Aliza Luft

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

Office  291 Haines Hall
Phone  310-206-2724
My research focuses on the causes and consequences of violence, moral judgment and decision-making, and how social and behavioral boundaries are constituted and change.

These interests are reflected in my current book project as well as my published papers and ongoing research. First, I study wartime defection, or how people shift stances from support for state violence to resistance and saving behaviors within the same violent episode. Second, I investigate the relationship between social boundaries and political behaviors, with a specific interest in how racial, ethnic, and religious cleavages inform and are transformed by extreme violence such as genocide. Third, I analyze the relationship between cultural cognition and social perception at the micro-level of decision-making on violence. Here, I focus on how timing influences cognitive adaptation to violence and how shifts in social perception mediate this process. To view my publications, or learn more about my book, please visit


Ph.D., Sociology, University of Wisconsin - Madison (Ph.D. Minor in Political Science).

M.S., Sociology, University of Wisconsin - Madison.

M.A., Education, University of California-Berkeley (Emphasis in Human Development).

B.A., Sociology, History, Religion, Bates College, Lewiston, ME.