Department of Political Studies

Department of Political Studies
Department of Political Studies

Alexandra Liebich

PhD Candidate
MA (Queen's); BA, Honours (Guelph)

Department of Political Studies
Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room B305



Research Interests

  • Comparative nationalism, esp. kin-state (cross-border) activism
  • Inter-ethnic relations
  • The politics of education
  • Institutional design
  • Conflict management in divided societies
  • Citizenship and migration

I am interested in two main research areas, which I view as fundamentally linked: nationalism and inter-ethnic relations, on the one hand, and the politics of education, on the other. Since as far back as Plato and Aristotle, philosophers have been telling us that if we wish to know about government and society, we need look no further than education, that “what we want in the state, we must put into the school.”  Education is a place of institutionalized identity formation, socialization, and cultural reproduction. It is also a key domain of contestation in multi-ethnic settings, as school systems can reflect (and amplify) the attitudes, cleavages, inequalities, and power relations within a polity. Investigating debates over education can help us understand nation-building, cultural contestation, and the management of difference.

My work is driven by a belief in education as a vehicle for social and political transformation, or for maintenance of the status quo. I explore how education can contribute to peace and social cohesion while addressing the realities of diversity in multi-ethnic, and transitioning or “democratizing” states.

My primary regional focus is post-communist Europe and the post-Soviet space; a secondary region is the Middle East. My research is broadly comparative in scope but comprised of case studies with which I have more nuanced familiarity: Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, and the Baltic states. 

Brief Biography

Alexandra is a PhD student, CGS Bombardier Scholar, and EUSA Doctoral Fellow in Political Studies. Before joining Queen’s University, she worked as a researcher and editor in international affairs. She has experience conducting academic research (including extensive field research), as well as policy and applied research. She also has experience in international education, fundraising, communications, event coordination and execution, leadership, and coaching.

Alexandra has participated in summer schools and institutes on The Politics of Citizenship (CEU, Budapest, Hungary); Politics in Fragmented Polities (EURAC, Bozen/Bolzano, South Tyrol), and the Consortium for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (CQMR, Maxwell School, Syracuse  University). At Queen’s, she has contributed to the workshop on Migration, Citizenship, and Democratic Participation [MCDP] and the Laboratory on Ethnic Conflict Research [LECR]. She has attended conferences & workshops in Europe, Canada, and the USA.

Alexandra is committed to and especially interested in experiential learning, mentorship, and professional development within academia. Through her doctoral work she hopes to continually engage in research, teaching, and the sharing of knowledge.


Alexandra has taught and been invited to give guest lectures in the following areas: Comparative Politics, EthnoPolitics, Nationalism Studies, Comparative Education.

In Fall 2018, she will be a Teaching Fellow for POLS*440: The Politics of Nationalism and Ethnicity.

In previous years, she acted as a Teaching Assistant for the following courses:

  • POLS*384 - Research Methods/ Logic of Inquiry in the Social Sciences
  • POLS*244 - Democracy & Democratization
  • POLS*110 - Introductory Political Science

Alexandra is passionate about pedagogy, particularly at the level of higher education. She has completed SGS*901: Teaching & Learning in Higher Education. She has also been involved with the Centre for Teaching & Learning at Queen’s, and has participated in workshops on themes such as: inquiry-based learning; active learning; integrity in teaching; assessment and evaluation; curriculum development; inter-cultural communication; building students’ research competencies; and scholarship of teaching & learning [SOTL]. She is currently a member of the Teaching Assistant Advisory Committee [TAAC], working to develop resources and support for TAs and TFs across the Queen’s campus.

Other Affiliations