Nicholas Rush Smith​

Nicholas Rush Smith is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York – City College and a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Johannesburg.

His research utilizes qualitative methods to examine how democratic states use violence to produce order and why citizens sometimes use violence to challenge that order. Based on approximately twenty months of ethnographic and archival research, his first book, Contradictions of Democracy: Vigilantism and Rights in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Oxford University Press, 2019), explored these themes through the lens of crime, policing, and vigilantism in South Africa. The book won the 2020 Distinguished Book Award in the Sociology of Law from the American Sociological Association, the 2020 Best Book Award from the African Politics Group of the American Political Science Association (co-winner), and an Honorable Mention for the Charles Taylor Book Award from the Interpretive Methodologies and Methods Related Group of the American Political Science Association.

With Erica S. Simmons, he has also written about the intersection of comparative and ethnographic methods, co-editing Rethinking Comparison: Innovative Methods for Qualitative Political Inquiry (Cambridge University Press, 2021), among other publications. His work has also been published in African Affairs, American Journal of Sociology, Comparative Politics, Perspectives on Politics, Polity, PS: Political Science and Politics, and Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, among other outlets.