Seva Gunitsky

Seva Gunitsky

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Affiliated Faculty, CERES




124N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place



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 The Washington Post, The New Republic, and The American Interest. 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

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

Selected 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.


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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