Hire an FIU PhD

The Department of Politics and International Relations is pleased to have exceptional students who are now on the job market. If you have any questions, please contact the individual candidate.


PhD Candidates and Recent Graduates:


Christine Bianco

Christine Bianco, PhD in International Relations, Spring 2021

Curriculum Vitae

Program: International Relations

Dissertation Chair: Harry Gould

Dissertation Committee Members: John Oates, Hannibal Travis, and Susanne Zwingel

Dissertation Title: The Creation Of International Crimes: How Narratives Shape Our Understanding Of The “Most Serious Crimes Of International Concerns"

Research Interests: International Criminal Law, Human Rights, International Norms, Law of the Sea, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Dissertation Abstract: The Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court labels the crimes within its jurisdiction as “the most serious crimes of international concern.” This characterization creates a hierarchy of international issues in which those under the jurisdiction of the court are portrayed as more important than those that are not. The Statute’s framing implies a permeance and absolutism to the distinction between international issues that obscures the political contestation behind this topic. My dissertation seeks to understand how the international community makes the distinction between what is criminal and what is merely wrong. To do so, I examine the discourse that surrounds the destruction of cultural and religious property, sexual and gender-based violence, and the worst forms of child labour. These three case studies are used to shed light on continuity and change within the “most serious crimes” as well as exclusion from this category. Two different narratives emerge from the discourse. The first is of a rogue and uncivilized governing actor purposely causing suffering in order to harm some ideological, political, or military opposing force. In doing so, they engage in shocking and abnormal forms of violence, violating the old and sacred laws of the international community. The second tells of a benevolent government working with the international community to establish new protections to fight against commonplace suffering to better humanity. The former lends itself to criminalization and the latter lends itself to non-criminalized codification.

Email Address: cbian005@fiu.edu


Cliff Ubba Kodero

Cliff Ubba Kodero, PhD in International Relations, Summer 2021

Curriculum Vitae

Program: International Relations

Dissertation Committee Chair: Dr. John Clark

Dissertation Committee Members: Dr. Jin (Julie) Zeng, Dr. John Oates, Dr. Hilary Jones

Research Interests: Global governance, International Organizations, International political economy, Development studies, Africa and African diaspora, International relations theory

Dissertation Abstract: Using discourse analysis, my dissertation advances new arguments about regional integration in Africa. It sheds light on regional economic communities (RECs) for small-economy states in Africa by examining the benefits and drawbacks of participating in such regional groups for both the small countries themselves and their ruling regimes. The study suggests that RECs, rather than being agents of economic development, facilitate regime-boosting agendas of neopatrimonial regimes, promote a false sense of sovereignty, and entrench the political elite's capture of the states. The significance of my study is threefold. First, it suggests that RECs provide an extension of neopatrimonial networks, which expand state-capture by specific political elites at regional levels. Neopatrimonialism refers to the lack of distinction between private and public interests in the state apparatus. For instance, in Africa's neopatrimonial states, the elites' political and economic interests largely determine state interests. Although the state appears to exist as a stand-alone neutral legal entity, private interest groups, who use their power positions to amass wealth and influence, often engulf it. The political elites' regional interests become the drivers of their states' official foreign policies. Second, my study contextualizes regionalism. It emphasizes that RECs are constructions of a state's new identities, as visualized by the existing regimes. RECs offer opportunities to orient national identities, construct solidarity narratives, and to pursue diplomatic efforts that entrench the governing regimes' ideological legitimacy to rule. Lastly, my research challenges the assumption that RECs will solve the small states' development problems.

Professional Websites and channels: The Ubba Kodero Show ; LinkedIn; ResearchGate

Email: ckode001@fiu.edu


Garrett Pierman

Garrett Pierman, PhD in Political Science, Expected 2021

Curriculum Vitae

Program: Political Science

Dissertation Committee Chair: Dr. Clement Fatovic

Dissertation Committee Members: Dr. Alexander Barder, Dr. Ronald Cox, Dr. Whitney Bauman

Title: A Future of Our Own Making: Technological Possibilities For Democracy

Short Abstract: Early enthusiasm for the potential of digital platforms to invigorate and transform democracy has given way to concerns about whether digital politics is necessarily democratic. Broadly, this study seeks to examine how—and if—the internet functions as a public space conducive to democratic practices. The web offered something new- a means by which people could not only consume media (as was largely the case with radio and television) but could themselves become creators of content, critics, and commentators. This interactivity through the technological marvels of the internet could have resulted in a flourishing of democratic practices across the boundaries of class, race, gender, and geography. However, the construction of platforms such as Facebook and twitter, and the ways in which users inhabit them, may have less democratic results than the optimists hoped. With the increasing extent to which politics is conducted on the internet, through online platforms, scholars have begun to question the democratic potential of the web. The study surveys existing literature on digital deliberative democracy, then reads a history of the internet through Actor Network Theory, Gilles Deleuze, and others to theorize that the contemporary internet is an actor-network with capitalist internal resonances that empowers corporate interests to the detriment of everyday peoples’ ability to empower themselves and each other to participate in democratic deliberation.

ORCID webpage: https:/orcid.org0000-0003-0157-405X

Email: gpier018@fiu.edu