Seva Gunitsky

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

Trinity College
1 Devonshire Place 
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3K7 Canada

Areas of interest

  • External sources of domestic reforms
  • Great power rivalries and hegemonic transitions
  • Regime waves and democratic diffusion
  • International relations theory


Main bio

Seva Gunitsky is an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto. His work examines how international forces like war and globalization shape democracy and domestic reforms. He is the author of Aftershocks: Great Powers and Domestic Reforms in the Twentieth Century (Princeton University Press), selected by Foreign Affairs as one of the best books of 2017. Some of his work has appeared in International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, International Theory, and Perspectives on Politics, as well as popular outlets like Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, and The New Republic. A native of Russia, Seva is a graduate of Columbia University and a former post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University.

Select publications

  • “Rival Visions of Parsimony.” Forthcoming, International Studies Quarterly
  • Seva Gunitsky and Andrei Tsygankov. “The Wilsonian Bias in the Study of Russian Foreign Policy.” Problems of Post-Communism 65.6, Nov/Dec 2018, p. 385-393
  • “Democratic Waves in Historical Perspective.” Perspectives on Politics 16.3, September 2018, p. 634-651.
  • Aftershocks: Great Powers and Domestic Reforms in the Twentieth Century. Princeton University Press (Princeton Studies in International History and Politics). March 2017.
  • “Corrupting the Cyber-Commons: Social Media as a Tool of Autocratic Resilience.” Perspectives on Politics 13.1, March 2015, p. 42-54.
  • “From Shocks to Waves: Hegemonic Transitions and Democratization in the Twentieth Century.” International Organization 68.3, Summer 2014, p.561-97.
  • “Lost in the Gray Zone: Competing Measures of Democracy in the Former Soviet Republics.” In Ranking the World: Grading States as a Tool of Global Governance, edited by Alexander Cooley and Jack Snyder. 2015, Cambridge University Press.
  • “Complexity and Theories of Change in International Politics.” International Theory 5.1, March 2013, p. 35-63.


Awards & recognition

  • SSHRC Insight Grant (2019-2024)
  • Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (2015-17). Co-PI with Ryan Griffiths (PI, University of Sydney) and Charles Butcher (co-PI, PRIO)
  • Fung Global Fellowship, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University
  • Connaught New Research Award, University of Toronto, (2014-15)
  • Departmental Institutional Grant; University of Toronto; Department of Political Science (2012), Munk  School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (2013)
  • Research Grant, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto, 2012
  • Connaught Start-up Grant, University of Toronto, 2011


POL 2200
Core Course - International Politics (Ph.D. seminar)
POL 486/2205
Democracy and the International System (undergraduate/graduate seminar)
PCJ 460/461
Causes of War and Peace (undergraduate seminar)
POL 208
Introduction to International Relations (undergraduate lecture course)