Universiteit Leiden

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Political Science Lunch Research Seminar: Democracy and Displacement in Colombia’s Civil War

  • Abbey Steele
Wednesday 14 June 2017
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Political Science Lunch Research Seminar

What explains civilian displacement during civil war? Democracy and Displacement in Colombia’s Civil War, forthcoming with Cornell University Press, presents a framework for understanding when displacement is a byproduct of war, and when armed groups attempt to intentionally expel civilians from communities. It shows how political reforms in the context of Colombia’s ongoing civil war produced unexpected, dramatic consequences: democratic elections revealed Colombian citizens’ political loyalties and allowed counterinsurgent armed groups to implement political cleansing against civilians perceived as loyal to insurgents. By introducing the concepts of collective targeting and political cleansing, the book extends what we already know about patterns of ethnic cleansing to cases where expulsion of civilians from their communities is based on nonethnic traits.

Abbey Steele
Photographer: Paul Staniland

Abbey Steele holds a PhD in political science from Yale University (2010). Her research interests include civil wars, violence, and state-building. Before coming to the University of Amsterdam in 2015, she was an Assistant Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Between 2010 and 2012, she was a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University with the Empirical Studies of Conflict project. She has conducted research in Colombia since 2002, when she was a Fulbright scholar. Currently she is collaborating on the design and implementation of an impact evaluation of the state-building program that USAID and the government are undertaking in Colombia. Her work has been published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Journal of Peace Research, International Studies Quarterly, and Political Geography.

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