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Ashrakat Elshehawy

Ashrakat Elshehawy

Research topic:
Political Economy of the Middle East, Politics of Information, Text-Analysis
Degree course:

Research Themes:
Democracy and Democratisation Institutions and organisations Religion Political Economy Comparative Politics and Government  

Academic Profile

My research interests lie in the field of comparative political economy. I focus on aspects related to economic history of state-institutions, local public good provision, informal social-welfare, and the political economy of Islamic institutions, with a regional focus of the Middle East. My research also draws on questions about how foreign policy tools, such as economic sanctions, interact with domestic politics. I am further extremely interested in investigating aspects of the politics of information using methods of computational text analysis. I am currently employing Natural Language Processing and text analysis methods on corpora of Arabic, German, and English texts.

Previous Education:


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





Arabic, German, English, French



Teaching specialism, interests and experience






Text as Data: Computational Text Analysis

Course Convenor

Department of Politics and International Relations

University of Oxford

Trinity Term (Spring Term) 2021


Applied Statistics for Political Scientists

Coding Sessions for the Lecture Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences

by Prof. Robin Harding and Prof. Nelson A. Ruiz

Department of Politics and International Relations

University of Oxford

Michaelmas Term 2020-2021


Computational Text Analysis for Political Science

University of Houston

Summer 2020





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


Tutorial: Empirical Political Research in Political Science

University of Mannheim, Germany

Lecture by: Dr. Sean Carey) 

October 2017 - January 2018


Academic Positions:


Research Assistant for Prof. Ben Ansell/ Editorial Assistant for Comparative Political Studies Journal

Nuffield College, University of Oxford, UK

June 2020 - 


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




Published Work:


"Illiberal Communication and Election Intervention During the Refugee Crisis in Germany" (Link) - Accepted at Perspectives on Politics

(with Konstantin Gavras, Nikolay Marinov, Federico Nanni, and Harald Schön) 


"SASCAT: Natural Language Processing Approach to the Study of Economic Sanctions" (Link) - Conditionally Accepted at Journal of Peace Research

(with Nikolay Marinov, Federico Nanni, and Jordan Tama) 


"Using Historical Maps for MENA Political Science Research." American Political Science Association (APSA) MENA Politics Newsletter


Working Papers:

"Why Obasanjo but Germany: the Leader vs. Country Debate on the Floor of U.S. Congress" (Link)


"How the US Electoral Cycle Affects Elections Around the World" (Link)

 (with Johannes Bubeck, Nikolay Marinov, and Federico Nanni) 


"Heretics and Infidels: International Legal Commitments and the Enforcement of Human Rights" (Link)

(with Daniela Donno, Nikolay Marinov, and Federico Nanni)


"Binding Hands or Granting Discretion: Congress, the President, and the Design of Economic Sanctions"

(with Nikolay Marinov, Federico Nanni, and Jordan Tama)


Completed Data Collection Project:


"U.S. SASCAT - U.S. Congressional and Presidential Statements and Actions on Sanctions"

(with Nikolay Marinov, Federico Nanni, and Jordan Tama)



Conference Papers and Presentations


American Political Science Association Meeting

Virtual Conference

Septermber, 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