Korbel Research Seminar Series

The Korbel Research Seminar Series was previously called the Sié Research Seminar and was supported, in part, by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Currently, the Korbel Research Seminar (KRS) Series is supported by the Korbel Office for Research and Academic Affairs. This is a forum for discussion of works in progress among Ph.D. students, faculty and researchers. Its aim is to establish an ongoing exchange between members of the Korbel community and innovative researchers from other institutions. Attendees read the papers in advance and provide constructive feedback for presenters. 

  • 2020

    March 12, 2020

    Abigail Kabandula, Adjunct Faculty at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies & Reseacher at the Pardee Center for International Futures


    March 5, 2020

    Katharine Mach, Associate Professor University of Miami at the Rosentiel School


    February 27, 2020

    Dale Rothman, Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    February 20, 2020

    Rafael Ioris, Associate Professor at University of Denver & Affiliated faculty at the Latin American Center


    February 13, 2020

    Singumbe Muyeba, Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    February 6, 2020

    Greg Phillips, PhD Candidate at UC San Diego


    January 30, 2020

    Micheline Ishay, Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    January 23, 2020

    Isigi Kadagi, Postdoctoral Fellowt the Sié Center and Secure Fisheries


    January 16, 2020

    Dogus Aktan, PhD Candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies

  • 2019

    November 14, 2019

    Emily Scott, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sié Center and Oxfam America


    November 7, 2019

    William Akoto, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sié Center and One Earth Future


    October 31, 2019

    Jonathon Moyer, Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies & Director of the Pardee Center for International Futures


    October 24, 2019

    Carla Norrlof, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto


    October 17, 2019

    Krista Wiegand, Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee


    October 10, 2019

    Sooyeon Kang, PhD Candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    October 3, 2019

    Travis Curtice, Peace Scholar Fellow at the United States Insitute of Peace & PhD Candidate at Emory University


    September 26, 2019

    Laura Hosman, PhD Candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    September 19, 2019

    Frank Laird, Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    September 12, 2019

    Deborah Avant, Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    May 30, 2019

    Marina Henke, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University


    May 23, 2019

    Joe Donnelly, Andrew Mellon Professor and John Evans Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    May 16, 2019

    David Goldfischer, Associate Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    May 9, 2019

    Gina Reynolds, Visiting Teaching Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    April 4, 2019

    Maria Lotito, PhD Candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    April 11, 2019

    Micheline Ishay, Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    April 18, 2019

    Jonathan Moyer, Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures


    February 21, 2019

    Laura Hosman, PhD Candidate and Research Fellow at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies & Tricia Olsen, Assistant Dean for Research and Academic Affairs; Associate Professor, Business Ethics & Legal Studies; Marcus Faculty Fellow


    February 14, 2019

    Paul Kemp, PhD Candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    January 31, 2019

    Austin Carson , Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago

    War crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s led to a chorus of calls for punishment of the perpetrators. Accountability advocates hoped to use international law to
    provide justice for the victims, deter future war crimes, and facilitate peace. A key challenge, however, was obtaining conclusive evidence. Locating mass graves and documenting
    who gave specific orders was often only possible by resorting to national intelligence agencies. Photos from satellites or signals intercepts, in some instances, could furnish evidence of
    wrongdoing and facilitate the international community's pursuit of justice. Yet disclosing intelligence carried a high cost: doing so could inform Serbia and other governments about sensitive intelligence collection methods. Germany's release of drone-based photographs demonstrated these dangers, "tipping [the Serbs] off to return to the killing fields and destroy the mass graves in order to remove and scatter the evidence." The risks of revealing
    intelligence meant the international community soon "found itself hampered by a lack of information about the Yugoslav high command that only government agencies can supply."


    January 24, 2019

    Barry Hughes, John Evans Professor and Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures


    January 17, 2019

    George DeMartino, Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies


    January 10, 2019

    Juliana Restrepo Sanin, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sié Center for International Security and Diplomacy

  • 2018

    November 8, 2018

    Marie Berry, Assistant Professor at the Korbel School of International Studies 

    Scholarship on women in war often focuses on the devastating and disproportionate toll that conflict wreaks on the lives of women. Less studied are the openings and opportunities that frequently follow war, derived from its potential to disrupt gender power relations and open spaces for institutional reform (Berry 2018; Hughes 2009; Tripp 2015). This project compares and evaluates women's empowerment interventions that followed war in 10 countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia, DR Congo, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, and Uganda. At the core of our research is a simple question: who benefits from postwar gender reforms? We map new opportunities for women and sexual and gender minorities that have emerged after war by evaluating laws, policies, and the experiences of individuals side-by-side. Critically, we explore the conditions under which the implementation of gender egalitarian reforms can reinforce existing socio-political cleavages, aggravate conflict-era fissures, and/or serve politically expedient goals—all processes which ensue that some women gain while others remain sidelined. Through the compilation of a dataset of postwar gender reforms and fieldwork in each of the 10 cases, this project ultimately aims to develop empirically-rich theories of gender instrumentalism and intersectional empowerment.


    November 1, 2018

    Michael Horowitz, Professor of Political Science and the Associate Director of Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania

    The potential for advances in information-age technologies to undermine nuclear deterrence and influence the potential for nuclear escalation represents a critical question for international politics. One challenge is that uncertainty about the trajectory of technologies such as autonomous systems and artificial intelligence (AI) makes assessments difficult. This paper evaluates the relative impact of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence in three areas: nuclear command and control, uninhabited nuclear delivery vehicles, and conventional applications of autonomous systems with consequences for nuclear stability. The results demonstrate that significant automation in existing nuclear command and control systems means the relative consequences of AI in that arena will likely be limited. On the other hand, the potential for uninhabited nuclear delivery vehicles could substantially raise the prospect for accidents and miscalculation. Moreover, conventional military applications of autonomous systems could influence nuclear force postures and first strike stability in previously unanticipated ways. In particular, the need to fight at machine speed and the cognitive risk introduced by automation bias could influence the incentives for escalation. Finally, used properly, there should be many applications of more autonomous systems in nuclear operations that can increase reliability, reduce the risk of accidents, and buy more time for decision-makers in a crisis.


    October 25, 2018

    Brian O'Neill and the Pardee Center, Pardee Center Director of Research and Professor at the Korbel School of International Studies


    October 18, 2018

    Kai Thaler, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sié Center for International Security and Diplomacy

    In civil wars, predatory, violent rebel groups sometimes gain the support of politically-motivated individuals or groups who should, by outside appearances, logically oppose the rebels. I explain this counterintuitive result through a principal-agent logic in which rebel leaders (the agents) pander to aggrieved civilian populations (the principals), presenting themselves as in sympathy with and providing solutions to grievances, even if the leaders are purely self-interested. Leaders take advantage of an information asymmetry about their true preferences to gain allegiance using cheap sociopolitical appeals, rather than more costly material incentives. Strategic pandering is particularly useful for opportunistic leaders pursuing private political-economic interests and for ideologically-motivated, but highly violent groups. For civilians with anti-state grievances, mobilization may be rational even if rebel leaders are insincere, due to the ability to take up arms against the government and to the threat of violence by both state and rebels. I inductively developed the theory through a case study of Renamo, a predatory, foreign-sponsored proxy group in Mozambique that pandered to rural populations with grievances against state repression of traditional life to gain a voluntary domestic constituency. I then test the generalizability of the logic through two case studies—drawing on interviews, archival materials, and secondary sources—of the Nicaraguan FDN, a proxy group similar to Renamo, and the NPFL in Liberia, which developed independently. The article explicates a previously undertheorized phenomenon in the study of rebel recruitment and mobilization. I demonstrate how apparent popular support for rebels may be more tenuous than it appears, creating openings for peacemaking and counterinsurgency efforts.


    October 11, 2018

    Pamina Firchow, Assistant Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University

    Several policy and scholarly efforts are underway to reevaluate the current use of indicators for evaluation and measurement in peacebuilding, human rights and governance. Policymakers, practitioners and scholars working in these areas have come to the conclusion that current top-down indicators are not sufficient for both measurement and monitoring and evaluation purposes (Firchow 2018; Merry 2016; Schaffer 1998). This insufficiency has to do in large part with the difficulty of measuring concepts related to social life such as peace (Schaffer 2016). As a result, scholars have called for more bottom-up and representative indicators of difficult to define concepts such as peace, arguing that measurement validity necessitates the inclusion of local voices (Merry 2016; Schaffer 2016; Willis 2017; Holt 2013). However, indicators generated from the bottom-up necessarily provide a highly localized lens. As such, they speak less to the regional context in which those localities reside. They also cannot be used as tools to advocate on behalf of people vis-à-vis governments because indicators collected at such a local level are inherently different than top-down indicators. They are often anecdotal or point to specific issues in a locality rather than identifying more general trends, and are therefore more useful for programmatic planning and evaluation purposes. They also only allow us to draw conclusions about the localities in which the indicators were collected. If, however, a method of scaling up these local level indicators could be devised, allowing for a higher level of analysis that is representative of larger populations, then bottom-up indicators could be widely leveraged by policymakers and practitioners. The goal of this paper is to establish a methodology by which a set of locally-sourced indicators can be applied in a wider set of communities, thus rendering the data gathered using bottom-up indicators representative of larger populations and more comparable to existing top-down indices and barometers.


