Civilian Participation in Violence and Politics: Ideology, Networks, and Action in Peru and India

How and why do ordinary people in democratic states participate in violent revolution? I explore variation in the confluence of civilians' participation in status quo politics - through both electoral channels and civil society action - and in violent insurgencies that seek to conquer the state. During war, civilians are agents and articulators of political mobilization, and rebels coopt and exploit social and political networks, which draw on historical forms of organization and activism as well as a long trajectory of political ideas about race, citizenship, and class.

Through a comparative study of Peru's Shining Path and the Naxalite movement in India, I argue that an insurgency's particular ideological interpretations and conceptions of membership shape civilian support by influencing everyday social relations between rebels and civilians. Rebels' ideas, implemented through indoctrination and strategic action, change networks of participation and civilians' opportunities to engage in politics.

Ongoing Research Projects

Constructing memory and citizenship from mass graves in Latin America: a comparative study of post-war forensic politics in Peru and Colombia

How communities and companies negotiate to address local mining conflicts in Peru: the roles of local politics and international norms (with Deborah Avant and Tricia Olsen)

“Humanizing the Enemy”: How Colombian citizens and demobilized combatants understand and practice trust in behavioral games (with Sebastián Bitar, Angelika Rettberg, and Michael Weintraub)

How forensic investigations after wartime violence contribute to building spaces for transnational memory and activism (chapter in edited volume Agency in Transnational Memory Politics: A Framework for Analyzing Practice)

Local political struggles and Maoist rebels’ networks: ideology and peasant mobilization in Telangana, India (1946-1951)

Civilian protection and aid delivery during civil war: the politics behind early warning of mass atrocities in Sri Lanka, 2000-2009 (chapter of an edited volume on Preventing Mass Atrocities, which I am co-editing with Andrew Bennett)

Recent Analysis

"More people in the U.S. protested in June than in any month since the January Women’s Marches." Monkey Cage, Washington Post, 25 July 2017.

"Power Politics Meets Personal Persuasion: The Role of the Next UN Secretary General," Political Violence at a Glance, 20 September 2016.

"Legacy of Violence and Peru's Politics: Activism Against Authoritarianism," Political Violence at a Glance, 12 July 2016.

"Broadening the Conversation: From Research Transparency to a Politics of Knowledge Building," Political Violence at a Glance, 16 February 2016. 

"Combating Corruption and Violence: A Struggle for Accountability on Two Fronts," Political Violence at a Glance, 20 October 2015. 

"Unsilencing Pakistan: A Symposium on Nonviolent Activism Against Violence," Political Violence at a Glance, 16 June 2015.

"Nonviolent Mobilization Against State Impunity Through Forensic Anthropology," Political Violence at a Glance, 17 March 2015.

"Kejriwal's AAP Looks for Second Chance in Delhi Vote," Suffragio, 6 February 2015.