Activist Disciplines: Universities in Autocracies and Political Protest

28.05.2024 - 16:00
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Art der Veranstaltung: 
Nils Weidmann
Zugehörigkeit des Vortragenden: 
University of Konstanz

Mina Rulis and Nils B. Weidmann

Current events on university campuses show again that academic institutions often constitute breeding grounds for political mobilization. This also applies to autocratic countries, where political protest has been found to be more likely to occur in university cities. However, research so far has failed to address the question of which universities are more likely to see protest. In this paper, we focus on the disciplinary composition of universities in autocracies. Using a simple distinction between STEM and non-STEM disciplines, we argue that the latter traditionally cover politically more sensitive topics, and should therefore be more likely to serve as focal points for political protest. We test our expectations in large-scale comparative analysis, using fine-grained data on the composition and location of academic institutions in autocracies combined with event data on political protest.