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Sié Center News

The Roots of Restraint in War

October 16, 2018

International Committee of the Red Cross - The Roots of Restraint in War is an update of the 2004 Roots of Behaviour in War. You can also find here the Executive Summary of this report. Based on two years of research collaboration between the ICRC and six distinguished scholars, the report identifies sources of influence on various types of armed forces and armed groups, ranging from those with a highly decentralized structure to those embedded within their communities.


The Best Human Rights Books, July to September 2018

October 14, 2018

Hong Kong Free Press - The ten books on the list are about and/or set in Algeria, Australia, China, Egypt, Russia, Syria and the United States. There is only one fiction book, an unusually low number compared with past lists; the rest are nonfiction.


Correspondence: Ideological Extremism in Armed Conflict

October 11, 2018

The MIT Press Journals - In "The Extremist's Advantage in Civil Wars," Barbara Walter seeks to explain the rise of radical Islamist groups in civil wars since 2003, especially Salafist groups.1 She claims that ideologically extreme groups have an organizational edge and thus outperform more moderate groups. This thesis is unpersuasive, however, because of its shaky empirical basis.


Conflict and Contagions: Disease Burden and Civil War

October 9, 2018

Political Violence @ a Glance - The Democratic Republic of Congo is experiencing what is now the seventh largest Ebola outbreak in history. The World Health Organization is saying the outbreak—located in the heavily conflict-affected province of North Kivu, but spreading to South Kivu and Ituri as well—is occurring in a "perfect storm" of active armed conflict, limiting the ability of relief workers to access exposed populations. As of September 25, WHO staff were only able to reach 20% of individuals in need.


Trump Will Push Trade Policies as Helping Workers in U.S. Heartland

October 5, 2018

The Wall Street Journal - With a month to go until the midterm elections, President Trump will hit the road next week to sell his new North American trade deal in the U.S. heartland, while trying to ease concerns over lingering trade disputes.


Do Military Defections Help or Hinder Pro-Democracy Civil Resistance?

October 4, 2018

International Center on Nonviolent Conflict - When activists start mobilizing to pursue a transition from dictatorship to democracy in their country, they face real risks—perhaps the most serious being lethal repression at the hands of state security forces. If feeling especially threatened, the dictator may choose to deploy the military and order it to throw its weight behind ending the popular challenge.


September 2018 News

Repression, Regime Consolidation, and Latin America's Authoritarian (Re)Turn

September 25, 2018

Political Violence @ a Glance - This week, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is planning to attend the United Nations General Assembly for the first time in eleven years; it will also be his first visit since a wave of protests against his regime began in April. The largely nonviolent demonstrations quickly expanded into the most serious challenge yet for Ortega, who has been in office since 2007. After months of contestation, Ortega used paramilitaries and police to crush protesters and their roadblocks and campus occupations. Government forces have killed hundreds, more have been arrested, and opposition leaders have fled into exile.


Key Informant Loss

September 19, 2018

Political Violence @ a Glance - The news came via a friend's Facebook post earlier this year. A key informant that I had spent time with a decade earlier during my field research on community peace movements had passed away.


Blackwater founder touts plan to cut US troops in Afghanistan

September 17, 2018

The National - Blackwater founder Erik Prince believes he has an "audience of one" to persuade to back his plan to turn the war effort in Afghanistan over to an army of private contractors backed by its own air force in a move that would see US and Nato forces largely withdrawn.


Polarization, Populism, and PR: Proportional, Inclusive Elections Appear to be the Key to Countering Social Polarization

September 14, 2018

Political Violence @ a Glance - The just-concluded elections in Sweden reveal that the vein of populism in Europe is not yet waning, and in some countries the "vote share" of populist parties continues to rise. In the globally watched Swedish elections, the far-right party Sweden Democrats garnered some 18% of the vote—less than predicted, but more than the vote share in the 2014 polls—becoming a significant factor in Sweden's typically boring, centrist-oriented politics.


Privatizing the U.S. effort in Afghanistan seemed a bad idea. Now it's even worse.

September 11, 2018

Washington Post - It's been 17 years since 9/11, the pivotal event that precipitated the start of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. In recent weeks, there has been new talk of privatizing that war.


Rethinking Secrecy in Cyberspace: The Politics of Voluntary Attribution

September 8, 2018

Journal of Global Security Studies - Cyberspace affords actors unprecedented opportunities to carry out operations under a cloak of anonymity. Why do perpetrators sometimes forgo these opportunities and willingly claim credit for attacks? To date, the literature has done little to explain this variation. This article explores the motivations behind voluntary credit-claiming for the two main actors in cyberspace: states and politically motivated nonstate actors. We argue that states are most likely to claim credit for their operations and to do so privately when the goal is to coerce an opponent. Nonstate actors tend to publicly claim credit for their attacks in order to showcase their capabilities, influence public opinion, and grow their ranks. We use case narratives to assess the plausibility of our argument and find strong support. This article places cyberspace operations in conversation with the larger literature on secrecy in international relations and advances a common framework for understanding how both states and nonstate actors operate in this evolving domain.


Julia Macdonald, "The Most Surprising Thing About the Venezuela Drone Attack is that it Hasn't Happened Sooner"

September 4, 2018 

Political Violence @ a Glance - Approximately one month ago a group of dissident soldiers reportedly attempted to assassinate the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, with explosive-laden drones. News of the attack quickly dominated the news cycle and shocked many observers who viewed this as a pivotal moment in the use of drones by non-state actors. This reaction is understandable. While armed drones are frequently used in conflict zones, this event seemed to represent a departure from the norm in two respects: it took place in a civilian environment, and it marked the first time a drone has been used to target a head of state.


August 2018 News

Erica Chenoweth in the Washington Post, "Millions of protesters turned out in June — more than in any month since Trump's inauguration."

August 31, 2018 

Monkey Cage Blog - In June, more people showed up at U.S. protests, demonstrations, and other political gatherings than in any month since we started counting in January 2017. We tallied 1,736 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins, rallies and walkouts, with at least one in every state and the District of Columbia. Our conservative guess is that between 2,790,334 and 4,622,113 people showed up at these political gatherings, though it is likely there were more participants. This count is close to but probably slightly higher than, that of March 2018.


Cullen Hendrix in Political Violence at a Glance, "All Stick, No Carrots: The Shortsighted Geopolitics of the Iran Sanctions"

August 21, 2018 

Political Violence @ a Glance & Denver Dialogues - The Trump administration, having withdrawn the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action last May, is threatening US trading partners over doing business with Iran and attempting to freeze Iran out of global oil markets. The attempted freeze-out began with the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran and businesses operating there, and the Trump administration set November 4 as the target date for US allies to zero out their purchases of Iranian crude. With some arm-twisting, NATO allies like Turkey and Asian security partners South Korea and India have agreed to curb Iranian imports, though it will be difficult for India to zero out its Iranian imports. Fearful of being caught up by US sanctions, major European firms like Total, Allianz, and Maersk have begun winding down operations in Iran in advance of the November 4 deadline.


Erica Chenoweth on nonviolent protests, "Are We Living in an Unprecedented Age of People Power?"

August 20, 2018 

TVL1 - Professor Erica Chenoweth, a scholar of international relations says that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of non-violent protests in the world. She knows because she counts them, rigorously; she also counts when they work and why.


Marie Berry's book-War, Women, and Power was selected to be a part of the Democracy in Africa book club.

August 15, 2018

Democracy in Africa - How do women experience war? Does war reconfigure gender power relations? Marie E. Berry explores these and other questions in her new book: War, Women, and Power: From Violence to Mobilization in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina (Cambridge University Press, 2018), in which she argues that war can reconfigure gender power relations by catalyzing women's political mobilization.


Cullen Hendrix in the Peterson Institute Blog, "Freezing Iran out of oil markets won't work"

August 13, 2018 

Peterson Insitute for International Economics - The Trump administration, having withdrawn the United States from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action last May, is threatening US trading partners over doing business with Iran and attempting to freeze Iran out of global oil markets. It won't work—and will indirectly strengthen the United States' principal rivals, China and Russia, in the process. 


Cullen Hendrix in the Denver Post, "Freezing Iran out of oil markets won't work"

August 7, 2018 

The Denver Post - The Trump Administration, having withdrawn the United States from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action last May, is threatening U.S. trading partners over doing business with Iran and attempting to freeze Iran out of global oil markets. It won't work — and will indirectly strengthen the United States' principal rivals, China and Russia, in the process.


Sié Fellow, Tom Zolot, was published in the National Interest and won First Place for his essay, "How America Has Become a Theater of War"

August 4, 2018 

The National Interest - America's marginalized communities pay the heaviest cost for the escalation in police militarization.


Deborah Avant has a chapter published in "U.S. National Security Reform"

August 3, 2018 

Routledge Publishing - "Contradictions in U.S. Security Planning for a Global Environment and a Process Approach to Solving Them"


Erica Chenoweth and colleagues in Washington Post, "Tens of thousands of people protested in April and May — on topics like gun violence, labor rights and science" 

August 1, 2018 

Monkey Cage Blog - This is the 16th installment in a series reporting on political crowds in the United States. Each month, the Crowd Counting Consortium will post updates about trends and patterns from the previous month or months. For our counting methods, please see our first post in the series. You can find the rest of the posts here.


July 2018 News

Marie Berry and Erica Chenoweth co-wrote a chapter in "The Resistance: The Dawn of the Anti-Trump Opposition Movement"

July 30, 2018

Oxford University Press - The Resistance: The Dawn of the Anti-Trump Opposition Movement. Edited by David S. Meyer and Sidney Tarrow

This book provides the first analytical treatment of the anti-Trump movement, offers a cross-disciplinary analysis, and includes analyses from several top scholars in the field

Two of our Sié Fellows, Tasia Poinsatte and Summer Downs, were awarded the 2018-19 QF Social Enterprise Fellowship 

July 16, 2018

The University of Denver Newsroom - The Barton Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise at the University of Denver is pleased to announce the selection of the 2018-19 QF Social Enterprise Fellows. Twelve Fellows were selected from a competitive pool and represent eight different academic programs.

The QF Social Enterprise Fellowship has two goals: to give DU graduate students the opportunity to work across disciplines and with community-based social enterprises, and to expand the impact of social enterprises in Colorado's communities.


Sié Fellow, Tom Zolot runner-up for the National Interest & John Quincy Adams Foreign Policy Essay Contest

July 6, 2018

The National Interest - Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has greatly expanded its role in international security. Major conflicts have been waged in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the Balkans, and more. Defense guarantees have been extended to more than a dozen additional nations. The War on Terror, now in its seventeenth year, involves seventy-six countries. There are some eight hundred overseas military bases, costing taxpayers an estimated $100 billion per year even as the national debt grows. 

