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Josef Korbel School of International StudiesSié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy

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Sié Center News

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.

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.

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— 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— 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.

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 in sustained 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.

The Republican tax bill spurred more than 120 public protests in November

December 29, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey CageFor November 2017, we tallied 680 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 46,547 and 51,385 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far 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 30.2 percent of the events we listed this month, we lacked an estimate of the size of the crowd.

One in 10 Interstate Disputes Are Fishy – And the Implications Stink

December 20, 2017

New Security Beat— Fisheries are a surprisingly common reason for conflict between countries. Between 1993 and 2010, 11 percent of militarized interstate disputes (MIDs) – conflicts short of war between two sovereign states – involved fisheries, fishers, or fishing vessels. While the conflicts often involve fresh fish, the implications for global peace and prosperity stink like fermented herring. As climate change threatens to change fish habitats, new governance strategies may be needed to prevent these "fishy MIDs" from sparking broader conflicts.

Why Troops Don't Trust Drones

December 20, 2017

Foreign AffairsThe surveys showed that JTACs and JFOs strongly preferred manned over unmanned aircraft across all demographic categories, including age, branch, education, experience, and rank. This preference was strongest in hypothetical scenarios in which the enemy was nearby and there was a high risk of friendly fire: almost 90 percent of the respondents preferred manned aircraft in such circumstances. Their main concern was that drones, remotely controlled by pilots hundreds of miles from the battlefield, were unable to maintain situational awareness in combat environments and were therefore more likely to make mistakes that could risk friendly lives. For example, one JTAC wrote that "a manned aircraft would be less likely to lose sight of my position and make any mistakes that may result in fratricide."

Trump's attacks on #TakeaKnee and DACA spurred hundreds of protests in October

December 1, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— For October, we tallied 548 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 59,876 and 68,570 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far more participants. Because mainstream media often neglects to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place. For 34.9 percent of the events we listed this month, we lacked an estimate of the size of the crowd.

'Violent flank effects' and the strategic naiveté of Antifa

November 11, 2017 

Waging Nonviolence— Focusing, therefore, on violent — as opposed to "radical" — flanks, researchers Erica Chenoweth and Kurt Schock sought to bring clarity and systematic analysis to bear on this question of positive versus negative violent flank effects. In a 2015 article for the journal Mobilization, they examined all nonviolent campaigns from 1900-2006 with radical (i.e. "maximalist") goals — such as the "removal of an incumbent national government, self-determination, secession, or the expulsion of foreign occupation" — to see how the presence or absence of armed resistance affected the success of these nonviolent campaigns. Their findings offer compelling evidence that violence is not generally a helpful addition to nonviolent resistance movements.

The Resistance to Trump is Blossoming – and Building a Movement to Last

November 9, 2017 

The Guardian— People have continued to show up to protests in significant numbers – a research team led by civil-resistance scholar Erica Chenoweth and political scientist Jeremy Pressman has tallied hundreds of demonstrations around the country each month since January.

What Political Science Can Tell Us About Mass Shootings

November 6, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— Over the past decades, the United States has faced more and more mass shootings that are neither criminal competition nor family violence: Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Newtown, the Charleston, S.C., Emanuel AME Church, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. This week it's at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. More are surely coming. As Erica Chenoweth explained here at The Monkey Cage in 2015, both mass shootings and terrorist attacks tend to lead to copycat attacks.

Will Killer Robots Be Banned? Lessons From Past Civil Society Campaigns

November 5, 2017

Lawfare— After several years of debate, on November 13-17, 2017, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) will convene a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) to discuss the topic of lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS), more popularly called "killer robots." While the precise nature of these weapon systems is still the subject of debate, they are generally considered weapons that can select and engage targets on their own. Academics, policymakers, and technology leaders have raised questions about the risks of reducing human control by deploying weapon systems able to select and engage targets on their own.

Sometimes a handful of protesters can spark an enormous discussion. That certainly happened in September.

November 1, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— For September, we tallied 578 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 80,130 and 89,854 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far 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 34.9 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. In this case, we estimate that September saw a sizable decrease in people protesting compared with August, during which we observed between 175,625 and 205,178 people participating in crowds.

How to Respond to Richard Spencer

October 19, 2017

The New York Times— Nothing would make a provocateur like Mr. Spencer happier than a violent attempt at shutting him down. Violence generates still more attention for his cause, while sacrificing the moral clarity of peaceful protest. It frightens away potential supporters, alienates the public and allows opponents to claim that "both sides" are at fault. Most dangerously, engaging in violence will only guarantee more in return, whether from one's political adversaries or the state. As the research of Erica Chenoweth, a political scientist at the University of Denver, demonstrates, engaging in violence has historically empowered fascists, who are experts in its use.

