Ashrakat Elshehawy

Government and Politics Network
Somerville College
DPhil Politics

My research interests lie in Comparative Political Economy, Political Economy of Development, and Computational Social Science. My work evaluates the effects of foreign interventions on domestic politics, local governance, and public service provision, with a regional focus on the Middle East. My dissertation focuses on the economic development of local geographies in 19th and 20th century Egypt. I exploit historical socio-economic shocks to investigate how interactions between foreigners and locals shape local public service provision and long-term economic inequalities.

My methodological expertise lies in the field of Computational Social Sciences. I employ and advance methods of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Computational Text Analysis in a multilingual setting, working with a variety of Western and Arabic languages. My work incorporates the retrieval and digitalization of historical maps, textual data, and several other sources of archival data. I am passionate about using my computational skills to generate new sources of quantitative data that reveal valuable information that would be otherwise lost in the archives.

My research has been published or is forthcoming in the Journal of Politics, Perspectives on Politics, and Journal of Peace Research. My published work underlines my strong interest in evaluating the impact of past and present foreign interventions on how societies operate, in applications that span beyond the region of the Middle East.

Previous Education:

Visiting Doctoral Student, Yale University, CT, USA

Department of Political Science

January 2022 - June 2022

M.A Political Science, University of Mannheim, Germany

Research Track: Advanced Quantitative Methods

Supervisor: Prof. Nikolay Marinov 

August 2016 - June 2018

B.A Political Science and Psychology, University of Mannheim, Germany

August 2013 - June 2016

Undergraduate Visiting Student at Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

September 2015 - December 2015

Additional Academic Training:

2019 Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM) Summer Institute at the Hobby School of Public Affairs, University of Houston, USA

June 2019

Scientific Programming with Python at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute (HPE DSI), University of Houston, USA

January 2019 - February 2019



My research interests include:

  • Comparative Political Economy

  • Political Economy of Development

  • Historical Political Economy

  • Political Economy of Religion,

  • Comparative Politics and Government,

  • Local Public Good Provision

  • Foreign Influence in Domestic Politics

  • Computational Text Analysis and Natural Language Processing

  • Information Retrieval




Python and Computational Text Analysis

  • Course Convenor

  • Department of Politics and International Relations

  • University of Oxford

Text as Data: Computational Text Analysis

  • Course Convenor

  • Department of Politics and International Relations

  • University of Oxford

Applied Statistics for Political Scientists

  • Coding Sessions for the Lecture Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences

  • Department of Politics and International Relations

  • University of Oxford

  • 2020, 2021, 2022



211: Politics of the Middle East

  • PPE (Politics, Philosophy, Economics) Degree (Undergraduate)

  • Pembroke, St. Hilda’s, and Somerville Colleges

  • University of Oxford

  • Trinity Term - April - June 2020

201: Comparative Government

  • PPE (Politics, Philosophy, Economics) Degree (Undergraduate)

  • University of Oxford

  • Trinity Term Revisions- April - June 2020

Teaching Assistant at the Chair of Quantitative Methods, Prof. Thomas Gschwend, PhD,

  • University of Mannheim, Germany

  • Tutorial: Empirical Political Research in Political Science (lecture by: Dr. Sean Carey) (Undergraduate)

  • October 2017 - January 2018


Academic Positions

Visiting Scholar/Pre-Doc at the Department of Political Science, University of Houston

  • Houston, Texas, USA

  • January 2019 - June 2019

Research Associate at Mannheim Center for European Social Research (MZES)

  • Research Project: Individual Responses to International Democratizing Action (IRIDA)

  • University of Mannheim, Germany

  • August 2018 - September 2019

Research Assistant at the Chair of Empirical Democracy Research, Prof. Nikolay Marinov, PhD

  • University of Mannheim, Germany

  • January 2017 - July 2018

Student Editorial Assistant for the American Political Science Review (APSR) to Prof. Dr. Thomas König

  • University of Mannheim, Germany

  • October 2016 - July 2018

Research Assistant at the Mannheim Center for European Social Research (MZES)

  • Research Project: Mediated Contestation in Comparative Perspective

  • Professor Dr Harmut Wessler, Chair of Media and Communication

  • University of Mannheim, Germany

  • May 2015 - June 2016

Research Assistant at GESIS Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences

  • Programme: International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)

  • Mannheim, Germany

  • April 2014 - September 2016



  • Arabic,

  • German,

  • English,

  • French

  • Turkish (beginner)

Ashrakat Elshehawy


Published Work


Working Papers


Data Collection Project

  • "U.S. SASCAT - U.S. Congressional and Presidential Statements and Actions on Sanctions" (with Nikolay Marinov, Federico Nanni, and Jordan Tama) [Finished]


Conference Papers and Presentations

PaCSS: The 5th Annual Politics and Computational Social Science Conference

  • Title: "Seeing Persons, or Seeing Countries? Foreign Leader Salience on the US Congress Floor"

  • Harvard

  • June 2022

PolMeth Europe 2022

  • Title: "Seeing Persons, or Seeing Countries? Foreign Leader Salience on the US Congress Floor"

  • The University of Hamburg Germany (attended online)

  • June 2022

Women in Quantitative Methods at Oxford

  • Title: Employing Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing & Geographic Information Systems in Data Collection and Analysis in Political Science

  • Nuffield College, University of Oxford (attended online)

  • April 2022

Women in Political Methodology Speaker Series

  • Title: Illiberal Communication and Election Intervention During the Refugee Crisis in Germany

  • Online Event

  • October, 2021

Monash-Warwick-Zurich Text-as-Data Workshop

  • Why Obasanjo but Germany: The Leader vs. Country Debate on the Floor of U.S. Congress

  • February, 2021

American Political Science Association Meeting

  • Virtual Conference

  • September, 2020

Zurich Text as Data

  • "Who Wants to Talk About Refugees and Why? Foreign Interventions in German Elections"

  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland

  • October, 2019

Tex Meth Conference of the Political Methodology Society

  • Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA

  • March, 2019

Sanction Workshop: "Supranational Economic Statecraft: Sanction Success and Failure in a Comparative Perspective."

  • "Quantifying Attention to Elections with Text-Analysis"

  • Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan , Poland

  • October, 2017

Fifth Open Section Meeting of the DVWR IR Section

  • "Quantifying Attention to Elections with Text-Analysis",

  • University of Bremen, Germany

  • October, 2017

IC2C2 International Conference on Computational Social Sciences

  • Paper Title: "Quantifying Attention to Elections with Text-Analysis",

  • Cologne, Germany

  • July, 2017