    October 4, 2018

    Christopher Shay, Ph.D. Candidate at the Korbel School of International Studies


    September 27, 2018

    Kara Neu, Adjunct Professor at the Korbel School of International Studies


    September 20, 2018

    Tom Farer, University Professor at the Korbel School of International Studies


    September 13, 2018

    Nader Hashemi, Director for the Center on Middle East Studies and Associate Professor at the Korbel School of International Studies


    Transatlantic Cooperation on Terrorism and Islamist Radicalisation in Africa: The Franco–Amerian Axis

    May 24, 2018
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1108

    Gorm Rye Olsen, Professor of Global Politics at the Institute of Society and Globalization, Roskilde University, Denmark

    Transatlantic cooperation on security has a long history. In Africa, transatlantic cooperation on security is basically between France and the United States. This paper asks why the two former competitors in Africa started to cooperate and also why they are so willing to engage militarily. The central argument in this paper poses that France and the US cooperate because it is indispensable to both parties. To France, the cooperation is indispensable because the US is the only power with sufficient financial means and with sufficient air-lift capacity to transport French and African troops into conflict-ridden countries. To Washington, cooperation with Paris is indispensable because the French authorities have unique access to intelligence and knowledge about large parts of Africa. By applying a foreign policy analysis framework, the paper analyses how perceptions of decision-makers, the role of personality and leadership, the role of government institutions and political systems have impacted the relevant decisions. It is emphasized that the two different decision-making systems – the French "state dominated" and the American "society dominated" – produce the same result, namely collaboration. It suggests that the perception of a serious threat from terrorism and Islamist radicalization overrules differences in decision-making systems.


    Changing Motivations or Capabilities? Migration Deterrence in the Global Context

    May 3, 2018
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Katherine Tennis, Teaching Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, with Kelsey Norman, Postdoctoral Fellow the Sié Center for International Security and Diplomacy, University of Denver

    Over the last thirty-five years, Western liberal democracies have exerted more control over their borders through an array of innovative migration control practices. Scholars have taken stock of these efforts and referred to them collectively as "deterrence" measures, ignoring the fact that deterrence is an established concept with a focused definition and meaning. We argue that in the context of migration, the concept of deterrence has been stretched beyond meaningful parameters. In order to restore conceptual clarity and develop a more useful framework, we build on the fourth wave of deterrence literature and apply its insights to these new migration control practices. We construct a theoretically-informed typology that differentiates between deterrence policies, which aim to change the motivations of migrants, and defense policies, which change migrants' capabilities, while also differentiating between the timing and location of the interventions. We then elaborate on each category of policy with examples drawn from various geographic regions and propose a framework for expanding this analysis through a systematic exploration of global practices.


    From Violent Capital to Social Capital? Ex-Combatant Networks in Eastern Congo

    April 12, 2018
    12:00 p.m. Si´Complex 1108

    Zoe Marks, Chancellor's Fellow and Lecturer at the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh

    Surviving war – whether within or outside an armed group – is a deeply social process. Yet, leading theories of post-conflict peacebuilding only vaguely engage with the complex relationships and group dynamics that shape people's lives through war. This paper presents a relational approach to measuring "post-conflict" integration at the individual and group level using new data on the social networks of active and de-mobilized combatants and civilians in Eastern Congo. We examine how armed group affiliation, gender, and mobilization status shape social support networks. Working with a team of Congolese enumerators, we collected original data on the networks and personal war experiences of over 300 members of three armed group aggregations in DRC: regional rebels, local militias, and state security forces, alongside never-mobilized civilians. We find that ex-combatants have significantly different patterns of social support and cohesion than civilians living in the same communities. Our gender-disaggregated analysis sheds light on how self-reinforcing mobilization and socialization pathways can affect social and economic wellbeing and collective peacebuilding in mixed communities. We argue that patterns of bonding and brokerage that support fighters during war persist after war, sustaining mobilization and putting community-level integration at odds with individual reintegration. These findings have valuable policy implications for designing DDR, SSR, and peacebuilding programs that account for underlying formal and informal social networks. We hope the project also sets an agenda for more multilevel data collection and analysis in conflict and peacebuilding processes.


    The Long March: Contentious Mobilization & Deep Democracy

    February 22, 2018
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    M. Ali Kadivar, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Watson Institute, Brown University

    Over the last several decades, dozens of authoritarian regimes have fallen and been replaced by formal democracies. These new democracies are not all of identical quality. Some have made substantially greater progress than others towards deepening democratic institutions. We argue that prolonged unarmed contentious mobilization prior to transition drives democratic progress in each of these five dimensions. Mobilization matters because it generates a new, democratically-oriented political elite and because it furnishes non-elites with the capacity for autonomous collective action. In panel regressions spanning the 1950 to 2010 period and using original data, we show that the duration of anti-authoritarian mobilization is a significant and consistent predictor of subsequent democratic deepening. To illustrate the mechanisms, we present a historical analysis of democratic transition in Brazil. This case study shows how both political elites and non-elite collective actors, emboldened by prolonged mobilization, drove the deepening of democracy post-transition.


    Rwanda Case Study: Localizing Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda

    February 8, 2018
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Yolande Bouka, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sié Center for International Security and Diplomacy, University of Denver

    Following civil war and genocide in 1994, Rwanda established one of the most expansive transitional justice projects in Africa. The new government, led by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), centered its transitional justice efforts on reconciliation through a modern adaptation of a traditional conflict resolution mechanism, while holding all who participated in genocide criminally accountable. As a Tutsi minority-led party that came to power by defeating the previous Hutu regime, the RPF had the daunting task of restoring peace and security while attempting to legitimize its control of the state. While the transitional justice project incorporated international norms of personal accountability and punishment of genocide crimes, it also served another purpose: it allowed the RPF to entrench its political control. Between 1996 and 2012 Rwanda prosecuted well over one million genocide suspects in two million cases, most of which took place in gacaca courts at the village level under the supervision of the central government. As we seek to understand the impact of Rwanda's transitional justice on peacebuilding, this article argues that this exercise cannot be divorced from analysis of the RPF's political imperatives in the design and implementation of the legal framework. This report explores how and why the RPF co-opted international norms to achieve its peacebuilding objectives while buttressing its legitimacy. It argues that other laws and institutions buttressed gacaca to achieve peace and reconciliatory objectives. It also emphasizes that violence and coercion during the transition played an essential role in Rwandans' participation in transitional justice. Finally, it argues that at the community level, local dynamics impacted how justice was rendered and, at times, yielded outcomes that ran counter to national and international peacebuilding goals.


    How Government Reactions to Violence Worsen Social Welfare: Evidence from Peru

    January 25, 2018
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Michael Findley, Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin

    Dissident violence inflicts direct harm on civilians. The longest-lasting consequences may be indirect, however, due to the government's response. We explore how government engagement following dissident violence affects social welfare, specifically through budgetary shifts. Using new subnational violence and government budgeting data for Peru, we demonstrate that attacks on soldiers during the budget negotiation period drive a shift from local health to defense spending. One soldier killed implies a shift of 1.1 percent out of local health budgets (2008–2012). Health budget cuts due to a single soldier casualty result in 67 predicted additional infant deaths two years later. We show that the effect on health budgeting operates through decreases in women's use of health facilities and postnatal services. We offer evidence that Peru's coercive response indirectly harms civilians due to butter-to-guns budgetary shifts. Our results identify a budgetary mechanism that translates dissident violence into a deterioration in social welfare.

  • 2017

    Mobilizing Non-Nationals in Mena Host States: Egypt and Morocco in Comparison

    November 9, 2017
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Kelsey Norman, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sié Center for International Security and Diplomacy, University of Denver

    Scholarly work on migration to Europe and North America asserts that states adopt liberal migration policies when migrants are able to mobilize and capitalize on political opportunities. To what extent does this explanation for migrant or refugee mobilization transfer to the Global South where illiberal state structures might be in place, thereby constraining certain political behaviors? This paper examines mobilization among migrant and refugee populations residing in post-revolutionary Middle East and North Africa (MENA) host states, using Egypt and Morocco as exploratory cases. These two MENA countries host migrant and refugee diaspora populations from both sub-Saharan Africa as well as other Middle Eastern countries, and both states can be classified as having illiberal government systems in place, yet migrants and refugees have been able to mobilize to a far greater extent in Morocco than in Egypt. What explains this variation? Drawing primarily on semi-structured interviews conducted with government officials, civil society actors and individual migrants and refugees in Egypt and Morocco, this paper uses a political opportunity and neo-institutionalist framework to examine the formal and informal rules that constrain or permit certain political behaviors among diaspora populations in each host state. The findings of this paper address the question of whether explanations for migration policy reform derived from the experiences of Global North host states travel to the Global South, and also contribute to understandings of whether and how the political mobilization of non-nationals takes place in illiberal spaces.

