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Visiting Associates

WCED Visiting Associates are invited to be part of the center’s academic community during their time at U-M. This diverse group of interdisciplinary scholars come from different regions of the world and offer invaluable expertise on emerging democracy and authoritarianism in their home countries and beyond. They actively participate in WCED events, workshops, and networking opportunities.

Guilherme Casarões
WCED Visiting Associate, 2019-20

Guilherme Casarões is a lecturer at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas São Paulo Business School (FGV EAESP). He holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in political science from the University of São Paulo and an M.A. in international relations from the State University of Campinas. He has authored many peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on Brazilian foreign policy and Latin American politics. Among his publications are “Brazil First, Climate Last: Bolsonaro’s Foreign Policy” (GIGA Latin America Focus, 2019); “The Evolution of Brazilian Foreign Policy Studies: Four Perspectives” (Routledge Handbook of Brazilian Politics, 2018); “Itamaraty’s Mission” (Cairo Review of Global Affairs, 2014); and “Itamaraty on the Move” (Bulletin of Latin American Research, 2013). He has been a visiting fellow at Tel Aviv University and Brandeis University.

Iza Ding
WCED Visiting Associate, 2019-20

Iza Ding is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh with a courtesy appointment in public policy at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. She is a scholar of comparative political development, with a focus on East Asia and Eastern Europe. Her research uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to understand two political issues: environmental politics and policy, and the politics of authoritarianism and democracy. Professor Ding received her Ph.D. in government from Harvard University, and B.A. in political science and Russian and East European studies from the University of Michigan. During the 2019-20 academic year, she will be working on a book project entitled Great Again: Restorative Nationalism in Russia, China, and the United States.  

Adam Fefer
WCED Visiting Associate, 2022-23

Adam Fefer is a political science Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, San Diego. He holds an M.A. from UC San Diego and a B.A. from UC Berkeley. He studies authoritarianism, federalism, and ethnic conflict. His dissertation seeks to explain why authoritarian "ethno-federations" become more or less democratic, focusing primarily on Ethiopia. Using comparative case studies and elite interview data, Adam argues that changes to federal institutions—specifically, their changing levels of centralization and ethnic inclusiveness—help explain changes in the democratic status of such authoritarian ethno-federations.

Natalia Forrat
WCED Visiting Associate, 2020-21

Natalia Forrat is a WCED Visiting Associate and a research affiliate at the Governance Project at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, Stanford University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at WCED in 2018-20. She received her PhD in sociology from Northwestern University in 2017 and, before coming to the University of Michigan, was a pre-doctoral fellow at CDDRL at Stanford as well as a postdoctoral fellow at the Kellogg Institute, University of Notre Dame. Her academic interests focus on state-society relations, political regimes, governance, and civil society. Currently, Natalia is finishing her book on the social basis of authoritarian power in Russia and working on a survey of civil servants in Ukraine and Kazakhstan as a part of Stanford’s Governance Project. You can learn more about her work at

Veronica Hurtado
WCED Visiting Associate, 2019-20

Veronica Hurtado is a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. She focuses on the political economy of development and political behavior for Latin America, particularly for resource-dependent states. Her dissertation project seeks to uncover the micro-foundations of the political resource curse using a mixed-method approach that combines multi-level analysis, network research, and ethnographic fieldwork. At UBC, Veronica has been awarded the Liu Scholar Fellowship for the 2019 year, for which she is conducting a research project that studies the effect of national resource extraction policies on local social movements in Peru and Bolivia. 

Hanisah Binte Abdullah Sani
WCED Visiting Associate, 2019-21

Hanisah Binte Abdullah Sani is a National University of Singapore Overseas Postdoctoral Fellow. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago in 2019. Her research interests lie in the intersection of law and society, sociology of religion, social change, and comparative state formation. Her dissertation, “Elite Politics, Jurisdictional Conflicts and the Legacy of Colonial State Building in Malaysia,” asks why despite a highly centralized government, jurisdictional conflicts become politicized and even turn violent in some states more than in others. Examining historical and contemporary cases of religious conversions that precipitated jurisdictional conflicts on the civil and religious courts, she examines religious conversions as drivers of social change and regime transformation to engender new configurations of state power and subject formation. As a WCED Visiting Associate, Hanisah will develop her dissertation into a book. You can learn more about her work at

Şebnem Yardımcı-Geyikçi
WCED Visiting Associate, 2019-20

Şebnem Yardımcı-Geyikçi will be a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at the University of Michigan as of January 2020. She received her B.S. degree in international relations from the Middle East Technical University in 2006, followed by a Master’s degree in European Studies at the University of Maastricht. She completed her Ph.D. in government at the University of Essex in 2013. Her Ph.D. thesis focuses on party and party system development in new democracies with a special emphasis on Turkey and Southern Europe. She taught several courses on comparative politics and various aspects of international relations for the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Bilkent University, where she also received a second Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science in December 2015. Her articles have appeared in a number of prestigious journals including Party Politics, Democratization, and PS: Politics and Political Science, and she has presented several papers at national and international conferences. Professor Yardımcı-Geyikçi’s current research concerns party politics, the questions of representation, protest movements, authoritarianism, and area studies. Most recently, she was an Individual Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS).