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Working Group

The Non-State Armed Governance Project is designed to build on conversations that take place among the participants in a virtual Working Group on rebel and criminal governance that holds several meetings during the 2022-23 academic year.  The Working Group provides a unique space for building a novel comparative dialogue among scholars, students and researchers studying armed non-state governance in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. Participants in the Working Group consist of faculty from the coordinating team’s respective institutions, graduate students, and faculty from other academic institutions that meet virtually on a regular basis. 


List of scholars (alphabetically) 


Abby Cordova (University of Notre Dame)

Dr. Abby Córdova is an associate professor of global affairs in the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, and a concurrent faculty in the Department of Political Science. Focused on El Salvador, her current book project explores how criminal governance and the militarization of public security makes women more vulnerable to gender-based violence, and its consequences for women’s resistance and political engagement. Her research on gender-based violence is the recipient of a 2022 Harry Frank Guggenheim Distinguished Scholar Award, and the Southern Political Science Association’s 2020 Marian Irish Award for best paper on women and politics.


Alexander Curry (University of London)


Andreas Feldmann (University of Illinois Chicago)

Andreas E. Feldmann is Associate Professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program and Department of Political Science and Principal Investigator of the Global Migration Cluster Initiative at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). He investigates topics at the intersection of Comparative Politics and International Relations, including terrorism, criminal politics, human rights, forced migration, and foreign policy. He is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook on the History of Latin American Migration (2022), New Migration Patterns in the Americas: Challenges for the 21st Century (Palgrave 2018) and co-author of Drug Trafficking and Criminal Governance in Contemporary Latin America: Fuzzy Interfaces and Botched Development for the Elements Series of Cambridge University Press (under contract). His work has been published in journals including The Annual Review of Sociology, Forced Migration Review, International Affairs, Latin American Politics and Society, Migración y Desarrollo, Politics and Society, Revista de Ciencia Política, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence, and Third World Quarterly among othersFeldmann is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Repertoires of Terrorism in Civil War: Organizational Identity and the Production of Inhumanity in Colombia. He has received grants from the Ford Foundation, the International Development Research Centre, and has worked as a consultant for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (2000‒6), Estado de la Nación Costa Rica, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He previously worked at the Instituto de Ciencia Política of the Universidad Católica de Chile and the Human Rights Program of the University of Chicago. He earned a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Notre Dame.


Benjamin Lessing (University of Chicago)

Benjamin Lessing is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Chicago. His first book, Making Peace In Drug Wars (Cambridge University Press, 2018), examines armed conflict between drug cartels and the state in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. His second book, Criminal Leviathans: How Gangs Govern From Behind Bars, argues that mass incarceration and drug repression have not only expanded the criminal domain, but helped organize it, fostering criminal shadow-governments in prisons and urban peripheries that simultaneously defy and undergird the modern carceral state.


Chelsea Estancona (University of South Carolina)

Chelsea Estancona is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina. Her research focuses on the political economy of conflict and criminality. She assesses how volatility in the international market impacts rebels’ and criminals’ behavior toward civilians and the corresponding state response to changes in violent groups’ economic capacity. Her work has been published in International Studies QuarterlyConflict Management and Peace Science, and International Interactions. In addition to her primary research agenda, she is engaged in projects about offshore financial networks and criminality, human rights and dissent, and paramilitary organizations. Additional information can be found on her website: https://clestancona.wixsite.com/chelseaestancona.