When shows of strength are risky: the case for restraint on North Korea

October 19, 2017

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists— As the United States conducts 10 days of joint naval exercises with South Korea, the rationale is easy enough to understand: The exercises, which take place annually, are designed to reassure US allies South Korea and Japan, and deter North Korea from aggressive action. Indeed, as policy goals, US reassurance and deterrence have become ever more important in recent months. Pyongyang kicked off the summer by successfully firing its first intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, followed with a series of missile tests, and successfully exploded its first hydrogen bomb on Sept. 3. During that time, Kim Jong-un's regime threatened to launch ballistic missiles towards the US military base in Guam—a threat it renewed last week—and fired ballistic missiles over Japan on two occasions. US allies in Asia are understandably nervous.

Is Nonviolence—or Fighting Back—the Answer to Far-Right Thuggery?

October 4, 2017

The Nation— "This is not about who controls the most violence; it's about who controls the legitimacy of the political space," insists Erica Chenoweth, the co-author of Why Civil Disobedience Works. Chenoweth cites Martin Luther King Jr.'s advocacy of nonviolent yet uncompromising resistance to state and vigilante violence. By maintaining discipline in the face of relentless abuse, the movement that King led attracted mass support and ultimately helped to deliver such substantive victories as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Just so today, Chenoweth maintains, progressives should use "innovative techniques" that push progressive goals while avoiding the street fights sought by the armed right.

Last month, 83% of U.S. protests were against Trump

September 29, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage For August 2017, we tallied 834 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 175,625 and 205,178 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far 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. At 31 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. In this case, we estimate that August 2017 saw a notable increase in people protesting compared with July, during which we observed between 85,837 and 108,344 people participating in crowds.

Catalans and Kurds Discover the Hard Truth About Secession

September 29, 2017

The New York Times— Kurdish leaders are well aware that realpolitik, not ideals, will determine the success of their independence bid, said Morgan L. Kaplan, a political scientist who studies the Kurdish independence movement.

From the Kurdish perspective, the referendum "was supposed to be the first step in a negotiation process with Baghdad," he said. The idea was that appealing to international norms could sway the United States and other foreign powers to support independence. And that, in turn, could help pressure Baghdad to consent to secession.

But the vote has instead galvanized Washington and Baghdad in opposition, illustrating what the scholars Erica Chenoweth and Tanisha M. Fazal have called "the secessionists' dilemma" — that the unstated rules for secession often fail or even backfire.

If the United States Steps Back, Can Innovative Global Governance Step Forward?

September 20, 2017

Council on Foreign Relations International Institutions and Foreign Governments Program— Global governance was once defined as the province of multilateral organizations, whose membership was limited to national governments. For many citizens and policymakers, whether those institutions are viewed with hope or distrust, organizations such as the United Nations or the International Monetary Fund remain the center of attention and the targets of activists. Over the last three decades, however, private corporations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and subnational (state, provincial, and urban) governments have moved from influencing global rules and organizations through their national governments to direct participation in global governance, often working with national governments as partners in innovation.

ISSF Policy Forum On The Gender Gap In Political Science

September 17, 2017

H-Diplo— Political scientists have grown increasingly worried about the gender gap in their profession. According to data provided by the American Political Science Association, while women make up 42 percent of graduate students in the field, they account for only 24 percent of full time professors. While there are far more women in the discipline than even a decade before, most are assistant professors; only 23 percent of associate and full professors are women. Women in academic careers are less likely to get tenure (especially if they have children), and take longer to get promoted than their male colleagues.

Scientists of the world, unite!

September 14, 2017

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists— On April 22, 2017, nearly 1 million people across the United States participated in the March for Science. This was true even though the weather was sometimes uncooperative. Marchers in Philadelphia donned ponchos and rain gear but turned out in droves nonetheless. Some even braved snowstorms, such as the 15,000-to-20,000 protesters who showed up in Denver. Since then, scientists and the pro-science public have resisted budget cuts to federal scientific agencies, demanded that the United States maintain its obligations under the Paris Accords to combat climate change, and conveyed the message that a commitment to scientific inquiry and innovation is a fundamental characteristic of democratic life.

Innovations in Global Governance

September 11, 2017

Council on Foreign Relations International Institutions and Global Governance Program Memo— Over the last three decades, a diverse collection of actors—private corporations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and subnational (state, provincial, and urban) governments—has developed and promoted a global agenda of collective action. From advancing human rights to combating climate change, these actors have become new governors in world politics. More recently, a second movement—a loose array of populist and nationalist groups and governments—has questioned the forward momentum of institutionalized global cooperation. Brexit, followed by the Donald J. Trump administration's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as proposed cuts in U.S. contributions to the United Nations and development assistance, suggest a weakening—if not undermining—of the network of treaties, institutions, and relationships constructed over the last seventy years.

