IN MY OWN WORDS
I was born to active and engaged parents during Martial Law and on the heels of nationwide protests, so perhaps, it is easy to understand my fascination with dissent and democracy in Eastern Europe and beyond. Undoubtedly, my own first-hand experience – of being an immigrant, belonging to a repressed minority ethnic group, and being the grandchild of a forcibly displaced person and political prisoner – has influenced my interest in certain social science puzzles. And perhaps, it is no wonder that the extraordinary things that ‘ordinary’ citizens do in times of crisis (and how their lived experience of crisis shapes their political beliefs and policy preferences) are a common thread to my research.
Prof. Olga Onuch (DPhil Oxon) is Professor (Chair) in Comparative and Ukrainian Politics at the University of Manchester (making Onuch the first-ever holder of a Full Professorship in Ukrainian Politics in the English-speaking world and making UoM the first English language University to host such a Professorship).
Onuch joined UoM in 2014, after holding research posts at the University of Toronto (2010-2011), the University of Oxford (2011-2014), and Harvard University (2013-2014). Since 2014, in addition to her post at UoM, Prof. Onuch was: an Associate Member (Politics) of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford (2014-2021), a Fellow at the Davis Center at the University of Harvard (2017), a Visiting Professor at Universidad Di Tella (2019-2020), and a Senior Research Associate at CERES, Munk School at the University of Toronto (2021)
A scholar of comparative politics of eastern Europe and Latin America Onuch’s work looks at the motivations driving citizens to vote, protest, and/or migrate and factors related to their media consumption, as well as identity formation and policy preferences. Onuch’s research demonstrates that civic identity and duty (or its absence) is central in shaping political behavior in democratizing contexts. Onuch’s comparative study of engagement and democratic civic duty has made her a leading expert in Ukrainian and Argentine politics specifically, but also in east European Comparative Politics and inter-regional comparative analysis.
Onuch is the author of two books, as well as, numerous scholarly articles (published in The Journal of Democracy, GeoPolitics, Social Media + Society, Europe-Asia Studies, Problems of Post-Communism, Nations and Nationalism, Nationalities Papers, and Post-Soviet Affairs among other journals), book chapters, and policy briefs. Advancing findings, from her first monograph, Mapping Mass Mobilization (2014, reviewed in Europe-Asia Studies), Onuch has produced high-impact publications developing generalizable theories on the measurement and role of “civic identity,” “democratic dispositions” and “affective polarisation.” This research culminated in her second monograph, The Zelensky Effect (OUP/Hurst 2023/2022, co-authored with Henry Hale, reviewed/cited in New York Review of Books, TLS Foreign Affairs, Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times, The Diplomatic Courier, The Times Radio Podcast, The Telegraph, Ukraine Lately Podcast, The Democracy Paradox, Ukraiinska Pravda, Forbes Ukraine, Elle Ukraine and more), analyzing the rise of democratic duty and state attachment in Ukraine.
Onuch has led several major projects as PI or Co-PI and is currently the PI of two major projects.
She is the overall lead and ESRC Principle Investigator of MOBILISE “Determinants of ‘Mobilisation’ at Home and Abroad: Analysing the Micro- Foundations of Out-Migration & Mass Protest”. A multi-year project (2019-2023) funded through the Open Research Area (ORA) Scheme with direct support from the ESRC in the UK, the DFG in Germany, the ANR in France, and the NWO in the Netherlands (€2,002,039 total).
Onuch is also a British Academy Principle Investigator of the IBIF Project “Identity and Boarders in Flux: The Case of Ukraine” (2019-2024).
As part of her work on MOBILISE, in 2022, Onuch joined a team of colleagues at the Kyiv School of Economics, Duke, UNC, and the University of Maryland on the #DataForUkraine project providing data on civilian resistance (CR), human rights abuses (HRA), internally displaced people (IDP) and humanitarian support/needs (HS) during the ongoing Russian invasion of and war against Ukraine.
Onuch’s research regularly appears in leading media outlets (The Washington Post, The Times, The Guardian, BloombergTV, ABC, CTV, CBC, BBC TV World, Channel 4, ITV, Al Jazeera, AFP, among others). Onuch’s research on Ukraine has resulted in her consulting policymakers in Canada, Ukraine, the UK, and the US. Her research received praise and awards placing her on the map as one of the foremost experts on Ukraine.