With this in mind, submissions shall answer the following question: In what area of the world could the United States reduce its military involvement? Explain your reasoning.


THE PUZZLE OF RUSSIAN BEHAVIOR IN DEIR AL-ZOUR

July 5, 2018

War on the Rocks - Deborah Avant mentioned in a commentary by Kimberly Marten. 


What Are the Roots of Restraint? 

July 3, 2018 

Political Violence @ A Glance - How can we influence armed actors to be less violent toward civilians during conflict? This is the central question of the new Roots of Restraint in War study published by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and authored by ICRC staff Fiona Terry and Brian McQuinn, who synthesized the research findings of a small group of scholarly contributors (in which we were both honored to participate).


June 2018 News

Marie Berry was awarded the American Sociological Association Peace, War, and Social Conflict section's best article award for her Gender and Society article, "Barriers to Women's Progress After Atrocity"

June 27, 2018

Gender and Society - Researchers have recently documented the unexpected opportunities war can present for women. While acknowledging the devastating effects of mass violence, this burgeoning field highlights war's potential to catalyze grassroots mobilization and build more gender-sensitive institutions and legal frameworks.


Toward Deterrence: The Upside of the Trump-Kim Summit

June 15, 2018 

War on the Rocks - The long-awaited Trump-Kim summit achieved nothing of substance: a photo op and a largely meaningless commitment to denuclearize from North Korea in exchange for equally meaningless security commitments from the United States. It is easy to be underwhelmed by a summit that delivered little and leaves North Korean nuclear weapons firmly in place. Indeed, North Korea has had its status as a nuclear-armed power legitimized by securing a high-profile meeting on equal footing with a sitting president of the United States.


Cross Fertilization and Research on the "Welfare Non-State"

June 12, 2018 

Political Violence @ a Glance - Despite a wealth of studies in the last 25 years documenting "governance" by rebels, NGOs, companies, and many others, when we think of who governs, our answer is generally still "the state". Danielle Jung, Wendy Wong, and Amanda Murdie have joined the ranks of those who would like to shake up this perspective. They hosted a workshop to begin parsing out who, exactly, are the non-state "governors", and to focus attention on the causes and consequences of their participation in a particular set of governance functions: the provision of "public" goods and services. You will no doubt hear more from them in the coming months and years but the initial discussion has already demonstrated the value of cross-fertilizing conversations.


The Sié Center was awarded a grant from the Jewish Women's Fund of Colorado

June 4, 2018

Sié Center - The Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, received a generous grant from the Jewish Women's Fund of Colorado, a donor-advised fund of Rose Community Foundation, to support research, education, and programming aimed at elevating and amplifying the work that women activists do in leading nonviolent movements to advance peace and security across the world. The project, titled the "Inclusive Global Leadership Initiative," or "IGLI," is co-directed by Professors Marie Berry and Erica Chenoweth, both of whom are faculty affiliates of the Sié Center.


May 2018 News

These are the Four Largest Protests Since Trump was Inaugurated

May 31, 2018 

Washington Post - For March, we tallied 6,056 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins, rallies and walkouts in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that between 2,587,786 and 3,944,175 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were more participants. As a monthly count, this number of participants was only surpassed during the first month we started counting, January 2017. The boost came from the overwhelming attendance at the March for Our Lives, which we reported on here earlier, and the associated national student walkouts for school safety from gun violence.


Innovations in Peacebuilding report now available

May 23, 2018

Sié Center "Innovations in Peacebuilding" was a two-year research, dialogue, and policy project (2015-2017) that explores innovative ways in which international organizations, donors, governments, and local non-governmental organizations conduct activities aimed at conflict prevention and management, peacebuilding and reconciliation. The project explored this research question: How do norms affect mobilization dynamics in local settings in conflict-affected countries, and what are the implications for peacebuilding practice and effectiveness? Read more about the project here.


Erica Chenoweth and former Postdoctoral fellow, Evan Perkoski, to talk at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict  

May 22, 2018 

ICNC - On June 1st, Nonviolent Resistance and Prevention of Mass Killings during Popular Uprisings.


Postdoctoral fellow Yolande Bouka as a witness for the Canadian Parliamentary Subcommittee on International Human Rights in Ottawa 

May 22, 2018

House of Commons, Canada - The human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 


"On Marching

May 21, 2018

DIY Democracy - Interviews with Dr. Erica Chenoweth about marching as a nonviolent tactic and with Sana Shahid about organizing the Houston Women's March.


Julia Macdonald part of a research team awarded Minerva Research Initiative Grant

May 17, 2018 

Sié Center - The DoD's Minerva Research Initiative's three-year grant supports social science research in areas of importance to U.S. national security policy. The awarded project is a collaboration led by Michael C. Horowitz, Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, who will work alongside researchers at the Naval War College, Yale University, and the Sié Center. Entitled, "The Disruptive Effects of Autonomy: Ethics, Trust, and Organizational Decision-making," the study will explore the factors that affect the use of autonomous systems employed by U.S. military on the battlefield.


Tension Grows Around Referendum In Burundi

May 17, 2018 

NPR - Yolande Bouka, a research fellow at the University of Denver who has studied Burundi's current political crisis in detail, says the proposed constitutional amendment makes it easier for the ruling party "to get its way." It gives the president broader powers to control the legislative agenda, for example, and it also makes it easier for the president to minimize the influence of other political parties and ethnic minorities.