Terrorism Research Initiative Awards Dissertation Prize to Former Sié Postdoc Steven T. Zech

September 3, 2017

Perspectives on Terrorism— Former Sié Center Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr. Steven T. Zech (2015- 2017) has been awarded a prize for the best doctoral dissertation in the field of terrorism and counter-terrorism studies. The Terrorism Research Initiative identified Dr. Zech's dissertation Between Two Fires: Civilian Resistance During Internal Armed Conflict in Peru as having demonstrated originality in terms of introducing new data, theory or methodology, and manifesting novelty/uniqueness in its findings. Dr. Zech was among the first class of Sié Post-Doctoral Fellows, and the Sié Center congratulates him on this remarkable achievement.

Cullen Hendrix Receives 2017 J. David Singer Data Innovations Award

September 1, 2017

American Political Science AssociationThe American Political Science Association recognized Cullen Hendrix and colleague Idean Salehyan with the 2017 J. David Singer Data Innovations Award at its Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The award, given every two years, recognizes the best data contribution to the study of any and all forms of political conflict, either within or between nation-states. Professor Hendrix and Idean Salehyan received the award for their work on the Social Conflict Analysis Database. A number of graduate and PhD students work alongside Professor Hendrix on the Social Conflict Analysis Database project, which is housed at the University of Denver. 

Resistance in Denver: DU's Erica Chenoweth on Activism in the Trump Era

August 29, 2017

Westword— Erica Chenoweth can tell you that the average nonviolent protest movement achieves its goal in just three years, three to four times shorter than violent campaigns. The University of Denver professor is also quick to cite her finding that nonviolent campaigns have double the rate of success of their bloody counterparts.

Denver's seen plenty of nonviolent protests this year. According to the Crowd Counting Consortium, a project Chenoweth co-directs, the 42 protests in Denver following the 100,000-person Women's March in January have been attended by an estimated 34,500 people. And the recent counter-protests against white supremacists in Charlottesville and Boston irrefutably underscored the importance and risks of political demonstration. Westword spoke with Chenoweth about what her research on political violence and peaceful resistance tells us about today's protesting and how Denver can engage in activism. 

Trump Risks Backlash in Farm Belt States if NAFTA Gets Scrapped

August 23, 2017

CNBC— "In general there's a disconnect between Trump on the campaign trail, which is the Trump we see at these rallies, and Trump in the Oval Office," said Cullen Hendrix, a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Washington-based think tank. "He tends to make pretty bold claims and then we see little in the way of follow-through on the policy side."

Hendrix added: "My guess is once he gets back to Washington, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue or [Commerce Secretary] Wilbur Ross will reacquaint him with the electoral map, which shows that leaving NAFTA would put the hammer to many of his supporters and GOP strongholds in the Great Plains. He's going to need those senators to support any renegotiated NAFTA." 

An Intimate History of Antifa

August 22, 2017

The New Yorker— There is a moral logic to this notion of anticipatory self-defense, but the progression, from writing letters to fighting with guns, is worrisome nonetheless. Right-wing militiamen in Charlottesville made a point of displaying force, and this was reportedly "unnerving to law enforcement officials on the scene." Should anti-Fascists start toting AR-15s, like the right-wing Oathkeepers? The idea can seem naïve in an American context, where, practically speaking, only white people can carry guns openly without fear of police interference. Bray mentions a few pro-gun antifa groups, including the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, and a collective with the punning moniker Trigger Warning; he quibbles with liberal scholars, including Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan, who dismiss violent protest as an ineffective tool for garnering public support. But it is unclear from the book whether he thinks that brandishing guns is an ethical concern as well as a tactical one, or whether he worries about an escalation of violence. Postwar antifa, as Bray details in earlier chapters, has largely been a European project, in which opposing sides sometimes beat each other senseless and stabbed one another to death. They didn't have assault rifles. The Battle of Cable Street was fought with rocks and paving stones.

American Politics Are Becoming Violent. But Peaceful Movements Have Power

August 22, 2017

The Guardian— It looks like we may have to expect growing violence on the part of Trump's ever shrinking yet increasingly emboldened supporters. That's a troubling prospect, especially with an administration that fails to differentiate between neo-Nazi aggressors and civilian groups seeking to defend themselves.

Yet now more than ever, it's important to remember that meaningful and lasting change has rarely been brought forth by the hands of young men who carry out violence, but rather by the people bravely moving forward in nonviolent resistance.

