S-CAR Research Seminar

S-CAR Research Seminar

The S-CAR Research Seminar is a speakers’ series featuring exciting new research on critical topics in conflict analysis and resolution, broadly conceived.  It is meant to reflect the inter-disciplinary nature of our field, drawing from theories and approaches to knowledge from all parts of the humanities and social sciences. 

Each meeting of the S-CAR Research Seminar will feature new research by a prominent scholar and a vigorous discussion of that research and its implications for the field by the audience.  A paper summarizing the project will be distributed about two weeks before the event.  After a short introduction of the speaker and a 25-minute presentation, a discussant from S-CAR will discuss the work and attendees will be able to ask questions of the speaker.  

All S-CAR community members are encouraged to attend.  Attendees are strongly encouraged to read the paper beforehand! 

The S-CAR Research Seminar is supported by a generous grant from S-CAR’s Point of View committee.

Any questions can be directed to Professor Thomas Flores (tflores2@gmu.edu).

Spring 2013 Schedule

Wednesday, February 27th, 12:00 PM - 1:30PM, Truland 555

Rochelle Davis of Georgetown University

Paper Title: "Counterinsurgency and Culture: The US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan"  Discussant: Thomas E. Flores

 In 2006, culture took on a new role in war with the release of Field Manual 3-24: Counterinsurgency (The COIN Manual). Cultural knowledge was positioned not only be useful for mission effectiveness and battlespace awareness, but that it would also help win the hearts and minds of civilians. The resulting strategizing resulted in an internal change to integrate culture into U.S. military strategy, tactics, and training, and a subsequent push to define what the U.S. military meant by culture and to implement that definition into concrete policy and related training activities. Research conducted between 2007 and 2012, including interviews with US troops and Iraqis, lays out the culture arguments, charts the challenges and conflicts around COIN and culture, and offers lessons for military engagement with culture and conflict.

Watch the video from the event

"Counterinsurgency and Culture: US Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan"



Thursday March 28th, 12:00 PM - 1:30PM, Truland 7th Floor West Wing 

Dr. Caroline Hartzell of Gettysburg College 

Paper Title: " Scourge or Source of Transformation?
Civil War and Women's Rights"

Abstract: Although a growing body of scholarship has sought to examine the relationship between women's status and countries' propensity to engage in armed conflict, there has been virtually no research of a cross-national nature focusing on the effect civil war has on women's rights. I make an effort to shed some light on this issue by seeking answers to two questions in this paper. Focusing on the period 1981-2006, I first ask whether civil war has an impact on women's status (more specifically, women's political, economic, and social rights). Second, I attempt to determine what effects different types of factors related to intrastate conflicts have on women's rights.

Watch the video from the event

"Scourge or Source of Transformation? Civil War and Women's Rights"



Thursday April 25th, 12:00 PM - 1:30PM, Truland 555

Thomes Flores of The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

Paper Title: The Technocratic Advantage? Leadership and IMF Programs 


Abstract: Political economists have identifi ed economic, strategic, and democratic advantages for countries seeking to secure international financing in global credit markets. We propose a technocratic advantage in global finance; leaders with attributes that signal expertise in economics more easily attract fi nancing.

Technocrats can claim wiser economic stewardship, greater ideological commitment to liberal economic principles, and deeper connections with transnational fi nancial networks. The technocratic advantage plays an especially important role for unstable countries. We collect new data on heads of government in 147 countries between 1946 and 2008 and show that leaders have become more educated over time, access to transnational social networks is relatively rare, and that the technocratic advantage works especially strongly in new democracies.

Watch the video from the event

The Technocratic Advantage? Leadership and IMF Programs

Fall 2012 Schedule

Monday, November 12, 12:00 PM-1:30 PM, Truland 555

Idean Salehyan of the University of North Texas

Paper title: “External Rebel Sponsorship and Civilian Abuse: A Principal-Agent Analysis of Wartime Atrocities”  Discussant: Thomas E. Flores

Abstract: While some militant groups work hard to foster collaborative ties with civilians, others engage in egregious abuses and war crimes. We argue that foreign state funding for rebel organizations greatly reduces the incentives of militant groups to the ‘win the hearts and minds’ of civilians because it diminishes the need to collect resources from the population. However, unlike other lucrative resources such as minerals and petroleum, foreign funding of rebel groups must be understood in principal-agent terms. Some external principals—namely, democratic states with strong human rights lobbies—are more concerned with atrocities in the conflict zone than others. Rebels backed by states with these characteristics should engage in comparably less violence than those backed by other states. We also predict that multiple state sponsors lead to abuse, for no single state can effectively restrain the rebel organization. We test these expectations with new disaggregated organization-level data on foreign support for rebel groups and data on one-sided violence against civilians. The results are consistent our argument. We conclude that principal characteristics help influence agent actions, and that human rights organizations exert a powerful effect on the likelihood of civilian abuse and the magnitude of wartime atrocities.

“External Rebel Sponsorship and Civilian Abuse: A Principal-Agent Analysis of Wartime Atrocities”


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