Burundi votes tomorrow on controversial constitutional amendments. A lot is at stake.

May 16, 2018 

Washington Post - On Thursday, Burundi will hold a referendum to revise its constitution. The current constitution, adopted in 2005, grew from the 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, which helped end Burundi's civil war by establishing one of Africa's most inclusive political arrangements. The proposed amendments threaten to dismantle the Arusha Agreement without a broad national debate — and could lead to renewed instability.


States are Far Less Likely to Engage in Mass Violence Against Nonviolent Uprisings than Violent Uprisings 

May 8, 2018 

Political Violence @ a Glance - What drives governments to crack down on and kill their own civilians in the context of popular uprisings? This is the topic of Chenoweth and Perkoski's newly-released special report with the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. In it, they explore why governments engage in mass killings – or the intentional killing of 1,000 or more civilian noncombatants – in the context of both violent and nonviolent mass uprisings.


Resisting War: How Communities Protect Themselves 

May/June 2018 

Foreign Affairs - Caught in the crossfire between militant insurgents and government forces, unarmed civilians are often portrayed as helpless. Kaplan rejects this idea and finds that under certain circumstances, local communities can protect their members from civil strife. He bases his hopeful conclusion primarily on his extensive field research in rural Colombia; using secondary sources, he also finds local islands of peaceful civilian autonomy within conflict zones in Afghanistan, the Philippines, and Syria—suggesting that even in extreme circumstances, civilians can organize to keep themselves safe.


Migration, Cities, and Engaged Scholarship

May 1, 2018

Political Violence @ a Glance - On April 3, 2018, just prior to the start of the annual meeting of the International Studies Association (ISA) in San Francisco, Kelsey co-organized (along with Dr. Hans Schattle) a working group titled "Cities and the Contentious Politics of Migration," co-sponsored by the Ethnicity, Migration & Citizenship and International Ethics sections. The idea behind the workshop arose from the previous year's ISA meeting in Baltimore, which took place just weeks after President Trump's first issuance of the now infamous 'Muslim Ban.'


April 2018 News

War, Women, and Power: From Violence to Mobilization in Rwanda and Bosnia Herzegovina

April 30, 2018

New Books Network— How can war change women's political mobilization? Using Rwanda and Bosnia as case studies Marie E. Berry answers these questions and more in her powerful new book, War, Women, and Power: From Violence to Mobilization in Rwanda and Bosnia Herzegovina (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Berry provides the reader with a solid history and background of how war came to be in each of these countries respectively.


Special Report: Nonviolent Resistance and Prevention of Mass Killings During Popular Uprisings

April 30, 2018

International Center on Nonviolent Conflict— ICNC is excited to announce the publication of a special report by Evan Perkoski and Erica Chenoweth entitled "Nonviolent Resistance and Prevention of Mass Killings in Popular Uprisings." The report is the second release in ICNC's Special Report Series, launched in 2017.


Rethinking Women's Power During and After War

April 24, 2018

Political Violence @ A Glance— Noémie was born in the south of Rwanda in the early 1960s. After graduating from University, she became a teacher. When the genocide broke out in 1994, her husband and many members of her family were killed. As she described it to me,

"I was married to a successful man...but after the genocide, it was different because my husband was dead. And I was the head of the house. So, I had to do everything that was the same for the kids as when their dad was around."


Erica Chenoweth and Jonathan Pinckney publish the NAVCO 3.0 Dataset

April 19, 2018

Journal of Peace Research— Although the empirical study of strategic nonviolent action has expanded in recent years, no current dataset provides detailed accounts of the day-to-day methods and tactics used by various nonviolent and violent actors seeking political change. We introduce the Nonviolent and Violent Campaigns and Outcomes (NAVCO) version 3.0 dataset, which assembles over 100,000 hand-coded observations of nonviolent and violent methods in 21 countries around the world between 1991 and 2012. 


The Mobilization of Women in Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina: An Interview with Dr. Marie Berry

April 16, 2018

Our Secure Future— Dr. Marie Berry is an Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, where she is an affiliate of the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy. She is the Co-Director of the Inclusive Global Leadership Initiative (IGLI). Her first book, War, Women, and Power: From Violence to Mobilization in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina (Cambridge University Press 2018), examines the impact of war and genocide on women's political mobilization in Rwanda and Bosnia. Her work examining women's political mobilization, leadership, and peacebuilding efforts is critical to the vision of Our Secure Future for a more peaceful future transformed by women's full participation.


Did you attend the March for Our Lives? Here's what it looked like nationwide.

April 13, 2018

The Washington Post's Monkey Cage Blog— On March 24, Parkland, Fla., high school students — in coalition with people nationwide — organized massive public rallies to support gun regulation, safer schools and safer communities. By our count, the March for Our Lives event brought out 1,380,666 to 2,181,886 people at 763 locations — making it the third-largest day of demonstrations since President Trump's inauguration launched an extraordinary period of national political mobilization. As The Washington Post reported recently, nearly 1 in 5 Americans says they have attended a rally or protest since the beginning of 2016.


On May 7, Cullen Hendrix will be speaking at Water in the Middle East and Africa: A Nexus of Cooperation and Conflict

April 10, 2018

UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs— The severe water crises facing areas of the Middle East and Africa have significant implications for the health, welfare and security of the regions' people. Today, issues related to water availability and quality – including food security, sanitation and health, and economic development – have become both more complex and critical to address in these parts of the world. In this context, the resource can be both a source of cooperation and conflict among and within communities and nations.