The power of nonviolent civil resistance has been convincingly argued by professors Erica Chenoweth and Maria J Stephan in their now classic 2014 essay, Drop Your Weapons: When and Why Civil Resistance Works (an update of their 2011 book, Why Civil Resistance Works). Chenoweth then updated that analysis, sharing it in a lengthy interview with the Nation in February on the most effective tactics for confronting the Trump regime. 

Defending Obamacare, cheering President Trump, opposing animal cruelty: Here's who rallied in July and why.

August 21, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— For July, we tallied 744 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in each state and the District. Our conservative guess is that between 85,837 and 108,344 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far more participants. Because mainstream media often neglects to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place. Sometimes no one reports the size of the crowd, which adds to the undercounting of participants.

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. In this case, we estimate that July saw a major decrease in people protesting compared with June, during which we observed 954,298 to 1,173,771 people participating in crowds.

Indivisible Denver Hosts Workshop Aimed at Confronting White Privilege and Supremacy

August 20, 2017

The Denver Post— Following the events in Charlottesville, Va., the Movement for Black Lives called for white people and non-black people of color to gather and address how they can help dismantle white supremacy.

The request spurred Indivisible Denver, along with University of Denver professors Erica Chenoweth and Marie Berry, to plan a last-minute workshop. Chenoweth thought it would attract 40 or so people. But on Saturday, the Shorter Community AME Church's pews, which seat about 1,000, were nearly full.

"It's a time when people of privilege have to step up and denounce racism and white supremacy in all of its forms," Chenoweth said. "This was one tiny action I could take in fulfilling that responsibility."

In the Age of Trump, Resistance Isn't Futile

August 15, 2017

5280 Magazine— Six months into President Donald Trump's administration, protests (and counterprotests) to his policies and agenda are only increasing, and Denver is taking a leading role in the resistance.

Over the weekend, violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, as a group of so-called white nationalists descended upon the college town for a planned "Unite the Right" rally. On Saturday, one person was killed and more than a dozen were injured when a man drove his vehicle into a crowd of counterprotesters.

While the disorder witnessed in Charlottesville isn't uncommon in our national history of political protests, University of Denver professor Erica Chenoweth says that nonviolent mass mobilization is traditionally a more powerful way to create lasting change.

Mercenaries Aren't a Solution to Afghanistan's Forever War

August 9, 2017

The Washington Post— "Everything we know about successful counterinsurgency tells us that it requires close integration between political goals and forces. It is the tethering of force to common and shared concerns that begin to build its legitimacy and thus the political buy-in on which stable governance is built," wrote Deborah Avant of the University of Denver. "But with [private military companies] you often trade integration away. This has been particularly true with U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan." 

Kenyan Women Just Fought One of the Most Violent Campaigns in History

August 7, 2017

Foreign Policy—During the political primaries in April, Ann Kanyi, who was vying for her party's nomination for the Tetu parliamentary seat in Kenya's Aug. 8 general election, was dragged from her car and brutally beaten by four unidentified masked men wielding metal bars and a gun. During the assault, one of them demanded she quit politics. She was not the only woman physically attacked during the primaries after wading into the testosterone-fueled arena of Kenyan politics: Other female candidates were robbed by men armed with machetes and batons, had their motorcades attacked and supporters killed, and were beaten and threatened with public stripping.

Erik Prince's Private Air Force in Afghanistan Faces Many Legal Hurdles

August 6, 2017

Military Times— Prince's proposal may also violate the spirit of the Montreux Document — an international agreement that outlines best practices for private military companies. The "U.S. Government's support of the Montreux Document is active and continuous, according to the Department of Defense.

"Under best practices outlined in the Montreux Document, a contracting state should both be responsible for the actions of its contractors and take steps to avoid potential disaster," Deborah Avant told Military Times.

"Those steps would include ensuring that they don't assign to contractors activities that [International Humanitarian Law or the Law of Armed Conflict] assigns to state actors – I think bombing would fall in that category," she added.

How to Keep the FARC Guerrillas Out of the Fight

August 3, 2017

The New York Times—After years of tumultuous peace talks, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as FARC, bid a final farewell to arms in June. The act heralds the end of a 52-year conflict. But for Colombia to decisively break with its past, it must be smart in its approach to reintegrating FARC combatants back into society.

The task is daunting: How do you keep people who have been fighting for decades from rearming? Giving aid to former fighters remains controversial, but new evidence-based strategies provide reason for hope that reintegration can succeed despite the challenges.

The FARC members' background presents a first hurdle. As Communist ideologues with links to the narco-economy, many of its members were recruited from poor, rural families as children, and have been guerrilla fighters for so long they know no other life. Most have had little formal schooling and are not accustomed to civilian life.

More people in the U.S. protested in June than in any month since the January Women's Marches.

