Scholar to Discuss Past and Future of Civil Resistance in Conflicts

Erica Chenoweth of the University of Denver and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo will speak on “Why Civil Resistance Works: Unarmed Conflict in the Past and Future” on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 4 p.m. in 904-08 Campus Center.

In her talk, Chenoweth will review the historical record of civil resistance in the 20th century and discuss the promise of unarmed struggle in the 21st century. She draws from her book, (co-authored with Maria Stephan) “Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict,” which recently won the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. The book argues that nonviolent resistance presents fewer obstacles to involvement and commitment, leading to enhanced resilience, improved tactical flexibility, increased opportunity for civic disruption and shifts in loyalty among opponents’ erstwhile supporters. Moreover, nonviolent resistance movements tend to usher in more durable and internally peaceful democracies, she says.

Chenoweth is associate professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and an associate senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO). While teaching at Wesleyan University, Chenoweth was the 2010 recipient of the Carol A. Baker Memorial Prize for excellence in junior faculty research and teaching. She has also held visiting appointments at Harvard, Stanford, University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Maryland. She is currently the co-chair of the academic advisory board at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

Chenoweth is also the co-author with Adria Lawrence of Yale University of “Rethinking Violence: States and Non-State Actors in Conflict” and is working on her next book, “Why Democracy Encourages Terrorism,” which explores the underlying reasons why terrorism is so common in democratic countries. She has published more than a dozen articles in scholarly journals and edited volumes. Chenoweth presents her research all over the world at various academic conferences, government workshops, and international governmental organizations.

Her research has been featured in the New York Times, The Economist, Boston Globe, Foreign Policy and the Christian Science Monitor. She co-hosts the award-winning blog Political Violence @ a Glance, hosts a blog called Rational Insurgent, and has been an occasional blogger at The Monkey Cage and Duck of Minerva.

She holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in political science from the University of Colorado and a B.A. in political science and German from the University of Dayton.

The lecture is part of the psychology of peace and violence program’s Distinguished Speaker Series on Nonviolent Action and Civil Resistance. Refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to all.