The international conference Water in the Middle East & Africa: A Nexus of Cooperation and Conflict will provide a forum for scholars and experts to discuss the challenges linked to water resources facing these areas. The speakers will share innovative technology and policy solutions being developed and implemented in the regions that tackle problems at the local, national, and trans-national levels.


Leaders share their wisdom of peace and community building at #MLK50Conference

April 9, 2018

Medium— Peace Log, April 9, 2018 — This time last week, along with about 4,000 other people, I was getting ready to attend the #MLK50Conference in Memphis, organized by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, ERLC.

As a peace journalist, the PR staff at the ERLC were kind enough to arrange interviews for me with two of the top pastors in the nation. The overall theme of the conference was racial reconciliation and unity among all human beings.


Erica Chenoweth received a 2018 Duckie award for her blog post- "When Engaged Scholarship Means Resistance"

April 9, 2018

Denver Dialogues— Engaged scholarship takes on a new and urgent meaning when engagement means resistance. Over the past few weeks, many social scientists have mobilized alongside their compatriots to resist the Trump administration's policies, particularly regarding immigration. In February, a few hundred scholars at the International Studies Association Annual meeting participated in a protest outside of the conference hotel against policies discriminating against Muslim immigrants, threatening the well-being of undocumented people, and barring refugees. Some ISA members also boycotted the meetings in solidarity with Muslim colleagues. The upcoming March for Science will involve thousands of scholars and scientists aimed at confronting anti-intellectualism, anti-scientific reasoning, and denial. And, of course, universities are often sites of resistance more generally, as evidenced by many recent actions in Texas, Arizona, and elsewhere.


Atrocity Prevention and Peacebuilding

April 5, 2018

Peace DirectIn November and December 2017 Peace Direct held a collaborative online consultation for experts and practitioners to discuss the nexus between atrocity prevention and peacebuilding, and to share their insight and experiences. Following the consultation, this report presents the analysis and recommendations from participants, and advocates for the recognition of the role that locally-led peacebuilding approaches play in preventing and stopping atrocities.


How Civilians Talk Their Way out of Violence

April 3, 2018

Political Violence @ a Glance— When Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan in 2012, the Pakistani public was in an uproar. What's more, Muslim clerics shamed the Taliban for contravening Islamic precepts—for acting inconsistently with their prior commitments. When one thinks of rhetoric, images of blustering talking heads on cable TV can come to mind—that talk is "cheap." But rhetoric is also used to hold political candidates accountable for their prior positions and call out their inconsistencies.


Trust, Troops, and Reapers: Getting 'Drone' Research Right

April 3, 2018

War on the Rocks— Would you trust a Reaper crew to keep you safe in the face of enemy fire? In their Foreign Affairs article, "Why Troops Don't Trust Drones," Jacquelyn Schneider and Julia MacDonald argue that U.S. troops "see drones as riskier and less trustworthy than manned aircraft." In a later article, they elaborated on the details of the terms used in their survey research. They defined confidence as "the belief that unmanned aircraft can effectively complete a mission," and trust as "the willingness to use an unmanned aircraft to complete a mission."


South Sudan in Focus

April 2, 2018

Voices of America— Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, known as the mother of the 'new' South Africa, dies at the age of 81 after a long illness; the Catholic archbishop of South Sudan delivers a strong message to South Sudanese leaders; and a former South Sudanese musician who fled to Uganda launches a small business to support his family.


March 2018 News

Julia Macdonald Receives Policy Engagement Fellowship from Bridging the Gap Project at American University

March 22, 2018 

The Bridging the Gap Summer Fellowship aims to support advanced doctoral students and junior faculty in pursuing research aimed directly at the policymaking community in Washington, DC and beyond. Open to New Era Foreign Policy (NEFP) alumni, BTG will award approximately three fellowships to highly accomplished junior scholars in order to supplement their policy-relevant research during the summer.


Oliver Kaplan, Erica Chenoweth, and Cullen Hendrix all made the shortlist for the 2018 Duckies

March 21, 2018

The shortlist for the Online Achievement in International Studies (OAIS) Awards, otherwise known as the Duckies, has been announced. As the 'online' in the name suggests, the Duckies honor achievement in blogging and social media; their origin dates to 2013 and the Duck of Minerva world politics blog, hence the names 'Duckies.'


Oxford's Handbook of International Security is released with Deborah Avant as a contributing author

March 21, 2018

This Oxford Handbook is the definitive volume on the state of international security and the academic field of security studies. It provides a tour of the most innovative and exciting news areas of research as well as major developments in established lines of inquiry. It presents a comprehensive portrait of an exciting field, with a distinctively forward-looking theme, focusing on the question: what does it mean to think about the future of international security?


Lessons from the Cambridge Analytica Files: Don't Be Evil

March 20, 2018

Political Violence @ A Glance— Over the weekend, The Guardian broke a series of stories about the misuse of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining firm paid by its clients to influence elections, markets, and more. What struck us about this story is that a seemingly common set of professional opportunities enabled an enterprising academic to sell a tool of political manipulation that may have changed the course of history.


Climate Change and Protectionism Could Harm Efforts to Feed the World: Report

March 19, 2018

Reuters— Rising protectionist and anti-trade sentiments threaten efforts to curb malnutrition even as more people go hungry and climate pressures rise, a U.S.-based think-tank said on Tuesday.