July 25, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— For June 2017, we tallied 818 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District of Columbia. Our conservative guess is that from 954,298 to 1,173,771 people showed up at these political gatherings last month, although it is likely there were far 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. Sometimes no one reports the size of the crowd, which contributes to undercounting.

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. In this case, we estimate that June saw a staggering ninefold increase from May in the number of people protesting. In May, during which we observed from 100,807 to 128,464 people participating in crowds.

In fact, our best-guess tally suggests that more people likely participated in crowds in June than in any month since January.

Private military contractors aren't going to do a better job in Afghanistan. Here's why.

July 12, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— The New York Times reported July 10 on meetings between President Trump, his top advisers and private military and security company (PMSC) magnates, Erik Prince (founder of Blackwater) and Stephen A. Feinberg (owner of DynCorp International) to discuss plans for having contractors take over U.S. operations in Afghanistan. The plans are said to hew closely to the Wall Street Journal op-ed Erik Prince published in June proposing a "MacArthur solution" to Afghanistan. Like the historical analogy it borrows from, the plan proposes a U.S. viceroy, but unlike MacArthur, the viceroy would carry out his plans with the help of a private army.

Could such a plan actually improve counterinsurgency, leading to the success that has thus eluded the U.S. (and NATO)? In a word: no. And the plan is much more than a different strategy; it reformulates (one might say privatizes) U.S. goals.

Violence Against Female Politicians

July 11, 2017

Council on Foreign Relations Even in situations where quotas or legislative measures exist to increase the number of women in office, female politicians can face grave danger. Marie E. Berry, a professor of sociology at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, whose work focuses on women in political office in sub-Saharan Africa, observes that in Kenya, despite a court-issued two-thirds 'gender rule,' which stipulates that no elected body in the country can be more than two-thirds one gender, "women running for political office face profound impediments to their success and many face extraordinary rates of violence, both while running for office and once in political office."

Mexico is No Longer No.1 U.S. Corn-Buyer After Trade Tensions

July 6, 2017

Bloomberg NewsMexico's attitude toward the reliability of U.S. agricultural suppliers will help set the tone of NAFTA renegotiation, said Cullen Hendrix, a professor of international relations at the University of Denver and a fellow at the Peterson Institute of International Economics in Washington.

"Agriculture for the most part likes NAFTA and would like as little disruption as possible," he said. "But if you start seeing ag used as a poker chip in the negotiations, with concessions made to get something in another sector, you'll see Mexico work even harder to diversify."

Why Farmers Are Anxious About NAFTA

June 29, 2017

The EconomistNAFTA has also created surprisingly integrated supply chains. Consider pork, writes Cullen Hendrix of the University of Denver in a paper for the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think-tank. In 2014 America imported 3.9m eight-to-12-week-old piglets which had been born and weaned on Canadian farms. These were fattened up on farms in Iowa, Minnesota or Illinois until they were ready for slaughter and processing. Many of the resulting pork cutlets were then exported back into Canada. 

In Trump's America, who's protesting and why? Here's our May report.

June 26, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— For May 2017, we tallied 495 protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that 100,807 to 128,464 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely that there were far 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. Sometimes no one reports the size of the crowd, which makes undercounting more likely.

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. In this case, we note that fewer people protested in May than in April, when 637,198 to 1,181,887 people turned out.

What you should know about Cory Gardner's meeting with accused human rights abuser Rodrigo Duterte

June 6, 2017

The Colorado IndependentOliver Kaplan, a professor at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies who specializes in human rights and did field work in the Philippines, said he was a bit surprised when he heard about Gardner's meeting with Duterte.

"Ideally the United States should be strongly pressing Duterte on human rights issues," he says. "So to the extent that Gardner did that it's a good thing. But to the extent that it's not really verifiable and that it wasn't done more publicly, it's not clear why a senator is going over there alone doing that." 

The Anatomy of Resistance – Where We (the People) Won & Why: Episode 1

June 5, 2017

A new podcast by Erica Chenoweth and Anthony Grimes. Check out our inaugural episode on the Women's March, featuring Paola Mendoza and Sarah Sophie Flicker. Listen here>>

New data shows a sharp increase in U.S. protest activity in April

May 22, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— For April 2017, we tallied 950 protests, demonstrations, 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 637,198 and 1,181,887 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely that there were far more participants. Because the media often do not report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place.

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. In this case, we note that April had a 62 percent increase over the number of reported crowds in March.

The Industry of Inequality: Why the World is Obsessed with Private Security

May 14, 2017

The Guardian At Denver University, Prof Deborah Avant said the private security industry had surged with contracts during the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when "an army of private workers flooded in to do all sorts of things".

Afterwards, she said, companies "began to look elsewhere ... at private security domestically but also for people living abroad, and for the private sector; for companies".

