazi innovation in the context of robust competition on the political right.

In addition to his dissertation research, he has a forthcoming coauthored volume with William Lazonick and Philip Moss on the history of employment mobility among African American workers since the Civil Rights Act of 1965 that is currently under review by Cambridge University Press. Utilizing a novel dataset constructed from EEO-1 filings between 1971 and 2015, we show how the Civil Rights Act enabled large-scale improvements in employment opportunities for working-class African Americans. Underpinned by norms such as career with one company, many African American workers gained entry into jobs that provided middle-class pay and benefits for the first time. This trend was undermined, however, by industrial restructuring and corporate financialization beginning in the late-1970s and early 1980s, ultimately causing an end to these business-sector norms and a resulting shift towards downward mobility for blue-collar African Americans that has now encompassed the whole of the American working- and middle-classes.

In 2018, he received the P. Terrence Hopmann award for excellence in teaching for the course War and Politics under Rose McDermott and has been a research associate at the Academic-Industry Research Network since 2015. He holds a B.A. in sociology from the City University of New York School of Professional Studies where he graduated magna cum laude and a A.M. in political science from Brown University.

Job Market Paper Title

Reinventing Mass Politics: Learning and Innovation in Interwar Germany

Job Market Paper Abstract

How do parties innovate? Under what conditions do new forms of party organization emerge? While existing theories focus on macro-level structures or rhetorical strategies, this dissertation proceeds with a comparative analysis of rightwing party teams in interwar Germany to investigate the relationship between organizational learning and innovation in competitive party systems. Based on a novel dataset of activist career histories and archival documents of training manuals, this dissertation shows how the learning capacity of party teams shaped their organizations’ ability to adapt to voter demands and innovate under conditions of radical uncertainty, ultimately leading to the emergence of Nazism as a historically-novel party form and the largest party in the Republic, a necessary step in their ultimate seizure of power. It concludes with implications for additional cases of innovation, democratic backsliding, and party system collapse.