Researcher discusses value of civil resistance

Erica Chenoweth

Erica Chenoweth

The College will host an internationally recognized authority on political violence and its alternatives at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10 in the Mitchell Auditorium.

As part of the Peace and Justice Lecture Series, Erica Chenoweth will give a talk titled "Why Civil Resistance Works." The event is free and everyone is welcome.

Between 1900 and 2015, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were about twice as effective as violent insurgencies, Chenoweth said. She will review the historical record of civil resistance in the 20th century and discuss the promise of unarmed struggle in the 21st century.

She will expand upon her book (co-authored with Maria Stephan) "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict," which won the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. She argues that nonviolent resistance presents fewer obstacles to involvement, information, and commitment, leading to enhanced resilience, improved tactical flexibility, increased opportunity for civic disruption, and shifts in loyalty among opponents' erstwhile supporters.

Chenoweth is an associate professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and an associate senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo. Foreign Policy magazine ranked her among the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2013 for her efforts to promote the empirical study of civil resistance. The presentation is free and open to the public.

The theme for this year's Peace and Justice speaker series is "Is Violence Inevitable?" The speakers are exploring the history of violence from an interpersonal level to war between nations. Refreshments are served after each talk.

The closing event in the series will be on April 7: "Crossing Lines, Doing Time" with Rosalie Riegle (presented in partnership with the Oreck-Alpern Interreligious Forum).