    Anarchy Emergent? Political Collapse in the Shadow of Hierarchy

    October 26, 2017
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Bridget Coggins, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara

    Nearly 25 years have passed since the term, "failed state" was coined by Helman and Ratner (1992). Though volumes and volumes have been written on the topic and policies have been implemented to address them, many of the most important issues regarding failure remain unresolved. One of the most pressing is, "are failed states a significant source of international insecurity?" After an extensive study using new cross-national data to identify broad patterns and detailed case studies to investigate the causal mechanism connecting domestic anarchy to threat, I demonstrate that state failure is not very threatening. Failed states are fewer in number, and their negative externalities less frequent or acute, than many believe. Instead, failure's most pernicious effect on international politics was entirely unanticipated and is rooted in outsiders' response, not in failure itself. The failed state discourse is eroding external sovereignty. Weak states' borders may be "fixed" in the contemporary world, but non-traditional threats have now given strong states virtual carte blanche to intervene there. Further, if political leaders' steadfast belief that threat inheres in failure cannot be undone, they will increasingly involve themselves in unnecessary, expensive, and possibly self-defeating, military interventions.


    Checkpoints, Connections and Resistance: Freedom-of-Moement Restrictions and Civilian Preference for Militancy

    October 9, 2017

    Emily Gade, Visiting Scholar at the Sié Center for International Security and Diplomacy, University of Denver


    Nation Building

    October 5, 2017

    Andreas Wimmer, Lieber Professor of Sociology and Political Philosophy at Columbia University


    Biting the Hand That Feeds? External Support, Population Dependence and Rebel Groups' Portfolio of Killings

    May 25, 2017
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Margherita Begioioso, Ph.D. Student at the University of Essex

    What motivates some rebel group to seek cooperation with local populations rather than using them as a target for coercive purposes? Whatexplain the variation in the portfolio of killings across rebel groups? This study implements and actor oriented approach toexplain how different types of non-state actors transnational support affect rebel groups' relative allocation betweenterrorist and conventional violence. Rebels receiving fungible financial support are less likely to target civilians than combatants. Rebels haveincentive to invest financial support domestically rather than internationally. This is more economically efficient and it maximizes the possibility to secure less volatile resources from the population in the future. In turn, increased rebel dependency on local population generates incentives to restrain the use of terrorism. Rebels receiving military support are more likely to target more civilians than combatants. Military resources are efficiently invested in warfare activities without the need to increase reliance on the population and it is hard to convert military resources in assets to be invested in future, less volatile returns from the population. I model rebel groups' portfolio of killings as a proportion of terrorist-related deaths and battle-related deaths. The empirics support all the hypotheses and are consistent with the argument that the counterproductive effects of terrorism offset its tactical advantages when rebels depend on local population.


    May 11, 2017

    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Jessica Maves Braithwaite, Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Arizona

    Please contact sie.center@du.edu to request a copy of the paper.


    April 13, 2017

    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    James Robinson, Reverend Dr. Richard L. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict and Faculty Director at the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts, University of Chicago

    This seminar was co-sponsored by the Latin America Center.

    Please contact sie.center@du.edu to request a copy of the paper.


    Politics After War: The Peacebuilder's Dilemma with (Limited) Evidence from Rwanda and Côte d'Ivoire

    April 6, 2017
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Scott Straus, Professor of Political Science and International Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison

    After civil wars, trust in institutions is a pervasive problem. Wars erode legitimacy, given the commission of wartime violence by authorities, the wartime prevalence of criminal processes, and the nature of fractured sovereignty in war. Closing the legitimacy gap is key to building a durable peace. The paper develops the concept of the "peacebuilder's dilemma" to capture this problem. Ruling after war almost always requires authorities to govern populations that were previously aligned with enemies. Persuading former opposition areas to accept the legitimacy of the government, I contend, is key to restoring confidence in institutions and ultimately to building a durable peace. Yet solving the problem is exceedingly difficult because governments after war must satisfy the coalitions that are responsible for putting them in power, coalitions that could in turn remove them from power. Governments also are concerned that if they grant too much power to their former enemies the latter will overthrow them. In the context of scarce resources and fragile security environments, peacebuilders tend to reward their own constituencies, thereby deepening the legitimacy problem and failing to build a durable peace. In the paper, I unpack the legitimacy problem as it applies to post-civil war states, define the peacebuilder's dilemma, drawing on recent literature, and illustrate the arguments through limited evidence from Côte d'Ivoire and Rwanda.

    Please contact sie.center@du.edu to request a copy of the paper.


    Irregular Regime Transitions and Democratization

    March 9, 2017
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 3110

    Evan Perkoski, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

    The existing scholarship on irregular regime transitions tends to explore the causes and consequences of each variant in isolation of the others. There is a distinct literature for coups, for uprisings, and for foreign-imposed regime change. This article proposes a theoretical framework that ties these various transitions together. We do this by investigating how the size of the coalition that brings a leader to power --- the transitional coalition --- combined with the presence or absence of outside influence affects the prospects for democratization. Irregular transitions involving large transitional coalitions are the most likely to result in democratic gains. The opposite is true for transitions with small coalitions. External influence can be a mixed blessing, exerting a democratizing effect in some contexts and an autocratic effect in others. Analyzing the universe of successful irregular regime transitions since 1955, we find strong support for our theoretical claims. These findings advance understanding of the major drivers and inhibitors of democratization following irregular transitions.


    How Does International Intervention Work? Mechanisms for Securing Peace Settlements in Civil Conflicts

    March 2, 2017
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Aila Matanock, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley

    There is emerging consensus that international intervention can secure peace by helping combatants overcome commitment problems following civil wars. But how do interveners accomplish this? Common wisdom suggests that intervention primarily works through coercion. We theorize an alternative mechanism: monitoring and conditioning incentives on compliance with peace processes. Despite a rich literature on intervention, little effort has been made to systematically identify and test the underlying mechanisms. This paper takes a first step toward this end, using cross-national data on United Nations peacekeeping and case evidence on El Salvador. Contrary to common wisdom, our analysis suggests that coercion is neither frequently employed nor necessary to overcome commitment problems, particularly in post-conflict settings. Conditional incentives are effective in prolonging peace — in fact, even when controlling for potential selection effects, they are more consistently correlated with less risk of conflict recurrence than coercion. This research has important implications for external efforts to secure peace in civil conflicts worldwide.


    Religious Authority and the Promotion of Tolerance: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Pakistan

    February 16, 2017
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Michael Kalin, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

    Can messages from religious elites reduce intergroup prejudice and promote social norms conducive to conflict resolution? We carry out a survey experiment in two regions in Pakistan where sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shias has claimed hundreds of lives in recent years. By experimentally manipulating the endorsement of messages by religious clerics, we estimate how the sectarian affiliation and political involvement of religious authorities affects their ability to influence popular perceptions of Shia-Sunni relations. Contrary to expectations from the literature on Islamic authority and the persuasive power of religious elites, but in line with the mixed results from recent experimental studies, we find that Sunni respondents are unresponsive to religious endorsements with limited support for a cosectarian treatment effect of Shia clerics on Shia respondents.


    Transparency Trap: Global Development and the Politics of Open Data

    January 26, 2017
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Catherine Weaver, Associate Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin

    Over the past decade, the aid transparency movement has promised tremendous dividends for global development. Greater openness in the $350 billion aid industry is widely expected to yield better decision-making and management of scarce resources, more inclusive and accountable development processes, and ultimately more effective aid to improve the lives of the world's poor. After nearly seventy year of aid working in a black box, how has the international community managed to make aid transparency happen? And has aid transparency worked? Do we in fact see today persuasive evidence of real demand for, use and impact of this open data, as aspired in the movement's powerful theory of change? Transparency Traps draws from over 400 interviews, fieldwork in eight countries, and participant observation in the international aid transparency movement between 2010–2016. In this book manuscript (in progress), Dr. Kate Weaver examines the burgeoning gap between the supply and the demand and use of open aid data, exposing the looming risks of aid's "transparency traps."

    In this presentation, Dr. Weaver focused on chapter three of her manuscript, "Transparency Race: The Aid Transparency Index and the Politics of Global Rankings." This chapter examines the soft power of global ratings and rankings in international politics, focusing on the role of Publish What You Fund's Aid Transparency Index in driving donor compliance towards emerging aid transparency norms and standards. Specifically, the paper delineates three key pathways to the ATI's influence: peer naming and shaming amongst aid agencies, the reduction of uncertainty and information asymmetries that clarify reform goals and introduce the shadow of (if not actual) principal oversight and control, and participatory processes of monitoring and review that enhance organizational learning and policy diffusion. Ironically, at the same time that the ATI may be having a discernibly positive effect on increasing the global supply of aid transparency, its push towards donor convergence may be introducing a form of commensuration (Espeland and Saunders 2007) that is enabling aid transparency's traps.

