Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Humboldt-Lecture: "The Social Dynamics of Civil War" by Jeffrey T. Checkel

Dec 03, 2015

Alexander von Humboldt Lecture

Alexander von Humboldt Lecture
Image Credit: Christiaan Triebert via Wikimedia Commons; License CC BY 2.0, Terms of a license under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en Link

KFG Senior Fellow Jeffrey T. Checkel, Simon Fraser University, won the prestigious Humboldt Research Award in 2015. On this occasion, the KFG and the Alexander von Humboldt - Foundation would like to cordially invite you to his lecture on the dynamics of civil war.

The lecture titled “The Social Dynamics of Civil War” will take place on Wednesday, 27 January, 2016, from 4 pm to 6 pm in room 22/G at Ihnestr. 22, 14195 Berlin and will be followed by an informal reception hosted by the KFG.

About the lecture:

As inter-state war has almost disappeared, one should easily claim this to be good news. Yet, as Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Colombia and Iraq remind us: Organized political violence persists, but now mostly as civil wars.

We know a lot about civil wars - why they occur, why they end, why they are rarely purely domestic affairs, and what the international community can do to stop them.

At the same time, we know much less about a crucial aspect of such conflicts - what Professor Checkel calls their social dynamics. How do civil wars change feelings of identity and community within a country, and why might this matter? Why do some rebel groups rape indiscriminately, while others do not? Child soldiers are forcibly recruited and often mistreated, yet many choose to stay in a rebel unit. Why?

Answers to such questions require robust, rich theory that crosses disciplinary boundaries and transparent, process-based methods. This may sound like academic mumbo-jumbo, but it is not, as his call for theoretical/methodological innovation runs straight into an inconvenient truth. Much of contemporary political science cares little about theory or tests it with methods that are increasingly sophisticated yet woefully inadequate for measuring dynamic processes.

About the Speaker:

Jeffrey T. Checkel is Professor of International Studies and Simons Chair in International Law and Human Security, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. He is also a Global Fellow and Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo. His research interests include international relations theory, civil war, constructivism, European integration, identity, and qualitative methods. Checkel is the author, editor or co-editor of five books: Ideas and International Political Change: Soviet/Russian Behavior and the End of the Cold War (Yale University Press, 1997); International Institutions and Socialization in Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2007); European Identity (Cambridge University Press, 2009); Transnational Dynamics of Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2013); and Process Tracing: From Metaphor to Analytic Tool (Cambridge University Press, 2015). At FU this year, Professor Checkel is a Senior Fellow at the Kolleg-Forschergruppe “The Transformative Power of Europe.”


To register for the event please click here.