I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Monash University, where I serve as Deputy Director for the Master of International Relations (MIR) program and the Global Terrorism Research Centre (GTReC). I teach graduate courses on contemporary security topics and political violence issues. I am also a Research Affiliate with the Gender, Peace and Security (GPS) Centre and the Better Governance and Policy research hub.  

My general research interests include political violence and terrorism, human security, militias, contentious politics, civility, and network analysis. I have worked as a researcher on collaborative projects related to nonviolent political change, global transnational terrorism, and militant violence. I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver between 2014 and 2016. In that position I conducted research for projects on nonviolent action in violent settings.” My current book project, “Between Two Fires: Narratives, Wartime Violence, and Civilian Self-Defense”, examines violence practices and the origins of self-defense forces in Peru. I have carried out extensive fieldwork in the Ayacucho and Junín regions of Peru between 2011 and 2022. The dissertation version received the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI) 2017 award for Best Doctoral Dissertation in the Field of Terrorism and Counterterrorism Studies. My most recent research has taken me to Peru and the Phillipines to carry out surveys and conduct interviews with self-defense force committees (CADs) and Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) participants, as well as to the U.S. to investigate civilian border protection groups. I was co-PI for the project Civic Virtue in Public Life: Understanding and Countering Incivility in Liberal Democracies (2019-2021) funded by the Templeton Religion Trust. 

I earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Washington in 2016 with specialization in international relations, comparative politics, and methodology. I have an M.A. in political science from both the University of Washington and San Diego State University. I earned a B.A. in economics from the University of California San Diego where I spent one year studying at the University of Barcelona, Spain. I grew up in San Diego, California. I have a passion for travel and have visited nearly forty countries around the globe. I am an avid surfer, snowboarder, hiker, and photographer. 

email: stevezech@gmail.com
google scholar: click here