  • 2016

    Pacifism and the Ethical Imagination in International Relations

    October 17, 2016
    5:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Richard Jackson, Deputy Director at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago

    The aim of this article is to explore why pacifist theory is neglected as a potential resource for thinking about the use of force and the protection of the vulnerable in IR, particularly when it deals directly with all the main issues involved. More specifically, it explores some of the consequences of excluding pacifist perspectives, and discusses how pacifist theory can expand the ethical horizons of debate over how to respond to violent threats in IR. My conclusion is that pacifism is currently a form of "subjugated knowledge" within IR, but taking pacifism seriously could help to expand the ethical imagination and range of policy options in considerations about civilian protection, among others. Moreover, investing in the exploration of pacifist approaches has the potential to go beyond short-term protection measures in violent conflicts, taking us instead towards the goal of breaking the long-term cycles of violence which perpetuate vulnerability in the first instance.


    Threat Perception and American Support for Torture

    October 13, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Courtenay Conrad, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Merced

    Can public opinion constrain democratic governments from engaging in torture? The authors argue that perceptions of threat undermine the extent to which American public opinion is a strong bulwark against government torture. Although surveys demonstrate that a slim majority of the American public generally opposes torture, the authors show that Americans are considerably more supportive of abuse when it is directed at individuals who they perceive as threatening: when the detainee has an Arabic name, when the alleged crime is terrorism, and when an intelligence agency is responsible for the interrogation of a detainee. The results underscore the importance of institutional protections of human rights given the malleability of public opinion as a constraint.


    Policing Ethnicity: Lab-in-the-Field Evidence on Discrimination, Cooperation and Ethnic Balancing in the Liberian National Police

    September 22, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Kyle Beardsley, Associate Professor of Political Science at Duke University

    Peace agreements often include provisions for integrating minority ethnic groups into security sector institutions. Advocates argue that "ethnic balancing" reduces discrimination; opponents counter that it erodes unit cohesion. We test these predictions against each other using surveys and lab-in-the-field experiments implemented with teams of Liberian National Police officers. We find that teams that include minority police officers are no more or less cooperative than those that do not, and that heterogeneous teams are no more or less cooperative than homogeneous ones. We also find, however, that teams with minority police officers are more rather than less discriminatory against minority civilians—a substantively large and highly statistically significant adverse effect. We show that this effect is not driven by heterogeneity, but rather by the presence of minority police officers per se. We explore potential mechanisms and provide reasons for both optimism and caution towards ethnic balancing in deeply divided societies.


    If Torture is Wrong, What About 24? Torture and the Hollywood Effect

    May 19, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Joseph Young, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Justice, Law and Criminology at American University

    How do dramatic depictions of counterterrorism practices impact public opinion and policy? Since 9/11, media depictions of these practices have also grown precipitously. Do media depictions impact how the public views torture? This study is a randomized control trial that examines how the framing of torture in pop culture impacts support for this practice. Using a mixed within-subjects and between-subjects design, participants (n = 150) were randomly assigned to a condition for dramatic depictions showing (1) torture as effective, (2) torture is ineffective, or (3) a neutral (control) condition. Participants who saw torture as being effective increased their stated support for it. We also found that participants who saw torture – regardless of whether or not it was effective – were more likely to sign a petition in line with their stated beliefs on torture. These findings may indicate people are more likely to take action about aggressive policies after seeing violence.


    Social Identity and Non-Material Payoffs: A Review

    May 12, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150 (formerly Sié 150)

    Michael Kalin, Ph.D. Candidate at Yale University and Sié Center Visiting Scholar

    What is the existing evidence for non-material payoffs driven by group attachments that we call social identity? When do these matter and for what sorts of behaviors? We highlight findings across political science, ranging from voting and redistribution to violence and conflict, that focus on the non-material, identity-based, motivations for behavior in these domains. Doing so allows us to draw out commonalities across research areas often held in isolation from one another and which frequently employ overlapping terminology. We attempt to summarize important findings, and identify open questions; these include the role played by elites in shaping mass mobilization around identities and the relationship between social identities and social norms.


    The Survival of Militant Splinter Groups

    April 28, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150 (formerly Sié 150)

    Evan Perkoski, Research Fellow at the International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

    When militant groups fragment, why do some emerging organizations survive while others quickly collapse? I argue that characteristics of group breakdown drive the convergence or divergence of preferences within these new organizations, leading to the observed variation in rates of survival. Splinters forming factionally around a shared disagreement or worldview attract a relatively homogeneous core of recruits both from their parent organization and the broader community. On the other hand, splinters forming multidimensionally --absent a clear, shared vision of their organizational trajectory -- attract a more diverse membership base. Militants with strongly aligned preferences for their organizational future are less likely to experience defection, infiltration, and internal feuds, while their cohesion facilitates structural decentralization that further bolsters their resilience. Analyzing a new data set of militant fragmentation, I find strong evidence to support this intuition. In particular, schisms over strategic differences produce new groups that are especially long-lived. The ramifications of this research are significant: while existing studies attest to the influence of internal group preferences, I demonstrate that how militants form|itself a surprisingly understudied topic|strongly shapes their long-term trajectory including the odds that preferences diverge or converge. This research also refocuses the study of conflict fragmentation on individual groups (and particular schisms), showing that how conflicts become fragmented is an important consideration. Finally, and to the potential benefit of policymakers, this project sheds light on a particularly threatening subset of militant groups. However, the results do call into question the utility, and indeed the conventional wisdom, of fragmentation as a counterinsurgency strategy.


    Truth Replaced by Silence: A Field Experiment on Private Censorship in Russia

    April 21, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150

    Christopher Fariss, Jeffrey L. Hyde and Sharon D. Hyde with the Political Science Board of Visitors' Early Career Professor in Political Science at Penn State University

    Through highly visible acts of repression, authoritarian regimes can send informative signals to private actors about what types of speech are off-limits and might draw the punitive attention of the state. These acts not only encourage private actors to censor themselves but also to censor other private actors, a behavior we refer to as regime-induced private censorship. Our paper is the first to provide systematic empirical evidence on the extent and targets of such censorship behavior. We use a field experiment conducted throughout the Russian Federation in September 2014 to investigate the private censorship behavior of private media firms. The results suggest that private actors censor the messages of other private actors when those messages include anti-regime language, calls for collective action, or both. These results are partially consistent with previous empirical findings in that they show that private actors censor content with a collective action appeal even when the message itself is non-political. Our results, however, build upon previous work by showing that anti-regime messages that do not contain a call for collective action are still censored under some authoritarian regimes. Our results highlight the importance of forms of censorship other than state censorship when discussing repression, dissent, and public opinion formation in authoritarian regimes.

    This seminar was co-sponsored by the Human Trafficking Center.


    Expanding Governance as Development: Evidence on Child Nutrition in the Philippines

    April 7, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 1150 (formerly Sié 150)

    Eli Berman, Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego

    Worldwide, extreme poverty is often concentrated in spaces where people and property are not safe enough to sustain effective markets, and where development assistance is dangerous – and might even induce violence. Expanding governance by coercively taking control of territory may enable markets and development programs, but costs to local residents may exceed benefits, especially if that expansion is violent. We estimate for the first time whether a large counterinsurgency program improves welfare. We exploit the staggered roll-out of the Philippine "Peace and Development Teams" counterinsurgency program, which treated 12% of the population between 2002 and 2010. Though treatment temporarily increased violence, the program progressively reduced child malnutrition: by 10% in the first year, and by 30% from year three onwards. Improved nutritional status was not due to increased health and welfare expenditures, but instead to improved governance. Treatment effects are comparable to those of conventional child health interventions, though conventional programs are likely infeasible in this setting. Rebels apparently react to treatment by shifting to neighboring municipalities, as malnutrition worsens there – with statistically significant 'treatment' effects of similar size. Thus overall program effects are close to zero. These findings invite an evidence-based discussion of governance expansion, an extensive margin of development.


    With Friends Like These: Strategic Interactions Among Ingos

    March 31, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié Complex 3110 (formerly Cherrington room 301)

    Wendy Wong, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director at the Trudeau Centre for Peace, Conflict & Justice, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

    This paper is an offshoot of a bigger book project, where we measure differences in INGO authority using indicators of deference before four audiences: states, corporations, other INGOs, and "the public." In the book, we argue that INGOs working on global advocacy are caught in an "authority trap," which shapes their strategic choices. INGOs with authority across all of these different audiences, those we call "leading INGOs," are are more moderate in their asks and strategies because of a need to balance the needs of all of the audiences to whom they are speaking and therefore, are equally (if not more) concerned with maintaining their status as leading INGOs. INGOs that do not have authority can be as radical as they would like in their asks, but because they have no authority, their demands are bypassed.


    The Structures of International Societies: Formal Differentiation

    March 10, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

     Jack Donnelly

    Jack Donnelly, Andrew Mellon Professor and John Evans Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

    This paper is a chapter from a book ms. that develops a radically new multidimensional conception of the structures of international societies. In the three preceding chapters I argue that the Waltzian tripartite (ordering principle, functional differentiation, distribution of capabilities) conception of structure fails to accurately depict the structure of any international system. This chapter begins to develop and apply an alternative account — a multidimensional structural framework — by looking at differences of form in social positions and their relations. Because the formal arrangement of the parts of a system is often especially well expressed in visual models, I use them extensively.

