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Department of Political Science and International Relations

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Brett Carter

Assistant Professor of International Relations

Research and Practice Areas:

Challenges confronting Africa’s post Cold-War autocrats: nomically democratic political institutions, globalized information environments, development aid and debt relief.

Brett Carter is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California, a Hoover Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and a Faculty Affiliate at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University, where he was a fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.


Brett’s research focuses on politics in the world’s autocracies. His first book, Propaganda in Autocracies (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press), marshals a range of empirical evidence to probe the politics of autocratic propaganda. His second book project, Inside Dictatorship, explores how Central Africa’s autocrats are learning to survive despite the nominally democratic institutions they confront and the international pressure that occasionally makes outright repression costly. His other work has appeared in the Journal of PoliticsBritish Journal of Political ScienceJournal of Conflict ResolutionSecurity Studies, and Journal of Democracy, among others.


His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, United States Institute of Peace, Social Science Research Council, Guggenheim Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, the Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, and the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University.


Brett’s work has been featured in a number of media platforms, including The New York Times and NPR’s Radio Lab. He is also an occasional contributor to the National Endowment for Democracy’s Power 3.0 project, African Arguments, and Africa is a Country. He can be reached via Twitter (@brett_l_carter) and email (