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About Erica Chenoweth
Chenoweth's research focuses on political violence and its alternatives. Foreign Policy magazine ranked them among the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2013 for their efforts to promote the empirical study of civil resistance. Chenoweth's book, Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford, 2021), explores in an accessible and conversational style what civil resistance is, how it works, why it sometimes fails, how violence and repression affect it, and the long-term impacts of such resistance.
Chenoweth's other books include Civil Action and the Dynamics of Violence (Oxford, 2019), with Deborah Avant, Marie Berry, Rachel Epstein, Cullen Hendrix, Oliver Kaplan, and Timothy D. Sisk; The Oxford Handbook of Terrorism (Oxford, 2019) with Richard English, Andreas Gofas, and Stathis N. Kalyvas; The Politics of Terror (Oxford, 2018) with Pauline Moore; Rethinking Violence: States and Non-State Actors in Conflict (MIT, 2010) with Adria Lawrence; Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (Columbia University Press, 2011) with Maria J. Stephan; and Political Violence (Sage, 2013). Chenoweth has also published their work in International Security, The Journal of Politics, American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Peace Research, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Mobilization: An International Quarterly, and Political Research Quarterly, among others.
In 2014, they received the Karl Deutsch Award, which the International Studies Association gives annually to the scholar under the age of 40 who has made the greatest impact on the field of international politics or peace research. And together with Maria J. Stephan, they won 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, 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. in the previous calendar year.
Along with Jeremy Pressman of the University of Connecticut, Chenoweth is founding co-director of the Crowd Counting Consortium, a collaborative public interest project that collects data on the size of political crowds protesting within the United States since the first Women's March of 2017.
Before coming to Harvard, Chenoweth taught at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at DU, as well as at Wesleyan University, where they received the 2010 Carol A. Baker Memorial Prize for excellence in junior faculty research and teaching. They have also held prior visiting appointments at Harvard, Stanford University, UC-Berkeley, and the University of Maryland. They have also held research associations or fellowships at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO), the Academic Council at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, the One Earth Future Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. At Harvard, they are a Faculty Affiliate of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and a Faculty Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
Chenoweth has presented their research all over the world at various academic conferences, government workshops, and international governmental organizations including at the 2013 World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates held in Warsaw. Their research and commentary has been featured in They New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Economist, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, TEDxBoulder, The New Republic, The Guardian, The Atlantic, and elsewhere.
Along with Barbara F. Walter of UCSD and Joseph K. Young of American University, Chenoweth hosts the award-winning blog Political Violence @ a Glance. In addition, Chenoweth hosts a blog called Rational Insurgent and has been an occasional blogger at The Monkey Cage and Duck of Minerva.
Chenoweth received an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Colorado and a B.A. in political science and German from the University of Dayton. They reside in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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For more than a century, from 1900 to 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts in achieving their stated goals. By attracting impressive support from citizens, whose activism takes the form of protests, boycotts, civil disobedience, and other forms of nonviolent noncooperation, these efforts help separate regimes from their main sources of power and produce remarkable results, even in Iran, Burma, the Philippines, and the Palestinian Territories.
Combining statistical analysis with case studies of specific countries and territories, Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan detail the factors enabling such campaigns to succeed and, sometimes, causing them to fail. They find that nonviolent resistance presents fewer obstacles to moral and physical involvement and commitment, and that higher levels of participation contribute to enhanced resilience, greater opportunities for tactical innovation and civic disruption (and therefore less incentive for a regime to maintain its status quo), and shifts in loyalty among opponents' erstwhile supporters, including members of the military establishment.
Chenoweth and Stephan conclude that successful nonviolent resistance ushers in more durable and internally peaceful democracies, which are less likely to regress into civil war. Presenting a rich, evidentiary argument, they originally and systematically compare violent and nonviolent outcomes in different historical periods and geographical contexts, debunking the myth that violence occurs because of structural and environmental factors and that it is necessary to achieve certain political goals. Instead, the authors discover, violent insurgency is rarely justifiable on strategic grounds.
Civil resistance is a method of conflict through which unarmed civilians use a variety of coordinated methods (strikes, protests, demonstrations, boycotts, and many other tactics) to prosecute a conflict without directly harming or threatening to harm an opponent. Sometimes called nonviolent resistance, unarmed struggle, or nonviolent action, this form of political action is now a mainstay across the globe. It was been a central form of resistance in the 1989 revolutions and in the Arab Spring, and it is now being practiced widely in Trump's America. If we are going to understand the manifold protest movements emerging around the globe, we need a thorough understanding of civil resistance and its many dynamics and manifestations.
In Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know®, Erica Chenoweth -- one of the world's leading scholars on the topic--explains what civil resistance is, how it works, why it sometimes fails, how violence and repression affect it, and the long-term impacts of such resistance. Featuring both historical cases of civil resistance and more contemporary examples such as the Arab Awakenings and various ongoing movements in the United States, this book provides a comprehensive yet pithy overview of this enormously important subject.
The volume locates terrorism within the wider spectrum of political violence instead of engaging in the widespread tendency towards treating terrorism as an exceptional act. Moreover, the volume makes a case for studying terrorism within its socio-historical context. Finally, the volume addresses the critique that the study of terrorism suffers from lack of theory by reviewing and extending the theoretical insights contributed by several fields - including political science, political economy,
history, sociology, anthropology, criminology, law, geography, and psychology. In doing so, the volume showcases the analytical advancements and reflects on the challenges that remain since the emergence of the field in the early 1970s.