Aila Matanock, Professor

Closed (1) Conflict, Crime, and Intervention

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

This research project examines civil conflict and crime, how and why foreign intervention occurs by domestic invitation, as well as to what effect these invited interventions have on the rule of law.

Intervention by invitation is increasingly used by intergovernmental organizations pooling resources to deal with transnational concerns. The treaties that enact these agreements are an understudied innovation in stabilizing weak countries.

This research project will examine when and why governance delegation agreements occur empirically, as well as what effects they have. We will also be doing some focused work on the causes and consequences of such an intervention by the U.N. in Guatemala (CICIG), collecting both qualitative and quantitative data, and on the peace process in Colombia.


Research assistants will be asked to work on these projects, including specific tasks such as: (1) compiling and cleaning data using simple rules on Guatemalan court cases and crime rates in municipalities, (2) reading, translating, and summarizing notes on CICIG, (3) providing support on the policing project, (4) gathering and processing information available on the internet or in government documents, (5) otherwise participating in these research projects.

Students will learn how to conduct social science research. Regular research meetings will discuss how to formulate hypotheses, operationalize variables, collect data, and empirically test theories.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Natalia Garbiras-Díaz, Graduate Student

Qualifications: Applicants should have an interest in conflict and international intervention, as well as more broadly in research. At least one Spanish speaker is sought. Knowledge of statistical packages and related (e.g., Excel, Stata, R, and others) is helpful but not necessary. Attendance at regular one-hour meetings is required.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Closed (2) Making Migrations: The Strategic Use of Population Displacement in Civil Conflicts

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

The number of people forcibly displaced by conflict and violence worldwide has swelled to 65 million, the highest recorded since World War II. While we typically think of population displacement as an unintentional consequence of war, previous research shows that it is often a deliberate strategy pursued by armed groups. Despite these insights, we know little about where, when, and why such tactics are used. This research project is the first study to systematically analyze displacement as a tool of armed conflict. We will collect new data from the post-Cold War period, develop fresh conceptual and theoretical insights, and use multiple approaches to examine the conditions under which armed groups intentionally uproot civilian populations in wartime. As ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and elsewhere continue to produce overwhelming numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, this timely research will aid policy efforts to mitigate and better respond to these crises.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Adam Lichtenheld, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Research assistants will be asked to: (1) compile data on forced displacement, patterns of violence, and other political-military dynamics in post-Cold War civil wars, and (2) write brief case studies and memos detailing evidence of armed groups deliberately displacing civilian populations. Students will be asked to collect data from a variety of sources, including international human rights reports, the news, and existing datasets, to create a new dataset. Students may also have some opportunities to conduct quantitative analysis if they are interested. Students will learn how to conduct social science research. Regular research meetings will discuss how to formulate hypotheses, collect data, and empirically test theories. Qualifications: Applicants should have an interest in conflict, displacement, and social science research more broadly. Some coursework in political science, particularly international relations and comparative politics, is preferred. Completion of PS3 or other quantitative courses is preferred but not necessary. Ability to work independently and remotely is a must. Attendance at regular check-ins via Skype is required, as the lead researcher will often be off-campus.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs