Basil Bastaki

Basil Bastaki's picture
Graduate School Student
115 Prospect Street, Rosenkranz Hall, New Haven, CT 06520



Fields of Interest:

  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Formal Theory
  • Qualitative Methods


Broadly speaking, Basil is interested in the civil war and state formation literatures, as well as the Indian Ocean world. His approach is postpositivist and methodologically plural, sensitive to case context but oriented to generalizeable inference.

Basil studies the development of security institutions by state and society, including nonstate conflict (i.e. blood feuding), armed political orders and warlord politics, the domestic security apparatus, and the organizational politics of armed groups. Basil’s tangential interests include nomadic-pastoral polities, legibility and accumulation in high-mobility and high-friction regions, and how discursive struggle and the problem of knowledge intersects with conflict processes (i.e. millenarian revolts and charismatic insurgencies, contesting meaning and facts during conflict).

Basil’s regional focus is the Brahmaputra River Basin, encompassing Bengal, Northeast India, and Western Myanmar. More tangentially, Basil has an interest in the Arabian Peninsula, Horn of Africa, and Interlacustrine East Africa.


  • M.A. in International Relations (Honors), The University of Chicago’s Committee on International Relations, 2020
  • B.S. in Foreign Service (Honors), Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, 2015

Working Papers:

Please reach out to Basil for the latest drafts.

  • The Retaliatory Imperative: How Blood Feuding Deters Societal Predation in Contexts of Honor
  • (with Paul Staniland and Bryan Popoola) Finessing the Hobbesian Dilemma: Ending and Stabilizing Internal Conflicts in South Asia
  • Why do Agreements Cause Insurgent Organization Fragmentation? A Qualitative Analysis of the Naga Insurgency