    The chapter is divided into four principal parts. Sections 5.1 and 5.2 identify two types of polities ("states" and "empires") and four types of international systems ("states systems," "empires," "world states," and "heterarchies"). Sections 5.3-5.7 consider the structural dimensions of centralization, functional differentiation, stratification, and spatio-political organization. Sections 5.8 and 5.9 examine states systems and heterarchies, the two types of international systems with the most immediate contemporary relevance. Sections 5.10-5.13 then step back and reflect on the general character and some of the implications of these models.


    Tactical Diversity in Militant Violence

    February 25, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Phil Potter

    Phil Potter, Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia

    Militant groups, like all organizations, carefully consider the tactics and strategies that they employ. In this article, we assess why some militant organizations diversify into multiple tactics while others limit themselves to just one or a few. This is an important puzzle because militant organizations that employ multiple approaches to violence are more likely to stretch state defenses, achieve tactical success, and threaten state security. We theorize that militant organizations respond to external pressure by diversifying their tactics in order to ensure their survival and continued relevance, and that the primary sources of such pressure are government repression and inter-organizational competition. We find consistent support for these propositions in tests of both the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) and Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior (MAROB) datasets. To address the possible endogeneity of repression and diversification we then confirm these findings in a more fully identified specification that employs ethnic fractionalization as an instrument in a multi-process recursive model. Finally, we demonstrate that organizations that diversify under pressure adopt more disruptive tactics such as hijacking and suicide bombing, rather than devolving into less threatening approaches such as isolated shootings and kidnappings. The policy implication is that while countries cannot anticipate the character of future tactical innovations, they may be able to anticipate which groups will most readily adopt them.


    Rivalry and Revenge: The Politics of Violence in Civil War

    February 18, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Laia Balcells

    Laia Balcells, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duke University

    What explains violence against civilians in civil wars? Why do armed groups use violence in some places but not in neighboring places with similar characteristics? Why do they kill more civilians in some places than in others? More specifically, why do groups kill civilians in areas where they have full military control and their rivals have no military presence? The theoretical argument is that armed groups target civilians who have been politically mobilized by the enemy group, as they perceive threats behind the frontlines. I propose a distinction between indirect and direct violence against civilians, and I argue that the distribution of political loyalties relates differently with respect to each of these types. These differences emanate from their diverging form of production: indirect violence is perpetrated with heavy weapons is unilaterally carried out by the armed group. In contrast, direct violence is perpetrated with small weapons and is produced by armed groups in collaboration with local civilians. Direct (or face-to-face) violence occurs when enemy supporters are located in zones controlled by the armed group, whereas indirect violence occurs when enemy supporters are located in zones controlled by the adversary. When targeting enemy supporters behind enemy lines, the armed group aims to kill as many of them as possible, hence they target locations with high concentrations of enemy supporters. In territory the armed group controls, in contrast, the group must take into account the preferences of its own supporters, whose collaboration is crucial. Group supporters are likely to collaborate in the killing of their neighbors if and only if it is in their own interest to do so, which is the case when eliminating enemy supporters can decisively shift the demographic balance and help them gain or consolidate political control of the locality. Because of the latter, direct violence is likely to occur where the balance between group supporters and enemy supporters is relatively even. Thus, the main prediction in the book is that indirect violence increases with rival supporters' domination of a locality whereas direct violence increases with parity between supporters of the two rival groups.

    The hypotheses are tested with a multi-method empirical strategy. The research design consists of exploring intra-country variation (with large-n sub-national data) of violence during the Spanish civil war (1936–1939) and the Ivorian civil wars (2002–2011), and combining it with additional secondary evidence from other cases in order to provide external validity. For the case studies, I draw on archival and historiographic sources to construct a set of novel databases of victims of lethal violence, pre-war elections results, and geographical and socioeconomic variables. I also us qualitative evidence collected from oral sources and from over a hundred published sources, including general history books, as well as regional and local studies.


    The Political Economy of Territorial Ambitions

    February 4, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Jeff Colgan

    Jeff Colgan, Richard Holbrook Assistant Professor of Political Science and International & Public Affairs at the Watson Institute, Brown University

    The 20th century witnessed a remarkable change in the territorial preferences of powerful states. Empires declined, and advanced states rarely sought to annex or permanently occupy foreign territory, even after overseas military victories. One part of the story is surely the rise of colonial nationalism, but another part of the explanation, less well understood, has to do with changing interests within the advanced states. I argue that two factors help account for this change in territorial preferences: energy modernity and regime type. High energy consumption per capita, relative to 19th century standards, signifies an underlying economic transition that changes the political balance of power away from those who benefit economically from imperialism and toward groups who are more sensitive to its costs. Regime type affects the ease with which domestic groups that would benefit from aggressive imperialism can engage in state capture. When a state is both democratic and energy modern, its preferences for imperialism (long‐term occupation of foreign territories) are likely to be low. When a state is energy traditional, however, a state is likely to have strong territorial preferences even when it is democratic. This theory is tested with a broad historical analysis over the period of 1850–2000, focusing on the six major combatants of World War II: Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Each of these states started with strong imperial preferences, but there is significant variation in the timing of the subsequent change in each state's preferences.


    "Sideshows," a Chapter from the Manuscript, Show Time: The Logic and Power of Violent Display

    January 28, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Lee Ann Fujii

    Lee Ann Fuji, Associate Professor and Associate Chair at the University of Toronto Mississauga

    This book asks what explains violent display. To answer this question, I examine various displays that occurred in three different settings: the Bosnian war, Jim Crow Maryland, and the Rwandan genocide. Not all displays involved what I call "extra-lethal" violence but this chapter focuses exclusively on such displays. The chapter also references two lynching cases that I discuss in previous chapters. One is the lynching of black factory worker, Matthew Williams, that took place in December 1931 in Salisbury, Maryland and the other was the lynching of black farmhand, George Armwood, that took place in October 1933 in Princess Anne, a neighboring town.


    The Effectiveness of Sanctioning Foreign Terrorist Organizations

    January 14, 2016
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Jakana Thomas and Ben Appel

    Ben Appel and Jakana Thomas, Assistant Professors of Political Science at Michigan State University

    Both the UN and the U.S. have sought to disrupt the activity of terrorist groups by enacting economic sanctions against them. While both have devoted significant resources to their sanctions program, very little is known about how this counterterrorism strategy actually influences the activities of targeted terrorist groups. In this study, we examine systematically the impact of U.S. and UN sanctions on both the frequency and severity of terrorist attacks in a cross-national study from 1989–2014. Focusing on a broad array of economic/diplomatic policy tools that may fall under the broad umbrella of sanctions (i.e., seizing/freezing assets, embargos [arms, goods, services], travel bans), we expect that sanctions will curtail terrorist activity. We test our argument on a new data including information on both U.S. and UN sanctions. Using difference-in-differences estimation to account for concerns related to selection effects, we find consistent support for our argument, UN and U.S sanctions reduce both the frequency and severity of terrorist attacks.

  • 2015

    Moral Spaces and Sexual Transgression: The "Event," the "Ordinary" and "Logics" of Sexual Violence in Northern Uganda

    Tuesday, November 17, 2015
    9:30 a.m. Ben Cherrington Hall 141

    Holly Porter, Lead Researdher for Northern Uganda at the Justice and Security Research Programme, London School of Economics

    When it comes to rape in the context of war, evocative language describing rape as a "weapon of war" and the female body as a battlefield is now commonplace. Yet scholars also note the similarities with violence before, during and after conflict, with a key issue being the relationship between rape in war and "normal" male-female relationships -- in other words, between "the event" and "the ordinary." This paper explores these relationships by considering sexual violence in Acholi, northern Uganda. Building on research focusing on forced sex from over seven years of fieldwork, the paper foregrounds the ways sexual violence variously works to continue, exaggerate and/or rupture ³normal² social and gender orderings of Acholi society. However, examining rape and its aftermath solely through the prism of "the event" and "the ordinary" leaves the picture blurry: people carve out moral spaces of agency to assert moral probity, as modes of governance, and as ways of making sense of the choices and actions of themselves and others. Deliberate distinction of space works to separate events from essence and actions from morality. In Acholi, these moral spaces are delineated by temporalities (olden times, the time of war, these days, and a continuous frozen ideal of Acholi life), in turn associated with specific physical localities (the village, the camp, the bush, town, home). By mapping ideas of what constitutes sex and sexual transgression onto these moral spaces, this paper sheds light on the relationship between event and ordinary, rape and war.


    Better the Devil You Know: Why Incumbents Delegate Violence to Ethnic Militias

    Tuesday, November 3, 2015
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Luke Abbs, Visiting Scholar

    The traditional "Weberian" conception of statehood suggests that elites should rely on official state agents to suppress potential challengers (Ahram 2011), as irregular militia groups dilute the state's monopoly over force. For pro-government militias are organized armed actors that support the government, but operate outside of conventional security structures (Carey et al, 2013). In principle, the usage of militia should be particularly unnecessary for elites that maintain executive power, as they have exclusive control over the conventional state forces. Maintaining a monopoly of force depends on concentrating power at the center, and therefore we should not expect to see elites delegate state violence to irregular militia groups. However, between 1981 and 2007, forty-two states have relied on the support of ethnic militias, which are a unique form of pro-government militia that are exclusively recruited along ethnic lines. This is puzzling, since ethnic leaders with access to conventional forces still delegate security roles to militia groups that operate outside of their direct control. This article builds on this puzzle, focusing on the research question: why do ruling ethnic elites delegate state violence to ethnic militias?  