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) noted the benefits of a free flow of goods - it improves the availability of food and keeps supplies stable, which prevents droughts from becoming famines. It also helps nutrition by ensuring food variety.


Is the Liberal Order in Crisis? 

March 9, 2018

Political Violence @ A Glance— Talk of crisis in the liberal order is ubiquitous. The conversation is markedly different, however, among those who study American politics — as compared to their comparative or IR counterparts. Betting that a conversation among these varied perspectives could be useful, the University of Denver's Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy, Colorado European Center of Excellence, and Center on American Politics joined forces with the Center for Strategic and International Studies to host scholars and practitioners from the US and Europe at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies for a two-day conference.


Women in Peace

March 9, 2018

Women in Peace— Erica Chenoweth honored as a notable woman in peace.


International Women's Day: Celebrating the most influential women in the field of IR

March 8, 2018

London School of Economics and Political Science— This International Women's Day, the Department of International Relations would like to take the opportunity to celebrate some (but by no means all) of the most inspirational and influential women in the field of IR.


Community counts: The social reintegration of ex-combatants in Colombia

March 7, 2018

Conflict Management and Peace Science— What explains the social reintegration of ex-combatants from armed conflicts? Community-level programs to reintegrate ex-combatants into society are based on the theory that the participation of ex-combatants in their communities can promote reconciliation and minimize recidivism to illegal activities. We evaluate community and security-related opportunities for and constraints on social reintegration using a survey of ex-combatants from Colombia. We find that ex-combatants in more participatory communities tend to have an easier time with social reintegration and feel less of a need to organize among themselves. These findings suggest that to help ex-combatants, reintegration processes should also work to improve the social vibrancy of receptor communities.


The Sophomore Curse: Sampling Bias and the Future of Climate-Conflict Research

March 6, 2018

New Security Beat—Recently, Nature Climate Change published a new study demonstrating significant sampling bias in the research that informs our understanding of whether climate change will accelerate human conflict. I was a peer reviewer of "Sampling bias in climate–conflict research," and I wrote an accompanying "News and Views" piece summarizing it. I am fascinated by the issue of sampling bias; it's perhaps the most consequential and least recognized form of bias in the social sciences, with potentially massive consequences for what we (think we) know about a host of phenomenon.

Put simply, sampling bias arises when the sample–the individuals, countries, or regions under study–deviates from the population it is intended to represent. You may have heard it called "the college sophomore problem": psychologists run lots of experiments on college sophomores because they are convenient to study in a university setting. But college sophomores are not representative of society at large, so the inferences drawn from studying them may or may not be valid.


What to Do About Venezuela's Rigged Presidential Election? 

March 2, 2018

Caracas Chronicles— The key, whether you call on people to vote or not, is to organize a non-violent movement based on non-cooperation, to undermine the authoritarian regime. As Chenoweth and Stephan: "a critical source of the success of nonviolent resistance is mass participation, which can erode or remove a regime's main sources of power."

In their empirical study, Chenoweth and Stephan show that political changes in authoritarian regimes require, as a basic condition to a successful political change, planning coordinated demonstrations that, through non-violent instruments of non-cooperation, chip away at the regime's power. Other conditions, like diplomatic pressure, are also important. But without mass participation in domestic action, political change is unlikely.


Women In 2018: A Look At The Polls

March 2, 2018

Forbes— In late February, Jeremy Pressman from the University of Connecticut and Erica Chenoweth at the University of Denver, writing in the popular political science blog the Monkey Cage, reported that between 1.8 and 2.6 million people participated in the January 2018 Women's March. What's driving the crowds? In the latest edition of AEI's Political Report, we provide some answers.

In January, Gallup updated its battery of questions about satisfaction with different aspects of life. Fifty-eight percent said they were satisfied with the position of women in the nation, but 37 percent, the highest percentage since Gallup first asked this question, said they were dissatisfied. The growing negativity was driven by Democratic men and women; Republicans didn't change their views.


February 2018 News

Responsibility to Prepare: Strengthening National and Homeland Security in the Face of a Changing Climate

February 27, 2018

The Center for Climate and Security Cullen Hendrix participated in the publishing of a report released by the Center for Climate and Security.


All Eyes on the Democratic Primaries

February 27, 2018

Bloomberg View— The next big tests for Democrats are the earliest primaries, coming up March 6 in Texas and March 20 in Illinois. Primaries pose real challenges for the parties, especially during unusual surges in candidate filings. All the Democrats have to do is nominate duds in a dozen or so (or even more) of the wrong districts, and the horde of candidates will turn into a big problem instead of an opportunity. There's no bigger story in electoral politics right now than these primaries, for House races and offices up and down the ballot.

1. Erica Chenoweth and Jeremy Pressman at the Monkey Cage on political protests in January.


January's Women's March brought out more than a million people — and many more also protested during the month

February 26, 2018

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage—  For January 2018, we tallied 1,040 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that between 2,441,891 and 3,384,073 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were more participants. Because mainstream media often neglect to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place. For 21 percent of the events we listed this month, we lacked an estimate of the size of the crowd.

Nevertheless, we think our tally gives us a useful pool of information to better understand political mobilization in the United States — particularly how reports of crowds change from month to month. Driven by the Women's March, protesters turned out en masse in January.


