Rudra Sil is Professor of Political Science and the SAS Director of the Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and has been teaching at Penn since 1996. His scholarly interests encompass comparative politics, Russian/post-communist studies, Asian studies, the politics of labor, international development, qualitative methodology, and the philosophy of the social sciences. He is also an elected board member of the Committee on Concepts and Methods of IPSA, the International Political Science Association. Sil is author, co-author or co-editor of seven books. These include a sole-authored book, Managing ‘Modernity’: Work, Community, and Authority in Late-Industrializing Japan and Russia (University of Michigan Press, 2002), and Beyond Paradigms: Analytic Eclecticism in the Study of World Politics (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010), coauthored with Peter Katzenstein. The latter title was honored as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title in 2011. Sil’s coedited anthologies include The Politics of Labor in a Global Age (Oxford University Press, 2001) and Comparative Area Studies: Methodological Rationales and Cross-Regional Applicatons (Oxford University Press, 2018). He is also author of three dozen articles and book chapters. His articles have appeared in such peer-reviewed journals as Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Political Studies, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Theoretical Politics, Studies in Comparative International Development, and Post-Soviet Affairs. Sil is currently working on two books, Russia Reconsidered: Fate of a Former Superpower (under contract, Cambridge University Press) and Pathways of the Post-communist Proletariat: Labor Politics in Russia, China and Eastern Europe. His most recent paper on labor – coauthored with former Penn Ph.D. student, Allison Evans – was awarded the 2019 Dorothy Day Award for Outstanding Labor Scholarship.
- Comparative politics - development, labor politics, social movements, institutions & organizations
- Area expertise: Russian/post-communist studies, Asian studies
- International relations: general theory, US-Russia relations
- Qualitative methodology: comparative-historical analysis, interdisciplinarity, philosophy of social science
- Evolving Perspectives in Comparative Politics (graduate seminar)
- Russian Politics (advanced lecture - with graduate credit option)
- Political Change in the "3rd World" (undergraduate lecture)
- Globalization, Development & the BRICS (freshman seminar)
- Comparative Area Studies: Methodological Rationales and Cross-Regional Applications (Oxford University Press, 2018), co-edited with Ariel Ahram and Patrick Köllner.
- Beyond Paradigms: Analytic Eclecticism in the Study of World Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), co-authored with Peter J. Katzenstein.
- Managing "Modernity": Work Community and Authority in Late-Industrializing Japan and Russia (University of Michigan Press, 2002).
Articles & Chapters (selected)
- “The Dynamics of Labor Militancy in the Extractive Sector: Kazakhstan’s Oilfields and South Africa’s Platinum Mines in Comparative Perspective,” (with Allison D. Evans), Comparative Political Studies.
- “Triangulating Area Studies, Not Just Methods: How Cross-Regional Comparison Aids Qualitative and Mixed-Method Research,” in A. Ahram, P. Köllner & R. Sil, eds. Comparative Area studies (Oxford University Press, 2018).
- “The Dynamics of Labour Protest in an Era of Declining Social Protection” (with Teresa Wright), Introduction to Special Feature on Labor in Economy and Society 47, 4 (2018).
- “The Battle Over Flexibilization in Post-Communist Transitions: Labor Politics in Poland and the Czech Republic, 1989-2010,” Journal of Industrial Relations, 59, 4 (2017): 420-443.
- "Avant-Garde or Dogmatic? DART [Data Access & Research Transparency] in the Mirror of the Social Sciences,” (with Guzman Castro) in APSA-CP: Newsletter of the Comparative Politics Section of the American Political Science Association 26, 1 (Spring 2016): 40-43.
- “The Fluidity of Labor Politics in Postcommunist Transitions: Rethinking the Narrative of Russian Labor Quiescence,” in G. Berk, D. Galvan and V. Hattam, eds. Political Creativity: Reconfiguring Institutional Order and Change (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).
- "When Multi-Method Research Subverts Methodological Pluralism - Or, Why We Still Need Single-Method Research" (with Amel Ahmed), Perspectives on Politics 10, 4 (December 2012): 935-953.
- "Analytic Eclecticism in the Study of World Politics: Reconfiguring Problems and Mechanisms across Research Traditions" (with Peter J. Katzenstein), Perspectives on Politics 8, 2 (June 2010): 411-431.
- "Stretching Postcommunism: Diversity, Context and Comparative Historical Analysis" (with Cheng Chen), Post-Soviet Affairs 23, 4 (2007): 275-301.
- "Communist Legacies, Postcommunist Transformations, and the Fate of Organized Labor in Russia and China" (with Calvin P. Chen). Studies in Comparative International Development, 41, 2 (Summer 2006): 62-87.
- "State Legitimacy and the (In)significance of Democracy in Post-Communist Russia" (with Cheng Chen), Europe-Asia Studies 56, 3 (May 2004).
- "The Foundations of Eclecticism: The Epistemological Status of Agency, Culture, and Structure in Social Theory," Journal of Theoretical Politics (July 2000).