Growing economic inequality was also part of the story, she said. "You have a ton more [money] than everyone around you, so you want to protect it. Getting [security] from the private sector is an obvious way to do it."

Experts on Authoritarianism are Absolutely Terrified by the Comey Firing

May 11, 2017

VoxComey's firing sparked immediate questions in the press — Is this Watergate? Will Trump be impeached? — all of which are legitimate and serious questions. But they're not answerable now. In the meantime, all we have to go on is what we know to have happened: The president fired the person who was investigating him and his associates.

To people who study the rise of authoritarian leaders, just those facts alone are terrifying. 

"This is very common — in semi-authoritarian and authoritarian regimes," Erica Chenoweth, a professor at the University of Denver, tells me. "Purges, summary firings, imprisonment: These are all things that authoritarian leaders do when they attempt to rid themselves of rivals within government."

How Abnormal Was Comey's Firing? Experts Weigh In

May 10, 2017

The New York Times F.B.I. directors' 10-year terms are in place "precisely to avoid undermining the directors' independence in investigating high officials," said Erica Chenoweth, a professor of international studies at the University of Denver. 

What it'll take for Venuezela's protests to work, according to an opposition expert

April 26, 2017

The Washington Post— These are some of the largest protests the country has ever seen. But will they work? Erica Chenoweth, a political scientist at the University of Denver, has some thoughts.

Chenoweth studies mass movements. In some of her more recent research, she's looked at every popular effort to overthrow the government — some 500 of them. And she's sliced, diced and quantified the data to figure out what makes these movements effective. According to her research, mass protests are most likely to work when a couple of factors are present.

For one thing, she says big numbers are important, but only if they represent really diverse segments of society. And participation doesn't have to be overwhelming. Get just 3.5 percent of a country's population onto the street, and your movement is likely to work.

War Zone Contractors' Role Under Trump Questioned

April 25, 2017

U.S. News and World Report "It is interesting that people are saying it right now, though, and that may indicate they are looking for a reason to push back against contractors in the current environment," says Deborah Avant, director of the University of Denver's Sie Cheou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy. The argument of military effectiveness could bring all these jobs back under the control of the Department of Defense removing any alternative use for those operating in a war zone.

"There may be a little bit of self-protection on the part of military leaders – they may be worried this commander in chief could go a little rogue," Avant says.

In Trump's America, who's protesting and why? Here's our March report.

April 24, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— For March 2017, we tallied 585 protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that 79,389 to 89,585 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely that there were far 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 occurred. This is particularly true of the "A Day Without a Woman" strikes on March 8. It's virtually impossible to record an accurate tally of participants for strikes, in part because many people deliberately conceal their motivations for skipping out on work or school when they participate.

In Trump's America, who's protesting and why? Here's our February report.

April 5, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— Since tallying attendance at the Women's Marches on Jan. 21, we have continued counting political crowds — and are launching a monthly series of Monkey Cage posts about our findings. Each month the Crowd Counting Consortium will post updates about trends and patterns from the previous month as recorded by our volunteers. (For our counting methods, please see our first post in the series.)

For February 2017, we tallied 762 protests, demonstrations, 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 233,021 and 373,089 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far more participants.

Trump Administration Is Walking Away from Good Governance in Oil, Gas, and Mining

March 27, 2017

Peterson Institute RealTime Economic Issues Watch— In the latest rebuff to the international community, the Trump administration is walking away (link is external)from the successfully negotiated global standard to promote open and accountable management of oil, gas and mining, especially in poor countries. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a groundbreaking multistakeholder initiative to prevent corruption, conflict, human rights violations, and environmental degradation while promoting good governance around extractive industries. The United States had been working toward compliance since 2012. The Trump administration, however, canceled all remaining meetings with nonprofit and industry groups related to EITI, and weekly Department of Interior conference calls related to EITI have been cancelled as well.

The EITI rejection, along with the earlier congressional disapproval of the Cardin-Lugar Amendment (link is external), which required oil, gas, and mineral companies listed on US stock exchanges to disclose billions in payments to foreign-country governments, signals a step back from the US government's commitments to help reform a suite of industries with less-than-stellar records in lifting what is known as the "resource curse."

The Streetlight Effect in Climate-Conflict Research on Africa

March 14, 2017

The Center for Climate and Security— Climate change research on Africa has a streetlight problem: researchers tend to invest more attention on former British colonies and countries with relatively open, stable political systems than other countries, with these factors emerging as more important than objective indicators of "need" like physical exposure to climate change or adaptive capacity. That is, our research seems less guided by objective need and more guided by convenience/safety concerns.