    Non-State Territorial Armed Groups and State Capacity

    October 22, 2015
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Ana Arjona, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science

    Different kinds of non-state armed groups are behind the most violent conflicts of today: the FARC in Colombia, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and drug traffickers in Mexico. While we often study these groups separately, policy recommendations to counter their expansion often point to the same solution: improving state capacity. Yet, what state capacity entails, and which specific components are more crucial, is seldom theorized. This ambiguity has led to policy recommendations that are too broad and ambitious, as they call for interventions that bring security, public goods provision, institutions, and development. In this paper I propose the concept of "non-state territorial armed groups", and develop a theoretical framework to assess the relative importance of different components of state capacity in preventing these groups from ruling civilian populations. I argue that improving local justice institutions should be a priority—more so than providing public goods and implementing projects for local development, which seems the dominant policy. Justice institutions are an essential building block of social order, and they also provide the cement for civilian resistance to armed group rule. I test the main implications of the argument with original data on conflict zones throughout Colombia, where different kinds of non-state armed groups have operated for decades.


    Collusion at the Grassroots in Kenya's 2007–08 Post-Election Violence

    September 17, 2015
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Amy Grubb

    Amy Grubb, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences in the Department of Security Studies & International Affairs, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

    Human security challenges such as Kenya’s post-election violence in 2007-08 necessitate research on geographical levels below the state and the particular local actors and processes crucial in providing or threatening that security.  The factors most indicated as causes of Kenya’s violence, namely neopatrimonialism, elite fragmentation, and ethnicity, can be manifested in actor behaviors differently across communities.  This study examines two districts in the Rift Valley where I find distinct dynamics in relationships between perpetrators and grassroots state officials.  The paper shows that where state officials collude with perpetrators, the effect can be deleterious on the state goal of reducing a threat.  Instead, this behavior can lead to a cycle of continuous violence.   Consequently, the containment of conflict, and thereby the provision of human security, depends on impartial state officials at the grassroots level able and willing to offer protection to targeted groups.  



    Karen Adams

    Karen Ruth Adams, Associate Professor of International Relations, University of Montana


    A New Approach to Security Studies: The Threat, Vulnerability and Assistance Framework

    May 28, 2015
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    In this paper, I offer a new approach to organize, apply, and evaluate the concepts and arguments of security studies. I call it the Threat, Vulnerability, and Assistance Framework (TVAF). Although elements of the framework can be discerned throughout the scholarly literature on security, its logic has never been made explicit. The paper has four parts. In Part I, I provide a brief overview of the history and current structure of security studies, which Alan Collins has aptly summarized as “pick ‘n mix.”2 In Part II, I explain that if security studies is going to become a normal science capable of informing effective action by policy makers and practitioners, some kind of conceptual framework is needed. In Part III, I deduce the TVAF from the ordinary language definitions of security and insecurity, and from the social context in which actors and units operate. The framework depicts the fundamental claim of security studies, which is that the level of security a particular actor or unit experiences is a result of three factors: the existence of threats to actors and units of its type, the vulnerabilities of the actor or unit in question, and the availability of external assistance. In Part IV, I demonstrate that the TVAF can be applied to a variety of actors and units (including people, states, and ecosystems), and I argue that it is best applied to the full array threats, vulnerabilities, and forms of assistance.


    More Than Just Victims: Civilian Resistance During Internal Armed Conflict in Peru

    May 7, 2015
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Steve Zech

    Steve Zech, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

    What explains civilian resistance to insurgent violence? Why do some communities resort to violence while others facing similar situations do not? I argue that how actors address the tension between their community’s ideas about violence and their own use of violence is key to understanding violent action. Community narratives interpret events and define inter-group relations: discourse that legitimizes violence makes violence more likely. The form this resistance takes — whether large-scale mobilization or disorganized individual acts — depends on a community’s institutional capacity to generate collective action. I test my argument against realist and rationalist arguments that emphasize power, threat, and incentive structures.

    Research on internal armed conflict focuses on violence perpetrated by insurgent groups and state security forces, often ignoring other armed civilian actors. But, militias, paramilitary groups, and civilian self-defense forces represent important third parties in most armed conflicts. In the 1980s and 1990s, Peruvian civilian self-defense forces played a crucial role in defeating the insurgent threat challenging the state. My dissertation explains divergent outcomes in civilian resistance during Peru’s internal armed conflict. To examine the origins and evolution of civilian self-defense forces I use a mixed-methods approach that combines a quantitative analysis of regional civilian violence with community case studies. I use in-depth case studies to explain the timing of civilian resistance as well as the underlying social processes behind decisions to take violent action. I evaluate my argument using historical cases from Peru’s internal armed conflict in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as contemporary cases in the Ayacucho and Junín regions of Peru. I draw from hundreds of testimonies in the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission archives, as well as nearly two hundred personal interviews with self-defense force members, community leaders, military officials, and civilians.


    Dynamic Networks of Conflictual Events: The Mexican Criminal Conflict

    April 23, 2015
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Cassy Dorff

    Cassy Dorff, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

    I present an aggregated analysis on the evolution of armed conflict in Mexico. The criminal war in Mexico is extremely complex: Drug Trafficking Organizations, citizens, government agents, amongst others, are all relevant actors within the dynamic evolution of the conflict. Existing research, however, typically ignores the interdependencies inherent to these networks. Using a new collection of machine-coded event data, I generate conflict networks for each year from 2004 to 2010. In doing so, I make three major contributions. First, I offer insights into the potential promise and pitfalls of using machine-coded data for country-level analysis. Next, after cleaning and improving upon the original data, I generate dynamic yearly networks, which include a wide variety of violent-related actors. Importantly, I demonstrate how these networks capture the independent nature of the Mexican conflict and present new insights, such as how government coordination changes in response to cartel violence over time. Finally, I use a latent space approach to uncover previously unobservable violence between government actors, criminal groups, and civilians. This research design serves as a platform for future research to investigate the effects of other major events — such as mass protests — on the evolution of armed conflict.


    Reducing Crime and Violence: Experimental Evidence on Adult Noncognitive Investments in Liberia

    April 9, 2015
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Chris Blattman

    Chris Blattman, Associate Professor of Political Science and International & Public Affairs at Columbia University

    We show that noncognitive skills and identity are malleable in adulthood, and investments can reduce costly antisocial behaviors. We recruited 999 Liberian men engaged in crime, violence, and drug trafficking. We randomized half to eight weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy to foster self control skills (anger management, self-discipline) and a noncriminal self-image and values. We also randomized a $200 grant. Cash led to short-lived income gains. Therapy increased self control and noncriminal values, and led to large, sustained falls in crime and violence. Therapy’s impacts were greatest when followed by cash, as the short-lived boost to income reinforced behavioral changes. 


    Bombing to Lose? Airpower, Civilian Casualties and the Dynamics of Violence in Counterinsurgency Wars

    April 2, 2015
    12:00 p.m. Ben M. Cherrington Hall 301

    Jason Lyall

    Jason Lyall, Associate Professor of Political Science at Yale University

    Are airstrikes an effective tool against insurgent organizations? Despite the question’s historical and contemporary relevance, we have few dedicated studies, and even less consensus, about airpower’s effectiveness in counterinsurgency wars. To answer this question, I draw on declassified United States Air Force records of nearly 23,000 airstrikes and non-lethal shows of force in Afghanistan (2006-11), satellite imagery, and a new SQL-enabled form of dynamic matching to estimate the causal effects of airstrikes on insurgent attacks over variable temporal and spatial windows. Evidence consistently indicates that airstrikes markedly increase insurgent attacks relative to non-bombed locations for at least 90 days after a strike. Civilian casualties play little role in explaining post-strike insurgent responses, however. Instead, these attacks appear driven by reputational concerns, as insurgent organizations step up their violence after air operations to maintain their reputations for resolve in the eyes of local populations.


    Participation in Violent Politics During Peru's Internal Armed Conflict: Ayacucho and Puno in Comparative Historical Perspective

    March 26, 2015
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Devin Finn

    Devin Finn, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

    In this paper, I examine the nature of political participation in Peru prior to and during its internal armed conflict. Participation is defined in terms of its range of articulation — the extent to which individuals and groups are organized, cohesive, and expressive. I argue that it is not necessarily how much people participate in politics — but how they do — that helps explain the nature of social and political relations between rebels and civilians. Attention to historical forms of mobilization in a given context — and their continuity and disjuncture with modes of participation observed during the war — has ontological implications for how we study violence and politics; these overlapping practices are critical to our understanding of participatory processes in democratic states. I suggest we adopt an ontology of violence and politics that facilitates studying citizens’ participation in violent acts as integrated or disjointed components of political and social practices. I argue that strongly articulated participation of peasants and civil society in one region of southern Peru ultimately prevented Sendero rebels from co-opting social struggles and gaining support. In Ayacucho, weak articulation of peasant interests and forms of political mobilization in the decades leading up to the outbreak of Sendero Luminoso’s violent guerra popular resulted in the rebels’ ability to penetrate social networks and wage a political struggle for minds and blood. Intensified violence against civilians occurred there in the mid-to-late 1980s, when peasant communities began turning against rebels’ oppressive rule. 


