School of Humanities and Sciences


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  • Jacob Abolafia

    Jacob Abolafia

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Political Science

    BioI am a political theorist who writes on the history of political thought and critical theory, broadly construed.

    My dissertation (Harvard, 2019) “Penal Modernism before Modernity: Correction and Confinement in the History of Political Thought”, traced the treatment of the prison in political philosophy from Plato’s Athens to Jeremy Bentham’s London, with an eye towards our present carceral dysfunction. In addition to finishing a related manuscript on incarceration and the history of political thought, I am also engaged in research projects on political myths and political economy, as well as contemporary theories of rationality and society.

    I have published and taught on the history of political thought from classical antiquity to the present day. My ongoing research interests include social and political philosophy from early modernity through the critical theorists, Jewish and Islamic political thought, classical philosophy, and the intersection of social and political theory.

    After receiving my doctorate from Harvard’s Government Department, I was the 2019-2020 Harvard-Tel Aviv Post-doctoral Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Tel Aviv University. And, as of 2020, a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Van Leer Institute’s Polonsky Academy in Jerusalem. I am currently a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Stanford Civics Initiative, based in the Political Science Department at Stanford University.

    I hold a BA (Hons.) in Philosophy from Yale University (2010), and completed M.Phils in Political Thought and Intellectual History (2011) and Ancient Philosophy (2012) at Cambridge, where I was a Paul Mellon Fellow at Clare College until 2013.

    I live in San Francisco.

  • Gil Baram

    Gil Baram

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Political Science

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research focuses on governmental decision-making during cyberattacks and strategic attribution-related policy. I work at the intersection of Cyber and International Relations, examining under what circumstances governments choose public acknowledgment of attacks or secrecy. Within my doctoral research, I developed a pioneering analytical model that allows decision-makers to predict their adversary’s response, supported by an original coded database of cyberattacks.

    My research interests encompass various aspects of cyber warfare and covert actions, including the impact of technology on national security, cyber and national security, the role of Intelligence agencies in cyberattacks, cyber threats to space systems, and how states act during cyberconflict.

  • Gemma Dipoppa

    Gemma Dipoppa

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Political Science

    BioI am a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Political Science at Stanford University. I received my PhD in Political Science from University of Pennsylvania in August 2020. My research interests include comparative politics, political economy and quantitative methods.

    In my research, I study the strategies used by criminal organizations to influence politicians, their capacity to drain public resources and the effectiveness of policies to fight against them. My dissertation examines the conditions explaining the expansion of criminal organizations to strong states, focusing on mafias’ ability to control and exploit migrants’ labor to strike alliances with local economic actors.

    Please visit my website for my cv and research: https://web.sas.upenn.edu/gemmad/