Distinguished Speaker Series on Nonviolent Action and Civil Resistance

Event Details

October 1, 2013
4:00 pm

Campus Center

Room: 904-08

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Free admission
Debbie Weyl


Why Civil Resistance Works: Unarmed Conflict in the Past and Future

Refreshments will be served

This event is free and open to all


Between 1900 and 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as violent insurgencies. In this talk, Chenoweth will review the impressive historical record of civil resistance in the 20th century and discuss the promise of unarmed struggle in the 21st century. She will draw 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, information, 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.


Erica 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). Together with Maria J. Stephan of the U.S. State Department, she is the winner of the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, which is presented annually in recognition of outstanding proposals for creating a more just and peaceful world order. Their book, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (Columbia University Press), also won the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award given annually by the American Political Science Association in recognition of the best book on government, politics, or international affairs published in the U.S. during the previous calendar year.

Before coming to DU, Chenoweth taught at Wesleyan University, where she 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, UC-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 has authored several books, including Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict with Maria J. Stephan; and Rethinking Violence: States and Non-State Actors in Conflict with Adria Lawrence of Yale University. Her next book, Why Democracy Encourages Terrorism, explores the underlying reasons why terrorism is so common in democratic countries. She has published over a dozen articles in scholarly journals and edited volumes.

Chenoweth has presented 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, The Boston Globe, Foreign Policy, The Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. 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.

Chenoweth 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.

Event Category

Lecture/Talk Psychology