The logic is straightforward: natural and social scientists alike pick cases and field sites for a variety of reasons that have very little to do with objective need or scientific criterion: ease of travel, safety, predictability, familiarity with language, access to professional networks, data availability and an existing literature to which to respond. Given that the Brits kept the most comprehensive colonial records and English has become the lingua franca of scientific communication, all these factors bias case selection toward English-speaking, comparatively politically stable countries like Kenya and South Africa

Why the research into climate change in Africa is biased, and why it matters

March 9, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— Scholars have long been researching the potential effects of climate change in Africa. That's urgent. As the climate changes, billions of lives will change with it. We urgently need to understand and prepare for those changes, including droughts, floods, land loss, and weather changes that may lead to extinctions, widespread hunger, mass displacements, epidemics, conflict and other catastrophic results.

But there's a catch. Instead of examining how climate change will affect the broadest territories with the most exposure to climate change, researchers are going to the countries that are most convenient for them to visit and study. When I examined the existing research, I discovered that we know a lot more about how climate change will affect countries that a) are former British colonies, b) have stronger protections for civil liberties, and c) have more stable political institutions than countries without these characteristics.

The New Trump Immigration Policy Is Bad for US Health

March 8, 2017

Peterson Institute RealTime Economic Issues Watch— The Trump administration has produced a revised executive order that would put a temporary moratorium on refugee resettlement and suspend new visas for residents of six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In a step to avoid the confusion of the administration's earlier immigration order, nationals of those countries already holding visas may travel to the United States.

Many analysts say the new order will still create confusion without making America safer. Less obvious, it may also make America less healthy.

The Immigrant Doctors Project has produced data and detailed maps showing that 7,000 doctors providing roughly 14 million doctors' appointments each year are from the six targeted countries. Moreover, these doctors are highly concentrated in the Rust Belt and Appalachia, regions buffeted both by the relative decline of their manufacturing-led economies and opioid and obesity (link is external) epidemics. Doctors from affected countries provide 1.2 million doctors' appointments in Michigan alone. These states also broke for President Trump in the 2016 election.

NYTimes Trump matrix

Just How Abnormal is the Trump Presidency? Rating 20 Events

February 27, 2017

The New York Times President Trump posts often on Twitter, sometimes against the preferences and without the advice of aides, about policy ideas and reactions to things he sees on TV. "Trump's off-the-cuff tweets have dramatically increased the amount of uncertainty in the world, especially when his appointees and staff contradict the positions he articulates in tweets," said Erica Chenoweth, professor of international studies at the University of Denver. 

ISA Protest International Relations Scholars Protest Travel Ban

February 27, 2017

Inside Higher Ed International relations scholars met for their annual convention last week against the backdrop of a Donald J. Trump presidency. Scholarly business to a large degree continued as usual, with panel sessions on the future of a liberal world order and change in world politics taking on special urgency. Hundreds of sessions covered topics like climate and energy policy, global governance institutions, the rise of populism, terrorism and counterterrorism, and the politics of nuclear weapons.

USAID report USAID Publishes Struggles from Below: Literature Review on Human Rights Struggles by Domestic Actors 

February 27, 2017

A literature review authored by Erica Chenoweth, Tricia Olsen, Kyleanne Hunter, Pauline Moore, and Heidi Reynolds-Stenson has been released. In 2016, USAID's Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance launched its Learning Agenda—a set of research questions designed to address the issues that confront staff in USAID field offices working on the intersection of development and democracy, human rights, and governance. This literature review—produced by a team of economists, political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists—synthesizes scholarship from diverse research traditions on the following Learning Agenda question: What do we know about the role of citizens, social movements, and other domestic civic actors (as opposed to transnational actors or government officials) in advocating for particular human rights outcomes in their country? And what can we learn from the successes and failures of their activities?

 AP Photo / Alex Brandon How to Topple a Dictator 

February 24, 2017

The Nation As hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in efforts to resist Donald Trump, Professor Erica Chenoweth has been obsessed with one question: How many people exactly? Erica Chenoweth is one the leading scholars on authoritarian regimes and how to overthrow them. In her book Why Civil Resistance Works, she compiled 323 cases of nonviolent and violent campaigns in order to assess which were more successful in achieving their stated goals of regime change. Much to her surprise, Chenoweth discovered that nonviolent campaigns were nearly twice as effective as armed campaigns over the past century. 

AwardErica Chenoweth of the University of Denver and Laura Dugan of the University of Maryland win CFPJ Best Paper Prize  

February 17, 2017

David Carment, editor of the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal (CFPJ), announced that Erica Chenoweth and Laura Dugan have won the 2016 CFPJ Best Paper Prize for "The Canadian Way of Counterterrorism: Introducing the GATE-Canada Data Set.:
The paper is freely available on the CFPJ website and its affiliate policy website.
The prize is awarded annually for the best article published in the CFPJ. Each refereed contribution is eligible for consideration and members of CFPJ's editorial and international advisory board judge the articles based on scholarship, contribution to knowledge and debate, writing style and audience accessibility. Continue reading>>

Forbes March How is GIS Being Used to Map Resistance and Political Protests? 

January 31, 2017

ForbesDespite Conway's remarks, a Google Doc started by Jeremy Pressman at the University of Connecticut and Erica Chenoweth of the University of Denver soon began to collect crowd-sourced estimates from the Women's Marches on January 20, 2017 organized by city, state and country. As they say on the public spreadsheet, "We are not collecting this data as part of a research project. We are doing this in the public interest. We are not affiliated with any other efforts to collect data on the demonstrations." Over at Vox, graphics reporter Sarah Frostenson turned their data into a static map. Other researchers also weighed in. Doug Duffy, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, made an interactive map of Pressman and Chenoweth's data here and posted the visualization to his GitHub page. He even cleaned the data for easy download and reuse (with attribution) by others.

Vox March The Women's Marches May Have Been the Largest Demonstration in US History

January 31, 2017

VoxAccording to data collected by Erica Chenoweth at the University of Denver and Jeremy Pressman at the University of Connecticut, marches held in more than 600 US cities were attended by at least 4.2 million people. "Even using a conservative estimate, it was the single largest day for a demonstration in the US," Chenoweth, an expert on political protests and civil resistance, told us. Every state in America hosted a Women's March, as you can see in the map above. The events ranged from tiny gatherings in small town squares to throngs of more than 500,000 people clogging streets in cities like Washington, DC, and Los Angeles.  Continue reading>>

Womens March The Secrets to a Successful Protest

January 31, 2017

Radio National The first ten days of Donald Trump's presidency saw large protests across the United States and around the world including the Women's March on inauguration weekend, protests against the executive order on immigration and British protests against his state visit. Professor Erica Chenoweth studies the success or failure of protest movements. She explains the factors that will determine whether this movement will lose momentum or grow into a powerful political force.

Planet Jackson Hole Moments vs. Movements

January 31, 2017

Planet Jackson Hole Erica Chenoweth is a professor and associate dean for research at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. (She also happens to be performing a global head count on the women's marches along with two colleagues.) As an expert on civil resistance and nonviolent action, her research demonstrates the efficacy of civil disobedience, and points to the importance of this moment in which so many are eager to engage. Participation, Chenoweth says, is key to the success of nonviolent movements, and part of what makes the women's marches so historic. "The capacity for mass mobilization has been expressed ... the marches send a clear message that many do not have faith that their government will represent them," Chenoweth told PJH.

Five Thirty EightPolitics Podcast: The Beginning of the Trump Presidency

January 23, 2017

FiveThirtyEight Donald Trump's first few days as president were marked by executive orders, "alternative facts" and mass protests around the country. This week, the FiveThirtyEight politics podcast crew breaks down Trump's inauguration speech and chats with contributor Julia Azari about what presidents can accomplish in their first 100 days. Plus, University of Denver professor Erica Chenoweth discusses the Women's Marches, which drew more than 3 million people across the United States, and her research on the hallmarks of successful protest movements. 

Womens March Atlantic The Exhausting Work of Taylling America's Largest Protest

January 23, 2017

The AtlanticChenoweth studies emerging political movements, so she jumped on the opportunity to watch a new one perhaps begin to unfold here in the U.S. But more fundamentally, she said, the act of counting itself is an important one. "It's a really empowering thing to be noticed and to be tallied," she said. "That actually came to be much more evident to me when people started emailing us and tweeting at us, reporting that they had two, five, seven, 12 people in their tiny outpost." 

Women's March Time See Just How Big Over 200 Women's Marches Were All Across the Country

January 23, 2017

TIME MagazineJeremy Pressman of the University of Connecticut and Erica Chenoweth of the University of Denver gathered both the lowest and highest estimates for 605 U.S. cities and came up with a range for each city.
Of those 605 cities, Pressman and Chenoweth estimate that at least 1,000 people showed up in 209. The following visualization shows how large the protests are estimated to be in each of those cities, while the total counts include remaining smaller protests as well.

CCNY logo Carnegie Corporation of New York Awards Sié Center $1 Million to Study Inclusion

January 13, 2017

The University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies today announced that the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy, a leading research center at the School, was awarded a $1 million, two-year grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The grant is toward a "Bridging the Academic-Policy Gap" program that will generate and disseminate policy-relevant research on pressing global issues. It follows an earlier, $1 million grant from the philanthropic foundation in support of the initiative.