    Writing in a Time of War: Journalism, Oversight and Colombia's Intelligence Community

    March 5, 2015
    12:00 p.m. BMC 301

    Zakia Shiraz

    Zakia Shiraz, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Warwick

    Arguably Colombia’s journalists have provided the main “intelligence oversight system” during a civil conflict has persisted for almost seven decades. Journalists in particular have suffered at the hands of all armed actors: narcotraffickers, insurgents, paramilitaries and the Colombian state. Despite the precarious nature of reporting, throughout the conflict journalists have risked their lives and persisted with their efforts to report human rights abuses. In recent years, the sectors of the Colombian press have extended their reporting of the murky activities of the Colombian intelligence services. In an era of whistleblowing and Wikileaks this is an important and neglected area of scholarship on the Colombian intelligence services. This paper seeks to explore the nature and texture of the relationship between the Colombian press and the country’s intelligence services through an analysis of recent intelligence scandals and abuse of power in which the press have questioned the very existence of some of the country’s intelligence bodies.


    Choosing Ungoverned Space: Pakistan's Frontier Crimes Regulation

    February 5, 2015
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Jacob Shapiro

    Jacob N. Shapiro, Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and Co-Director of the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project

    Why do substantial swathes of territory within the boundaries of administratively competent sovereign states remain ungoverned for long periods of time? We explore this question in the context of a unique set of legal institutions in Pakistan that clearly demarcate spaces that are to be left ungoverned. During colonial rule, the British divided Pakistan into two distinct regions. The first was the Raj, where the British built modern political and bureaucratic institutions. In the second region, the British put a small number of political agents in charge of tribal areas and codified pre-colonial institutions in the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR). Legal decisions were left to customary law carried out by local tribal councils, or jirgas. Though the area under FCR has steadily decreased, FCR is still in place in the tribal areas of Pakistan today. Pakistan therefore offers a prime case in why governments leave certain territory ungoverned. Using primary legal documents we create a dataset of when and where FCR applied in Pakistan between 1901 and 2012 at the sub-district level. We then exploit the differential impact of the Green Revolution on potential land revenue at the sub-district level to empirically model the choice to leave territory ungoverned. We find that sub districts that we would see a disproportionate increase in potential land revenue as a result of the Green Revolution are disproportionately more likely to have FCR removed following the advent of the Green Revolution.


    Political/Science/Fiction and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

    January 22, 2015
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Charli Carpenter, Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

    A burgeoning literature in IR asserts there is a relationship between pop cultural artifacts and global policy processes, but this relationship is rarely explored empirically. This paper provides an evidence-based exploration of the relationship between science fiction narratives and global public policy in an important emerging political arena: norm-building efforts around the prohibition of fully autonomous weapons. Drawing on content analysis of media and campaign frames, new experimental survey data, interviews with advocacy elites, and participant-observation at campaign events, the paper explores causal and constitutive hypotheses about the impact of science fiction on 'real-world' politics.


    Accountability and Responsiveness in Rebel Regimes

    January 15, 2015
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Michael Rubin, Ph.D. Candidate at the Columbia University Political Science Department

    Why do rebels use civilian-targeted violence to establish control over territory in some communities while in others rebels provide governance and public goods? In what forms of collective action do civilians engage to shape rebel behavior, and under what conditions are they effective? Recent events in peripheral regions of weak states from Iraq and Syria to Ukraine have made us painfully aware of the potential negative consequences for civilians when rebel organizations control territory. However, it is also clear that rebels elsewhere establish local governance otherwise crucially under-provided by a weak state: the LTTE in Tamil-majority Sri Lanka and the EPLF in pre-independence Eritrea provided security, justice, health and education services to constituent civilians. These counterexamples debunk the myth that territory outside state control is necessarily “ungoverned space.” Moreover, there appears to be tremendous variation in rebel governance and violence practices even across localities within a particular rebel group's sphere of influence during conflict.

    Despite a welcome growth in the social scientific study of rebel governance, the literature leaves unexplained the role for civilian political action to constrain rebel rulers. In this chapter of the dissertation project, I offer an accountability theory of rebel group behavior in the context of state weakness or civil war. Civilian coordination capacity, or local communities’ ability to achieve collective action to serve common interests despite competing preferences, is crucial to explaining rebel behavior. Communities that enjoy high coordination capacity are those in which there exist strong institutions and norms for political consensus-building and conflict management across distributional conflict cleavages. These communities will be more successful at disciplining rebels: they will experience less predatory violence and receive higher levels of goods provision. In these communities, groups may coordinate on credible incentive schemes; pledging material support for rebels conditional on good governance and resistance conditional on predation. Through coordinating their demands and their responses to rebel actions, civilians increase their power to affect rebels’ decision-making process.

  • 2014

    December 4, 2014

    12:00 p.m. Room 301

    Abdullah Al-Arian, Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar


    No News is Good News? Mark and Recapture for Event Data When Reporting Probabilities Are Less Than One

    September 18, 2014
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Idean Salehyan, Department of Political Science at the University of North Texas

    Salehyan and his co-author Cullen S. Hendrix discuss a common, but often ignored, problem in event data: underreporting bias. When collecting data, it is often not the case that source materials capture all events of interest, leading to an undercount of the true number of events. To address this issue, they propose a common method first used to estimate the size of animal populations when a complete census is not feasible: mark and recapture. By taking multiple sources into consideration, one can estimate the rate of missing data across sources and come up with an estimate of the true number of events. To demonstrate the utility of the approach, they compare Associated Press and Agence France Press reports on conflict events, as contained in the Social Conflict in Africa Database. They show that these sources capture approximately 76% of all events in Africa, but that the non-detection rate declines dramatically when considering more significant events. They also show through regression analysis that deadly events, events of a larger magnitude, and events with government repression, among others, are significant predictors of overlapping reporting. Ultimately, the approach can be used to correct for undercounting in event data and to assess the quality of sources used.


    Justice During Armed Conflict from 1949 through 2011: A New Dataset

    May 13, 2014
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Helga Malmin Binningsbø, Senior Researcher at PRIO

    Work in the field of transitional justice focuses on institutions implemented following political transitions or armed conflict. This research has often assumed that transitional justice is put in place once armed conflict has ended, yet often transitional justice is implemented while conflict is ongoing without any political transition or shift in power taking place. Research on during-conflict justice (DCJ) processes has been hindered by a lack of data. To address this limitation the authors have created a new global, cross-national dataset on the use of DCJ. In this paper they introduce the dataset which includes the use of trials, truth commissions, reparations, amnesties, purges, and exiles implemented during 156 internal armed conflicts from 1946 through 2011. In addition to determining the presence or absence of DCJ in each conflict year they have collected descriptive variables for each DCJ including information on the target of the process, its scope and timing. Following a presentation of the data, their paper draws attention to the conditions under which DCJ is used and the type of process most likely to be put in place. This dataset is of use to scholars working directly on the issue of transitional justice, as well as those interested in the tactics governments use during armed conflict.


    The Dynamics of Cyber Conflict Between Rival Antagonists

    April 10, 2014
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Brandon Valeriano

    In 2011, the United States government declared a cyber attack similar to an act of war, punishable with conventional military means. Cyber engagements directed by one state against another are now considered part of the normal relations range of combat and conflict. Cyber is thought to be just another piece in the arsenal. This paper, co-authored with Ryan C. Maness, examines these processes and determines which rival states have been using cyber tactics and where these actions are directed. The authors also examine the level and seriousness of cyber interactions to discern the level of impact of the incident or dispute.


    Improving Cooperation and Avoiding Breakdown in Complex Operations

    February 12, 2014
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Damon Coletta and John Riley

    John Riley (DFPS/DVP, Kutztown University) and Damon Coletta (DFPS) presented a noontime seminar on "Improving Cooperation and Avoiding Breakdown in Complex Operations," at the Sie Center. The session was hosted by Chaired Professor Deborah Avant, director of the Sie Center and project lead for research on "Networks, Governance and Global Security." Discussion focused around recommendations appearing in a May 2013 Special Issue of a journal edited at University of Cambridge (UK), Small Wars & Insurgencies, in which Dr. Coletta had contributed an article. Drs. Riley and Coletta, along with former DFPS faculty member Lt. Pete Tolles (USN), led debate on state-centric versus networked-based approaches for improving performance of various entities within the international community in crisis situations such as Afghanistan and Iraq. The Sie Center audience of advanced graduate students split along career lines — nongovernmental organization (NGO) versus military — with military officers holding out greater optimism that state-centric approaches could be sufficiently adaptable to address complex crisis management operations.


