After a course in political science, a Trinity student publishes research on authoritarianism and military support

Trinity College student Darya (Dasha) Maliauskaya ’22 recently published a paper in Query log about authoritarian leaders and military support. This open access academic journal allows undergraduate and graduate students to publish their work in the humanities, arts and social sciences.

Research conducted by Maliauskaya investigates how autocrats use power, coercion and loyalty to influence the military to support the regime during mass uprisings. “The paper aims to show ways in which authoritarian leaders can increase or decrease their cohesion with the military, as an institution, which in turn affects whether the military supports autocrats during mass uprisings,” she said. “I am generally interested in understanding the theoretical dimensions of authoritarian regimes and exploring the interrelated phenomenon of authoritarianism and social movements.” Read Maliauskay’s work here.

Darya (Dasha) Maliauskaya '22
Darya (Dasha) Maliauskaya ’22

Maliauskaya is from Belarus and has two majors in political science and international studies, with a focus on Middle Eastern studies. In the fall of 2021, she attended the “Authoritarianism” political science course with Associate Professor of Political Science Rea Matsuzaki. The course focused on examining authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and East and Southeast Asia.

For their medium-term papers, students were given the freedom to conduct their own research on the authoritarian regime of their choice and relate it to what they had learned and studied in the first half of the semester. Maliauskaya analyzed a case study focusing on the Arab Spring in the Middle East and the affected countries. “Born and raised in Belarus, a non-democratic country, I was forced to study how authoritarian regimes work and what their sources of resilience are,” Maliauskaya said. “The subject of my work is not only relevant in the context of the Arab Spring, but is also applicable to other cases of non-violent mass protests around the world, where the military has determined the outcome of mass protests in favor of authoritarianism.”

Matsuzaki, who encouraged Maliauskay to publish a paper she wrote for the semester, said: “This essay and my interaction with her in the classroom and in my office showed me early on that engaged complex theories, research and writing came naturally to Dashi. She obviously had the mindset of scholars and researchers. ”

Maliauskaya said her courses in political science and religious studies related to Middle East studies have influenced and contributed to her research. In particular, the course “War and Peace in the Middle East” and the course “Modern Islamist Movements – Religion, Ideology and the Rise of Fundamentalism” helped her knowledge of the Arab Spring 2011 and the complexity of socio-political movements in the Middle East and North Africa.

While conducting her research, Maliauskaya focused on reading primary and secondary sources, as well as on scientific studies to write her article. She read academic research that included information on the role of the military in authoritarian regimes; focusing in particular on the work of other researchers who have examined cases in which the military either remained loyal to authoritarian rulers or defected to the opposition amid mass uprisings. Her research includes case studies of the Arab Spring countries, as well as a general theory of authoritarianism and military support.

Maliauskaya wrote her final paper on women’s participation in controversial politics in Belarus and Ukraine. After graduating from Trinity, Maliauskaya decides between continuing her studies to pursue a master’s degree or a profession related to political science, such as a research assistant or program.

The Query log it is open to all undergraduate and graduate students who want to publish their papers, giving students access to publishing and taking their papers out of the classroom and offering them to others.

To learn more about Trinity’s political science, click here.


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