Why training women in nonviolent resistance is critical to movement success

February 24, 2018

Waging Nonviolence— In the year since Trump's inauguration, we have seen an outpouring of popular mobilization in resistance to his administration's policies. Crowd estimates suggest that 5.2-9 million people took to the streets in the United States to protest Trump's policies or points of view over the past year. Many more have mobilized worldwide in reaction to the rise of right-wing populist movements across the globe, using people power to contest entrenched authority and confront oppressive regimes and systems.

Women have been at the forefront of these efforts. The 2017 Women's March on Washington — whose Sister Marches spanned all 50 states and dozens of other countries — was likely the biggest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history. The momentum continued in 2018, with between 1,856,683 and 2,637,214 people marching in Women's Marches this year. And women continue to be at the helm of movements like Black Lives Matter, the struggle for immigrant rights and the Fight for $15. Around the world, they have played vital roles in demanding reproductive justice in Poland, protesting repressive religious laws in Iran and asserting their right to political representation in Kenya.


We're combat veterans. We support the students demanding gun reform.

February 20, 2018

The Washington Post— On Feb. 14, America witnessed yet another school shooting. The response in many ways was typical, with partisan lines drawn and old arguments about weapons bans and mental health trotted out. The deadlock of the gun control debate has become a staple in our political discourse. Yet in the wake of last week's tragedy in Parkland, Fla., a new group of voices has emerged alongside those of the survivors now demanding change: military veterans.

We represent some of those voices. The #VetsForGunReform movement is inclusive of those who fought America's wars — as soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. We were truck drivers and tank drivers, fuelers and supply specialists, pilots and linguists, medics and infantrymen. Men and women. Liberals and conservatives. We grew up across America. In big cities and small towns. We were raised by doctors and lawyers, farmers and preachers.


The Intellectual War on Science

February 13, 2018

The Chronicle of Higher Education— Though the urge to join a violent insurgent or terrorist group may owe more to male bonding than to just-war theory, most of the combatants probably believe that if they want to bring about a better world, they have no choice but to kill people. Would anything change if everyone knew that violent strategies were not just immoral but ineffectual? It's not that I think we should airdrop crates of Chenoweth and Stephan's book into conflict zones. But leaders of radical groups are often highly educated, and even the cannon fodder often have had some college and absorb the conventional wisdom about the need for revolutionary violence. What would happen over the long run if a standard college curriculum devoted less attention to the writings of Karl Marx and Frantz Fanon and more to quantitative analyses of political violence?


Sampling bias might be distorting view of upheaval due to global warming

February 13, 2018

Phys.org— A small team of researchers from The University of Melbourne, the Georg Eckert Institute and Freie Universität has found problems with research related to assessing the propensity for war amid environmental changes due to global warming. In their paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the group argues that much of current research on the topic suffers from several bias flaws. Cullen Hendrix with the University of Denver outlines the arguments by the research team in the same journal issue and suggests future research efforts will have to be refocused if they are to be useful in predicting future conflicts based on global warming projections.


Searching for climate–conflict links

February 12, 2018

Nature.com— Environmental scarcity caused by climate change has been implicated as a driver of violent conflict. Now, research shows significant bias in the regions analysed for climate–conflict links. This may limit understanding of the socioeconomic and political conditions in which such conflict occurs, and how these conflicts could be prevented.


Wakanda, Afrofuturism, and Decolonizing International Relations Scholarship

February 6, 2018

Political Violence @ A Glance— Next week, Marvel Studios will release one of its most anticipated films in the studio's ten-year history. Black Panther, set in the fictional Wakanda, a vibranium resource-rich and technologically advanced African country, has shattered records by selling more advance tickets than any previous superhero movie. Part of Black Panther's success can be attributed in part to the expansion of Marvel's Black fan base. Black people around the world–most of whom are not traditional Marvel fans–have put their whole weight behind the film. While Marvel's Comic Universe has featured superheroes of color for decades now, the release of Black Panther in Marvel's Cinematic Universe breaks new ground in the cinematographic comic industry. By grounding the plot in Africa while simultaneously showcasing a predominantly Black cast and production team, Black Panther is unique. All this is happening at a time where Afrofuturism, an artistic movement that combines "elements of science fiction, magical realism, and African history," is exploding.


January 2018 News

The Women's March could change politics like the Tea Party did

January 31, 2018

The Guardian— On 20 and 21 January 2018, hundreds of progressive groups organized another Women's March. In the United States alone, between 1,856,683 and 2,637,214 people in at least 407 locations marched, held rallies and protested. There were marches in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including in 38 state capitals. Although the number of participants declined from the massive march in 2017, this is a very significant show of strength.

Progressive movements are not the only ones that have turned to mass mobilization to build power from below. Donald Trump himself came to power on the heels of a rightwing populist movement that had its origins in the Tea Party protests of 2009.


As NAFTA talks continue, your hamburger hangs in the balance

January 29, 2018

The Washington Post's Wonkblog— While imported fruits and vegetables don't face particularly high tariffs in the United States, there's some anxiety among U.S. importers and Mexican farming groups that the country could impose new anti-dumping and countervailing duties on them.

These tariffs are meant to raise the price of imported foods that U.S. officials believe are being sold below their fair-market value. NAFTA includes special mechanisms for resolving anti-dumping conflicts and avoiding duties, said Cullen Hendrix, who heads the Project on Environment, Food and Conflict at the University of Denver — but without the agreement, Hendrix said, U.S. growers could push for measures that protect their crops against Mexican competition.


