Political Theory Project


Who We Are

The PTP is comprised of a core group of four faculty and two staff members. Each year we welcome a select group of postdoctoral fellows-in-residence as we proudly watch the graduating postdocs move on to the next phase of their careers. 

Interim Director

  • Professor David Skarbek

    David Skarbek

    Associate Professor, Political Science

    David Skarbek is Associate Professor of Political Science at Brown University. His research seeks to understand how extralegal governance institutions form, operate, and evolve. He has published extensively on the informal institutions that govern life in prisons in California and around the globe. His work has appeared in leading journals in political science, economics, and criminology, including in the American Political Science Review, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Journal of Law, Economics & Organization, and Journal of Criminal Justice. His book, The Social Order of the Underworld: How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System (Oxford University Press), received the American Political Science Association’s 2016 William H. Riker Award for the best book in political economy in the previous three years. It was also awarded the 2014 Best Publication Award from the International Association for the Study of Organized Crime and was shortlisted for the British Sociological Association’s 2014 Ethnography Award. His work has been featured widely in national and international media outlets, such as the Atlantic, BBC, Business Insider, the Economist, Forbes, the Independent, and the Times. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University in 2010.

PTP Professors

  • Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brown University Ryan Doody

    Ryan Doody

    Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brown University


    Ryan Doody is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brown University. Previously he held positions at the University of San Diego, UNC Chapel Hill, the University of Groningen, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ryan received his PhD in philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work deals with questions of rationality and value. He has a specialism in decision theory. Ryan's current research focuses on incommensurability, social risk, and public policy. 

  • Professor Emily Skarbek

    Emily Skarbek

    Associate Professor, Research, Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Research Seminar

    Emily Skarbek is Associate Research Professor in the Political Theory Project at Brown University. She earned her Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University in 2009. Her research examines civil society, governance, and history of economic thought. Her work has been published in academic journals such as Public Choice, Journal of Institutional Economics, and American Journal of Economics and Sociology. In 2014, she was awarded the annual Gordon Tullock prize for best article published in Public Choice by a junior scholar. She is also a contributing author to several books including After Katrina: The Political Economy of Disaster and Community Rebound and Hayek and the Modern World.

  • Visiting Scholar, Gianna Englert

    Gianna Englert

    Gianna Englert is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Southern Methodist University, where she teaches political theory and the history of political thought. She holds an M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, Annapolis and a Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University, and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Political Theory Project at Brown University. She has research interests in the history of liberalism, with particular interests in themes of political inclusion and exclusion, citizenship, and political economy. Her work has been published in Political Theory, PolityThe Review of Politics, Modern Intellectual History, and The Tocqueville Review. Her book, Democracy Tamed: French Liberalism and The Politics of Suffrage, is under contract with Oxford University Press.


  • PTP Director, John Tomasi

    John Tomasi

    Founding Director, On Leave, Romeo Elton 1843 Professor of Natural Theology, Professor of Political Science

    John Tomasi is the Romeo Elton 1843 Professor of Natural Theology and a Professor of Political Science at Brown University. He also holds an appointment at the University of Arizona's Center for the Philosophy of Freedom where he is a University Associate and Research Professor. He is the founding director of the Political Theory Project. 

    Tomasi received his B.A. from Colby College ('87), his M.A. from the University of Arizona ('90), and his B. Phil., D. Phil. from Oxford University ('93). He has held previous positions at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton, the Department of Philosophy at Stanford, and the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. His specializations are political theory and ethics and public policy.

    Curriculum Vitae

PTP Postdoctoral Research Associates and Visiting Scholars

Incoming PTP Postdoctoral Fellow, 2022

  • Incoming Postdoctoral Research Associate, Jessie Bullock, Harvard

    Jessie Bullock

    Incoming PTP Postdoctoral Research Associate, Ph.D., Department of Government, Harvard University

    Jessie's research interests include political economy of development, policing, crime, corruption, and clientelism. Her book project, Machine Gun Politics: Why Politicians Cooperate with Organized Crimeexplains why politicians and criminal organizations cooperate peacefully, drawing from a mixed-methods study of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her scholarship has won awards at the American Political Science Association (APSA), Latin American Studies Association (LASA), and Public Choice Society, and has been published in World Development and Economia. Jessie's research has been generously supported by the Corporación Andino de Fomiento (CAF),  Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS), Harvard Brazil Cities Initiative, and the Foundations of Human Behavior Initiative (FHB). Jessie received her PhD from the Department of Government at Harvard University in 2022 and will begin a position as Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2023. 

    Jessie will be joining the PTPas a Postdoctoral Fellow in late summer 2022.

  • Incoming PTP Postdoctoral Research Associate, Pawel Charasz, Duke University

    Pawel Charasz

    Incoming PTP Postdoctoral Research Associate, Pawel Charasz, PhD, Political Science, Duke University

    Pawel Charasz is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at Duke University. His research interests lie at the intersection of comparative politics, political economy, and economic history, with a geographic focus on Central and Eastern Europe. In his work, Pawel studies the long-run effects of institutions and political processes on economic and political development, with an emphasis on cities and municipalities. His dissertation explores the role of historical city charters in promoting development. Pawel’s work has been published in European Union Politics and received the SAGE Award for the Best Article Published in EUP in 2021. His research has been supported by, among others, the Economic History Association, and the Social Science Research Institute at Duke University. Pawel has graduated with a BSc in Economics from Tilburg University, an MSc in International Political Economy from Nanyang Technological University, and an MA in Economics from Duke University. 

    Pawel will be joining the PTP as a Postdoctoral Fellow in late summer 2022.

Program Staff