Bio

Mylonas

I am a political scientist interested in the the processes of state- and nation-buildingpolitical development, and diaspora policy. My work contributes to our understanding of states’ management of diversity that may originate from national minorities, immigrants, diasporas, or refugees. I am particularly interested in the role of decision makers’ perceptions about foreign involvement in their domestic affairs and the impact these perceptions have on the planning and implementation of state policies.

After completing my Ph.D. in political science at Yale University in 2008, I joined the faculty at the department of political science at George Washington University. Here I teach undergraduate courses on Nationalism and European Integration, and graduate courses on Nation-Building in the Balkans, Nationalism and Nation-Building, and Qualitative Research Methods. For 2008-09 and 2011-12 academic years, I was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. I served as Associate Dean for Research at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs  during 2017-18. Since 2018, I am editor-in-chief of Nationalities Papers, a peer-reviewed journal published by Cambridge University Press for the Association for the Study of Nationalities. I have been serving as a member of the Board of Directors of ASN since 2011. From 2019 to 2021, I served as Chair of the Council for European Studies Research Network on “Historical Study of States and Regimes“.  [CV]

My book, The Politics of Nation-Building: Making Co-Nationals, Refugees, and Minorities was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012 and won The Peter Katzenstein Book Prize for the best first book on International Relations, Comparative Politics, or Political Economy in 2013, the 2014 European Studies Book Award by the Council for European Studies which honors the best first book on any subject in European Studies published within a two-year period, and an honorable mention by the Rothschild Prize in Nationalism and Ethnic Studies Committee of Association for the Study of Nationalities in 2014.

In The Politics of Nation-Building I identify the conditions under which the ruling political elites of a state target non-core groups with assimilationist policies instead of granting them minority rights or excluding them from the state. I argue that a state’s nation-building policies toward non-core groups – any aggregation of individuals perceived as an unassimilated ethnic group by the ruling elite of a state – are influenced by both its foreign policy goals and its relations with the external patrons of these groups. Through a detailed study of the Balkans, I show that the way a state treats a non-core group within its own borders is determined largely by whether the state’s foreign policy is revisionist or cleaves to the international status quo, and whether it is allied or in rivalry with that group’s external patrons. The theory is tested against a variety of alternative explanations on multiple levels of analysis: a dataset of nation-building policies towards all politically relevant non-core groups in the Balkans after WWI, archival evidence on case studies focusing on the treatment of a few non-core groups over time, and a microlevel subnational study of a religiously, culturally, and linguistically heterogeneous province.

I am currently co-authoring a book tentatively entitled “Situating Nationalism” (under contract with Cambridge University Press, with Maya Tudor from the University of Oxford); and co-editing two volumes one entitled “Enemies Within: Fifth Column Politics in Comparative Perspective” (Oxford University Press, with Scott Radnitz from the University of Washington, Seattle) and the other The Microfoundations of Diaspora Politics (Routledge, with Alexandra Délano Alonso from The New School, NY).

My recent publications include two articles published in a Special Issue on The Microfoundations of Disapora Politics I co-edited with Alexandra Délano Alonso for the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.  My contributions to this project include  an article co-authored with Alexandra Délano Alonso, entitled “The Microfoundations of Diaspora Politics: Unpacking the State and Disaggregating the Diaspora,” which served as an introduction to the Special Issue; and another article, entitled “Foreign Policy Priorities and Ethnic Return Migration Policies: Group-Level Variation in Greece and Serbia” co-authored with Marko Žilović, which is  linked to my ongoing book project tentatively entitled Diaspora Management Logics – analyzing why some states develop policies to cultivate links with and/or to attract back certain diasporic communities while others do not.

In terms of my nation-building research agenda, I recently published a review article in the Annual Review of Political Science entitled “Nationalism: What We Know and What We Still Need to Know” (w/ Maya Tudor) in which we take stock of political science debates on nationalism to critically assess what we already know and what we still need to learn. I also participated in an “Exchange on the quantitative measurement of ethnic and national identity” published in Nations and Nationalism (w/ Daniel Bochsler, Elliott Green, Erin Jenne, and Andreas Wimmer). I also recently published an article in Nations and Nationalism on post‐Ottoman nation‐building policies in the Balkans where I argue that the persistence of certain features from one period to another may be an actual legacy in some cases, but there is also a possibility that we are dealing with a manufactured legacy, where elites choose to intervene and perpetuate an institution or a particular feature of it.

Finally, I recently completed a political documentary entitled, Searching for Andreas: Political Leadership in Times of Crisis. The film premiered at the 20th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, won two awards at the International Documentary Festival of Ierapetra and was also screened at the 2019 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in Washington, DC and the 2021 World Congress of Political Science of the International Political Science Association.

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