    Jus Ad Vim & Cyberattacks: Governing the Use of Force in Cyberspace

    January 22, 2014
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Heather M. Roff Perkins

    The debate on cyber warfare is characterized by two broad discussions: whether cyber attacks are governable through traditional just war principles, and if they are, to what extent the existing principles can adequately apply. This paper argues that the debate is misguided because cyber attacks occupy an area of coercive activity that sometimes amounts to force, but not necessarily "war" proper. I thus claim the just war tradition is not always the most appropriate framework for understanding how to govern this new type of weapon. Proffering a more nuanced view of cyber coercion, I contend we should classify cyber attacks into three discrete categories: cyber attacks with nonkinetic effects, cyber attacks with indirect kinetic effects, and cyber attacks that accompany or are precursors to kinetic war. When attacks are adjuncts or precursors to traditional kinetic war, they can be coopted into the traditional just war theory. However, the first two categories represent "uses of force," but are not "armed attacks" or "uses of armed force." They are thus better evaluated by jus ad vim — or force-short-of-war — framework that is more attuned to the ethical concerns of limited force.

  • 2013

    Explaining Recidivism of Ex-Combatants in Colombia

    November 12, 2013
    12:00 p.m. Sié 150

    Oliver Kaplan

    What determines the recidivism of ex-combatants from armed conflicts? In post-conflict settings around the world there has been growing interest in reintegration programs to prevent ex-combatants from returning to illegal activities or to armed groups, yet little is known about who decides to "go bad." In this paper, Oliver Kaplan and co-author Enzo Nussio, Department of Political Science, Universidad de Los Andes, draw on theories from criminology and conflict studies to develop hypotheses about which kinds of individuals are most likely to return to illegal activities and when. They evaluate various individual-level, community-level, and broader security environment predictors of recidivism by combining data from a representative survey of ex-combatants of various armed groups from Colombia with police records that indicate which among the respondents returned to belligerent or illegal activities. By analyzing data on the observed behaviors of ex-combatants, the authors avoid some of the validity pitfalls of existing studies of reintegration that only rely on perceptions about why ex-combatants might go astray. The results suggest which individual and community-level factors are most highly correlated with various kinds of recidivism and hold implications for programs and policies to successfully reintegrate ex-combatants into society. Interviews with ex-combatants provide additional evidence about their motivations for recidivism.


    Improvised Communities: Transnational Practice and National Performances Along the Migration Route Through Mexico

    September 30, 2013

    Noelle Brigden

    To travel undetected by state authorities and criminal predators, Central Americans pass as Mexican during their journey to the United States. This "passing" underscores the ambiguities of social roles, such as nationality. Over time, these performances partially reconstruct imagined communities, blurring the boundaries between foreigners and citizens. However, International Relations scholarship tends to overlook how uncoordinated everyday practice complicates state control of territory in a globalized world. By tracing the co-constitutive relationship between migration policing, national performances and transnational routes, this paper reveals the makeshift nature of identity. In so doing, it argues for the continued inclusion of ethnography as a method for exploring the dynamic relationship between territory, state and nation.


    Rethinking Collective Action: The Case of Microfinance in Brazil and Mexico

    May 17, 2013

    Tricia Olsen

    Microfinance — the provision of small loans to low-income individuals — has gained substantial attention from both domestic and international actors because of its perceived capacity to alleviate poverty and inequality. Though the basic premise of microfinance is widely accepted, there is no consensus on microfinance regulation, which has important implications for not only who has access to microfinance services but also for the sustainability of microfinance institutions. In previous research, Professor Olsen shows that a focus on power and political contestation around microfinance points to the importance of domestic interests and organized groups in explaining microfinance regulatory outcomes. This study builds on that work and provides important steps in furthering our understanding about the variation in microfinance regulation. In particular, it asks: Why do domestic actors organize to shape regulation in some countries but not in others? Once organized, what determines their effectiveness? Contributing to the collective action literature, this study asserts that the formation of microfinance associations is a function of actors' ability to access the state and is not determined by its size or homogeneity, as traditional explanations would suggest. Parsing out collective action from what she terms "collective influence," this research demonstrates that, contingent upon organizing, microfinance associations' strength emerges from the innovative tactics they employ.


    Peacebuilders: An Ethnography of International Intervention

    April 26, 2013

    Séverine Autesserre

    Séverine Autesserre presented her work-in-progress "Peacebuilders: An Ethnography of International Intervention" on April 26. Why do international peace interventions so often fail to reach their full potential? Based on several years of ethnographic inquiry in conflict zones around the world, she demonstrated that everyday elements—such as the expatriates' social habits, standard security procedures, and habitual approaches to collecting information on violence – strongly impact the effectiveness of intervention efforts.


    Negotiating with Rebel Governments: The Effect of Service Provision on Conflict Negotiations

    February 4, 2013

    Lindsay Heger

    In her paper and presentation, Dr. Lindsay Heger, Research Associate at the One Earth Future Foundation, explored the question: When rebels provide social services, do they have more leverage negotiating terms of a peace deal? The literature suggests that service-providing groups may, on average, have a wider base of support and a more centralized organizational structure. Heger and co-author Danielle Jung argue that these features deter potential spoilers from breaking away from the organization during negotiation processes. This, in turn, makes governments more willing to engage in negotiations since the threat from spoilers is smaller. Thus, service providing rebels are more likely to engage in stable negotiation processes compared to non-providers. This paper analyzes these propositions by gathering service provision data on nearly 400 terrorist and groups and their involvement in and behavior during peace talks. It also serves as an introduction to a larger project about the implications of rebel service provision on conflict outcomes.

  • 2012

    The Bureaucratic Politics of Outsourcing Security: The Privatization of Diplomatic Protection in the U.S. and the U.K.

    October 22, 2012

    Eugenio Cusumano

    Eugenio Cusumano, Fulbright-Schuman Scholar at the Korbel School of International Studies, will present in the second installment of the Sié Research Seminar Series. His research focuses on the global private military and security industry. In his paper, co-authored with Christopher Kinsey, he argues that states' increasing resort to private military and security companies (PMSCs) does not merely distort the balance of power between different branches of government, strengthening the executive vis-à-vis the legislative. It also redistributes authority and resources within the executive branch, changing the relationship between civilian foreign policy bureaucracies and military organizations. Although the use of PMSCs provides foreign policy bureaucracies with new avenues to pursue their parochial interests, a scholarly analysis of the bureaucratic politics of outsourcing is still missing. His paper probes the hypothesis that the outsourcing of diplomatic security in the US and the UK has been affected by bureaucratic competition and inter-agency rivalries, responding to foreign policy bureaucracies and development agencies' attempt to maximize their institutional autonomy vis-à-vis military organizations.


    Community Counts: The Social Reintegration of Ex-Combatants in Colombia

    September 10, 2012

    Oliver Kaplan

    Oliver Kaplan, Lecturer at the Korbel School, will present in the first installment of the Sié Center's monthly Research Seminar Series. His research, conducted with with Enzo Nussio, analyzes the determinants of the social reintegration of ex-combatants from armed conflicts. Social and political participation is seen as a critical factor for preventing civil war recurrence. Participation can help ex-combatants feel socially fulfilled and acceptance by their communities can reduce their needs to maintain social connections to their former armed group networks and bosses. Kaplan and Nussio hypothesize that the strength of community organization and social relations among residents are associated with increased participation of ex-combatants in their communities. They test various individual, community and environmental factors using data from a survey of randomly sampled ex-combatants from Colombia, a survey of ordinary civilians, and observational datasets. The results suggest which ex-combatants are most likely to socially reintegrate and where. The results also provide insight on how ex-combatants' levels of participation compare with that of ordinary civilians. Kaplan and Nussio also examine how the social participation of ex-combatants and related social reintegration programs in Colombia may contribute to meeting broader definitions of successful reintegration.

    When it comes to rape in the context of war, evocative language describing rape as a "weapon of war" and the female body as a battlefield is now commonplace. Yet scholars also note the similarities with violence before, during and after conflict, with a key issue being the relationship between rape in war and "normal" male-female relationships — in other words, between the event and the ordinary.

    This paper explores these relationships by considering sexual violence in Acholi, northern Uganda. Building on research focusing on forced sex from over seven years of fieldwork, the paper foregrounds the ways sexual violence variously works to continue, exaggerate and/or rupture normal social and gender orderings of Acholi society.

    However, examining rape and its aftermath solely through the prism of the event and the ordinary leaves the picture blurry: people carve out moral spaces of agency to assert moral probity, as modes of governance, and as ways of making sense of the choices and actions of themselves and others. Deliberate distinction of space works to separate events from essence and actions from morality.

    In Acholi, these moral spaces are delineated by temporalities (olden times, the time of war, these days, and a continuous frozen ideal of Acholi life), in turn associated with specific physical localities (the village, the camp, the bush, town, home). By mapping ideas of what constitutes sex and sexual transgression onto these moral spaces, this paper sheds light on the relationship between event and ordinary, rape and war.