I received my Ph.D. from the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies where I was also research fellow at the Sie Center for International Security and Diplomacy. I am currently Assistant Professor of Security and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, as well as a research associate of the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies. My work recently received a grant from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland (START).
My research is at the nexus of identity and political violence, particularly religious terror movements and sectarian violence. I am broadly interested in how ideological factors and membership practice and identity impact dynamics of violence such as intensity, bargaining, and organizational coherence. My research portfolio helps scholars and policymakers better understand how the identity of violent groups influences tactics, targets, and hierarchical structures. My articles have been published in the Journal of Peace Research, Perspectives on Terrorism, and Journal of Strategic Security. I teach courses on religion and violence, terrorism, national security, as well as research design and methodology.
My current book project asks how sectarian practices by armed group memberships impact the campaign duration, intensity, negotiated termination. The project examines conflicts in Israel, Iraq, Syria, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, in addition to a large cross-national index of religious practices in armed substate campaigns from 1970-2014. I've conducted field work throughout Jewish settlements in the West Bank and with former civil-war combatants in Sierra Leone.
I am deeply interested in bridging the theory-practice divide. I am a National Security Act Scholar and national collegiate debate champion, have served as operations director of an international nonprofit fighting against human trafficking, worked as a foreign policy advisor to a number of US congressional campaigns, and was Iowa Operations Director for a US presidential campaign.
In addition to my research, teaching, and policy work, I am enthusiastic about West African beaches, baseball, hockey, and hipster cuisine. My wife, Lauren Ries, is the most inspiring person I know, and my son, Robert Adlai Day is a connoisseur of single-blend fruits and vegetables... just not sweet potatoes...never the sweet potatoes.