I am Professor of Comparative Austrian Politics at the Department of Political Science and Sociology at the University of Salzburg, which I have chaired since 2009. Previously, I was a faculty member of the University of Pittsburgh (1994-2009) where I have remained an affiliate of the Center of European Studies. I received my PhD in 1994 from Michigan State University (a quantitative analysis of comparative human rights performance) and my MA in 1987 from Virginia Tech (You find the Pdf of my professional CV here.)

My Research

My main research interests are centered on comparative populism, Euroscepticism, political parties, the radical right and democracy. My research has appeared in journals such as The Journal of Common Market Studies, Party Politics, West European Politics, and Democratization among many others. Recently, I co-edited a special issue of Comparative European Politics on the territorial dimension in party-based populism. My book publications include The People and the Nation: Populism and Ethno-Territorial Politics in Europe (Routledge 2019), Political Populism; A Handbook (Nomos 2017), and Understanding Populist Organization: The West European Radical Right (Palgrave, 2016).

My work has been recognized by different prizes such as in 2017 the Austrian Science Prize (“Wissenschaftspreis”) by the Lupac Foundation and the Austrian Parliament.

Several grants have supported my research including a Marie Curie grant (2012-2016) and most recently a Horizon 2020 grant by the EU. In this project called Populism and Civic Engagement (PaCE), I serve as the leader of the Salzburg Team. Our goal is to study supply and demand side factors facilitating radical populism and examine effective civic countermeasures by using an array methods ranging from traditional survey research to computer simulation, and survey experiments. An interesting experience was also our collaboration with the Brookings foundation on a project about Islam in Europe.

My Teaching

In my teaching in Europe and the US, I have focused on Comparative and European Politics but also covered Latin America and the US. Since 2014 I have been teaching regularly in Beijing at Renmin University of China. Some of my most meaningful experiences were teaching service learning courses in rural Bolivia and spending a semester onboard a ship when teaching for the Semester at Sea program.

Representing an publicly funded university and working on topical issues, I often talk to the media about populism in Europe and US and comment on Austrian and European politics more generally. In this context, I have been asked to comment by media such as the BBC, NPR, the Washington Post, Der Spiegel, ARD, France 24, CNN, and many others. Op-ed commentaries and articles of mine have appeared in Open Democracy, Huffington.Post, Foreign Affairs, and Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte. Most often, I comment on Austrian TV and publish opinion pieces and analyses in Austrian newspapers.

From 2011 through 2019, I was director of the National Working Group on Democracy of the Austrian Research Association. This and serving as president and vice president (2014 to 2018) of the Austrian Political Science Association helped me integrate into the Austrian Political Science community.


Because of previous professional experiences and my academic training, I continue to follow closely, and remain very much connected to US politics and also Latin America, especially Bolivia. I take every opportunity to return to my two homes away from home.

You can find my university page here:

DISCLAIMER: The rotating banner photos are mine: Washington DC on the day I was there to comment on the election of Obama after I voted for him *** the Bolivian desert near Laguna Colorada where I worked on projects*** the Summer Palace in Beijing where I often teach nearby *** The Malecon in Havana where I spent some time already in the 1980s *** Leon Nicaragua where I served a a volunteer in the 1980s and returned with students.