Cyanne E. Loyle (Pennsylvania State University)

Cyanne E. Loyle is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Pennsylvania State University and a Global Fellow at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). Cyanne’s current research focuses on transitional justice adopted during and after armed conflict by both government and rebel actors. This research includes over two decades of fieldwork in Rwanda, Uganda, Nepal, Northern Ireland, and Turkey. Cyanne is the co-Director of the Northern Ireland Research Initiative and co-creator of the Post-Conflict Justice (PCJ) and During-Conflict Justice (DCJ) databases. Cyanne is the co-founder of the Rebel Governance Network. Additional information can be found on her website: www.cyanneloyle.com


Daniel Agbiboa (Harvard University)


Daniel Barker Flores (University of Oxford)

Daniel Barker Flores is a doctoral student at The Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. His research focusses on urban security, governance, and state-building in Latin America, and relies on data gathered through multi-sited fieldwork in Mexico, Colombia,  and Brazil. His research is funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, as well Green Templeton College Oxford through the Sir David Watson Scholarship.


Daniel Encinas Zevallos (Northwestern University)

Daniel Encinas Zevallos is a Ph.D Candidate in Political Science at the Northwestern University. My research interests are political regimes, political violence, and subnational politics. I am writing a dissertation about the violent origins of contemporary subnational political regimes in Peru. I also love learning about research methods and trying to contribute to the multi-methods literature.


Daniel Rincón Machón (University of Cambrigde)

Daniel is a PhD candidate at the Center of Development Studies at the University of Cambridge. His research explores the role of digital communication in criminal governance, particularly regarding dynamics of territorial competition and social control. He relies on data gathered through open-source research, and qualitative fieldwork in Northeast Brazil. His research is funded by a La Caixa Fellowship, and a Cambridge Trust International Scholarship. Besides his PhD research, he is also involved in a project studying local governance in post-war Uganda led by Prof. Rebecca Tapscott.


Danielle F. Jung (Emory University)

Danielle F. Jung is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Emory University. Her research centers around understanding governance in fragile contexts. Jung investigates this in a variety of contexts, understanding the role of internal governance structures and service provision on conflict processes and outcomes both theoretically and empirically. In Lynching and Local Justice: Legitimacy and Accountability in Weak States (2020 CUP, with Dara Kay Cohen) she investigates the effects of various governance contexts, including non-state illicit governance, in understanding when citizens turn to self-help forms of governance. Danielle uses a variety of tools including agent-based models, field experiments, and surveys to answer these questions.


David Skarbek (Brown University) 

I study the political economy of institutions and institutional change, with a focus on collective action, norms, and ethnic conflict. My current project explains the operation of informal institutions within prisons globally. My work has appeared in both economics and political science journals, including the American Political Science Review and the Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization. I’ve also published two award-winning books, both with Oxford University Press. I enjoy interdisciplinary program building. In 2010, I joined the newly-established Department of Political Economy at King’s College London. For the next five years, I helped build a new department and degree programs in Political Economy and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. As the inaugural Director of Brown’s PPE Center, we are likewise building a wide range of vibrant academic programs and scholarly conversations that bridge traditional disciplinary boundaries.


Deyaa Alrwishdi (Havard University)

Deyaa Alrwishdi is a doctoral student at Harvard Law School. I am originally from Syria. During the conflict, I founded a network of Syrian lawyers that has provided legal services to people in opposition-controlled areas. My research focuses on armed groups’ and non-state actors’ governmental institutions established during armed conflicts and state failure.


Diana Kim (Georgetown University)

I am an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and a core faculty member of the Asian Studies Program. My scholarship is animated by concerns with how modern states develop capacity to define people at the edges of respectable society, constructing what it means to be illicit, marginal, and deviant. My research and teaching crosses disciplinary boundaries between political science and history, with area focus on Southeast and East Asia. My book, entitled Empires of Vice (Princeton University Press, Histories of Economic Life Series) is a comparative and historical study of opium prohibition across Southeast Asia, which sheds light on the colonial legacies shaping the region’s drug-related problems today. It won the 2021 Giovanni Sartori Book Award and honorable mentions for the Charles Taylor Book Award from the American Political Science Association and the Allan Sharlin Memorial Book Award from the Social Science History Association.


Edgar Franco Vivanco (University of Michigan)

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan. My research interests include Latin American politics, historical political economy, criminal violence, and indigenous politics. My work received the 2021 Heinz I. