Skip navigation

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

Faculty Panel

News

Sié Center News

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.


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.'


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.


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

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.


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.