SERVICE & TEACHING
Since 2023 Onuch is Comparative Politics Cluster Chair. 2019-2021 she was Ph.D. Program Director at the Politics Department at UoM and ESRC Politics Pathway Lead at UoM. Between 2015-2019 she was the Chair of the Comparative Public Policy and Institutions Research Cluster and remains an active Member of the Democracy and Elections Research Cluster. She has also been a member of the Politics Department Research Leadership Team 2015-2021 & 2023- present. Onuch is a member of the ASN Convention Ukraine Program team, former Chair of the Davis Book Prize Committee, and an editorial board member of Nationalities Papers and the Journal of Communist and Post-Communist Studies.
Onuch currently teaches Comparative Protest Politics, Comparative Democratization in Eastern Europe and Latin America, and Ukraine Rises.
In 2014-2015, Onuch was Co-PI (with Hale, Colton, and Kravets) of a National Science Foundation-funded study of Ukrainian political opinion (“Ukraine Crisis Election Panel Survey“). In 2014 she was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship Grant (awarded to “exceptional and promising young scholars”). In 2013/2014, Onuch was a Shklar Research Fellow, at HURI, at Harvard University. From 2011 to 2014 Onuch was a Research Fellow (in Politics), at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, where she held the prestigious Newton Fellowship Award and was PI of the “Ukrainian Protest Project: Comparative Protest Politics, funded by the British Academy. In 2010-2011, Onuch held the post of Petro Jacyk Prize Post Doctoral Fellow, at CERES, at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and at the University of Toronto (where she worked with Jeffrey Kopstein, Peter Solomon and Lucan Way).
Onuch holds a DPhil [Ph.D.] in Politics (defended with no corrections in 2010, degree awarded in 2011), from the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR), at the University of Oxford (Oxford, UK). Her doctoral research focused on social mobilization, protest, elections, and the role of the media in democratizing states in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Her thesis on mass mobilization in Ukraine (2004) & Argentina (2001) was supervised by Gwendolyn Sasse and Laurence Whitehead (advisor) and awarded with high praise and no corrections. Nancy Bermeo and Mark Beissinger were on her Viva examination committee. She was awarded a Neporany Doctoral Prize.
Onuch holds a Master of Sciences in Comparative Politics (2006) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (London, UK). Her MSc thesis is entitled: “The Dynamics of ‘Exit’ and ‘Voice’: Causes and Growth of the Informal Sector (‘Exit’) and its Relationship to Collective Political Participation (‘Voice’) in the Case of Informal Workers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Kyiv, Ukraine.”
Onuch received her first degree, B.A. Honors (2005) with a double major in Political Studies and International Development Studies, from Queen’s University (Kingston, Canada). She was awarded the Viapond Award for Excellence in Development Studies.
RESEARCH EXPERIENCE KEYWORDS
Revolutions*, Elections*, Protest*, Social Movements*, War, Identity*, Ethnicity, Public Opinion, Social Surveys, Electoral Fraud, Populism, Politics of Economic Crisis, Democracy, Democratization*, Political Participation, Political Parties, Youth Movements*, Activism*, Civilian Resistance*, Civic Duty*, Democratic Duty, Civic Nationalism*, Civil Society, Civil Society Promotion, Democracy Promotion, Democratic Resilience, EU Accession, EU-Ukraine Relations, Migration and Displacement, and Cultural/Public Diplomacy.
COUNTRIES & REGIONS
Ukraine*, Argentina*, Venezuela, Brazil, Belarus*, Mexico, Poland*, Russia, Morocco, Eastern Europe, Latin America.
- Ukrainian [Spoken:Fluent/Native, Written: Fluent/Native];
- Polish [Spoken:Fluent/Native, Written: Advanced];
- English [Spoken:Fluent/Native, Written: Fluent/Native];
- French [Spoken: Advanced, Written: Advanced, ‘French Immersion’ primary & secondary education];
- Spanish [Spoken: Intermediate, Written: Intermediate];
- Russian [Spoken: Basic /Working Knowledge, Written: Working Knowledge/Intermediate].
I am a regular contributor to and my research has appeared in/I have appeared on ABC, BBC, BloombergTV, CBC, Channel Four, CTV, ITV, National Public Radio, Radio Free Europe, Sky News, Al Jazeera, AFP, Hromadske TV, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Telegraph, The Financial Times, Foreign Policy, The Independent, the International Business Times, El Pais, The Monocle, and Reuters.