Michael Weaver received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University in 2016.
His research examines how the legitimacy of state and non-state violence is produced and contested as well as the causes and consequences of ethnic and racial violence. He is working on a book that addresses the question of how violence becomes publicly unacceptable by examining why public support for lynching gave way to outrage and opprobrium around the turn of the 20th century. The argument of the book is that the expansion of publicity in two dimensions—reach and inclusivity—undermines justifications for violence upheld by local elites. In the case of lynching, communication networks produced by the expansion of railroad and telegraph thrust news of the killings onto a national stage, reaching new audiences that did not share in the justifications made by Southern whites, and, at the same time, provided new opportunities for African Americans to articulate counter-narratives that condemned lynching. This project makes use of novel data on the coverage of lynching in more than 9 million newspaper issues between 1880 and 1940 as well as data on the expansion of railroads across the United States.
His next projects look at the role veterans played in transforming the racial order in the United States following the Civil War. Michael's work has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Political Science.