How protests can affect elections

January 26, 2018

The Economist— The Tea Party rallies were an impressive mobilization but they pale in comparison to the recent women's marches. Erica Chenoweth at the University of Denver and her colleague Jeremy Pressman estimate that the 653 women's marches across the country in January 2017 involved between 3.3m and 5.2m million people. The best guess is that 1.3% of Americans marched. The researchers also estimate that another 6,400 anti-Trump protests in America between the marches and the end of 2017 drew between 2.6m and 3.8m participants. While the women's marches were officially non-partisan, survey evidence suggests otherwise.


A year after the first Women's March, millions are still actively protesting Trump

January 23, 2018

Vox— According to data from Erica Chenoweth at the University of Denver and Jeremy Pressman at the University of Connecticut, the Women's Marches over the weekend involved between 1.6 million and 2.5 million people in events across the US, with an average of 6,700 to 10,400 per march.


These 3 Everyday Products Show Who Won and Lost From Nafta

January 23, 2018

The New York Times— In 2016, Canada shipped nearly five million baby pigs into the United States — about 15 percent of those born north of the border. And much of the pork the United States produces is ultimately exported to Canada or Mexico.

That means a pork cutlet served in Toronto may have started out as a piglet on an Ontario farm before being exported to the United States, and then reimported as meat, said Cullen Hendrix, an associate professor at the University of Denver.


Watching Trump's Economic Policy Preferences in 2018

January 23, 2018

Bloomberg View— One thing you could say for Donald Trump in 2017 was that his economic policies seemed fairly consistent. When orthodox conservative doctrine called for measures likely to help the economy in the short run, Trump was on board; when orthodox conservative doctrine called for restraint, Trump would choose policies likely to help the economy in the short run. The president was all in on tax cuts and larger deficits, just as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush had been in the first years of their presidencies. Trump also, however, ignored tight-money conservatives and nominated a mainstream, well-regarded moderate, Jerome Powell, as the new Federal Reserve chairman.


Here's a report card for Trump's first year in office

January 22, 2018

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage With a year of Donald Trump's presidency in our rearview mirror, the Monkey Cage offered a week of posts evaluating his record from various points of view — and looking at what the citizen opposition has been up to. In case you missed them, here's your chance to read them all.

Let's start with an actual report card. Freshman presidencies are often notoriously difficult, but Trump's record still stood out. Justin Vaughn and Brandon Rottinghaus collected responses to a survey from 155 experts on the U.S. presidency. Collectively they gave him an F overall, looking at such things as legislative accomplishments, foreign-policy leadership, maintaining institutional norms, and public communication.


Civilians, Coups, and Criminal Conflict: A List of Must-read Scholarship on Political Violence From 2017

January 22, 2018

Political Violence @ A Glance— Fifteen scholars of political violence provided me with recommendations on what they regarded as the books and articles from 2017 that made the most valuable contributions to the field. Their suggested readings were wide-ranging, covering topics such as civilian targeting in civil wars, mass violence and civilian behavior, gender and conflict, criminal conflict, and post-conflict politics and legacies.


One year after the Women's March on Washington, people are still protesting en masse. A lot. We've counted.

January 21, 2018

The Washington Post's Monkey CageThe Crowd Counting Consortium is one year old. Since the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017, we have recorded more than 8,700 protests in the United States through Dec. 31, 2017. This map gives a sense of the geographic and ideological distribution of the crowds. About 74 percent of those protests were either against Trump administration policy or on issues that conflicted with the president's viewpoint, such as protests against specific police shootings of black people. We assuredly did not learn about every protest. Given the information we had, however, we made a low and a high estimate of all the participants in all the protests we counted, giving us a range of between 5.9 million and 9 million. That's roughly 1.8 to 2.8 percent of the population of the United States, with about 5.2 million to 8 million of those turning out to oppose Trump's policies or points of view.


Shelf Discovery: Great reading from the DU community

January 13, 2018

University of Denver Magazine— All too often, civilians find that war is hell and that they are merely collateral damage. In "Resisting War: How Communities Protect Themselves" (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Oliver Kaplan examines the nonviolent strategies unarmed civilians use, often at enormous risk, to limit the effects of strife on their villages and populations, even as bullets whiz around them.

An assistant professor in international security and human rights at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Kaplan serves as associate director of DU's Human Trafficking Center. His new book takes readers to Colombia and introduces them to the peasants and community leaders who negotiated local peace accords with FARC guerrillas. Kaplan's fieldwork in the country included interviews with excombatants and community organizers.


The Iran struggle will be historic. Here's what Trump should do.

January 4, 2018

The Washington PostIn a study of civil resistance campaigns between 1900 and 2006, researchers Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth found that nonviolent efforts succeeded 53 percent of the time, compared with 26 percent for violent campaigns. And nonviolent approaches generally succeeded in less than half the time (an average of about three years). Why this difference? Because violence reduces public participation, which makes defections less likely. 


The massive new protests in Iran, explained

January 3, 2018

Vox— Research by Erica Chenoweth, a scholar at the University of Denver who studies nonviolent revolutions, finds that the size of protests matters: that governments almost always fall when 3.5 percent of the population or more engage insustained nonviolent activity. In Iran, a country of more than 80 million people, that would mean roughly 3 million people on the streets regularly challenging the regime. There's no evidence of that happening — at least not yet.