Seva Gunitsky

Seva Gunitsky

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Affiliated Faculty, CERES




124N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place



Seva’s research examines how systemic disruptions like major wars, economic shocks, and imperial collapses shape modern democracy. His first book, titled Aftershocks: Great Powers and Domestic Reforms in the Twentieth Century, offers a new explanation of modern regime change, focusing on great power transitions as drivers of sweeping waves of domestic transformations.  His research has also appeared in International Organization, International Theory, and Perspectives on Politics, among others. A native of Russia, Seva is a graduate of Columbia University and a former post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University.

Research Interests

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


Ph. D – Political Science, Columbia University (2011)

M.A –Political Science, Columbia University (2006)

B.A. – Political Science and Economics, High Honors, University of Michigan Ann Arbor (2002)

Awards and Distinctions

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

Selected Publications

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.


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)

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