PhD, University of Colorado MA, University of Colorado BA, University of Dayton
Erica Chenoweth, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International
Studies at the University of Denver, where she teaches courses on international relations,
terrorism, civil war, nonviolent resistance, and contemporary warfare. In addition,
she is an Associate Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO)
and has held visiting appointments at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government,
Stanford University, UC-Berkeley, and the University of Maryland. Her book with Maria
J. Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict
(Columbia University Press, 2011), won the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award, given
annually by the American Political Science Association in recognition of the best
book on government, politics, or international affairs published in the U.S. in the
previous calendar year. Before coming to DU, she taught at Wesleyan University, where
she received the Carol A. Baker Memorial Prize recognizing excellence in junior faculty
teaching and research in 2010. Chenoweth has presented her research all over the world
at various academic conferences, government workshops, and international governmental
organizations. She is currently an Academic Adviser at the International Center on
Nonviolent Conflict and serves as a Board Member of the International Security and
Arms Control Section of the American Political Science Association.
Chenoweth’s research program involves three main questions: why do non-state groups
use political violence, what are the alternatives to political violence, and how can
states best combat non-state political violence? Her current book project, tentatively
entitled Why Democracy Encourages Terrorism (under contract with Columbia University
Press), investigates the reasons why non-state actors resort to violence in democracies
despite the availability of legal methods of protest. Her findings suggest that political
competition within democracies compels conventional interest groups to compete, causing
a “cascade effect” in which groups escalate their tactics to outbid one another for
power. The research for this project was partially funded through a Postdoctoral Research
Fellowship from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to
Terrorism (START), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence at the University
In another project on civil resistance, Chenoweth researches the conditions under
which nonviolent resistance methods are more effective than violent methods in achieving
strategic goals such as regime change, expelling foreign occupiers, or achieving self-determination.
The project investigates how the tactical evolutions of nonviolent and violent insurgencies
have affected their strategic outcomes.
Chenoweth is also co-lead investigator on the Government Actions in Terror Environments
(GATE) Data Project, with Laura Dugan of the University of Maryland. This project
collects data on state-led actions toward non-state actors and their constituents
in twelve countries since 1987 as part of a broader set of projects affiliated with
START. Their research on Israel suggests that conciliatory policies can be more effective
than repressive ones in reducing Palestinian violence.
Chenoweth’s work is published in International Security, The Journal of Politics,
American Sociological Review, Political Research Quarterly, Defense and Security Analysis,
and Review of Policy Research. She also co-edited Rethinking Violence: States and
Non-State Actors in Conflict (MIT Press, 2010) with Adria Lawrence of Yale University
and has contributed chapters to numerous edited volumes.
In 2008, Chenoweth established the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research, a
think tank that produces policy-relevant research on the causes and effects of insurgency,
terrorism, and strategic nonviolent resistance. The center, now part of the Sie Cheou-Kang
Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the Korbel School, houses multiple
projects and provides students with opportunities to engage in research related to
the program’s mission.
Chenoweth has provided security analysis to a variety of private, government, and
educational groups. Her research and commentary has been featured in The New York
Times, Foreign Policy, The Economist, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor,
and elsewhere. She hosts a blog called Rational Insurgent, co-hosts a blog called
Political Violence @ a Glance, and is an occasional blogger at The Monkey Cage and
Duck of Minerva.
Chenoweth received an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of
Colorado and a B.A. in political science and German from the University of Dayton.
INTS 4709-Topics: Civil Resistance INTS 4702-Major Issues in International Security
Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver