• Technological Evolution and Political Sociology (Science & Technology Studies)
  • Data Governance
  • Privacy (Theory and Comparative Regulation)


Ryan Biava is a comparative political scientist trained in the United States and France specializing in the interaction between technological evolution and the power relations within and between countries. He has served as senior policy, research, and strategic advisor to several public-sector organizations — including the Seattle Office of the Mayor and that city’s municipal electric utility — planning and leading complex transformation initiatives.

Dr. Biava’s doctoral dissertation, “The Comparative Politics of Privacy: Ideas, Institutions & Information,” focused on the clash between emerging technologies, societal institutions, and political ideologies. In it, he explained the divergent political response to mounting privacy threats posed by internet-era technologies in three Western, liberal-democratic states (the United States, Canada, and France) through the dual lenses of political institutions and political culture.

In 2019, he and Prof. Jan Whittington (College of Built Environments) developed and launched a graduate-level, interdisciplinary course entitled “Technologies of the City,” incorporating information studies, urban planning, law, ethics, and municipal policy and administration.

Dr. Biava’s most recent professional work and academic research is in the electric-power and energy sectors, where his interests center on the convergence of three factors: technology (e.g., distributed energy resources, blockchain-enabled energy trading); industrial organization and politics (e.g., market restructuring, power grid access and control); and society (e.g., adaptation to climate change, sociology of energy).


  • Ph D, Political Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2014
  • MA, International Affairs, Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), 2003
  • BA, Political Science, University of Washington, 2001

Publications and Contributions

  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    A Framework for Analyzing and Comparing Privacy States (2014)
    Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, 65(12), pp. 2422-2431 Authors: Alan Rubel, Ryan Biava
  • PhD Dissertation
    The Comparative Politics of Privacy: Ideas, Institutions & Information (2014)
    Author: Ryan Biava
  • Conference Poster
    Network Maps and Congressional Frames: Analyzing Bill Titles as a Field of Conflict (2013)
    Proceedings of the iConference Author: Ryan Biava


  • The Comparative Politics of Privacy: Describing & Comparing Privacy States Across Time & Place (2017)
    Research Symposium, iSchool, University of Washington - Seattle, WA
  • Information Technology: The Life of the Party? (2012)
    American Political Parties & Politics course, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison - Madison, WI
  • Media, Technology & Political Life (2012)
    Introduction to American Government & Politics course, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison - Madison, WI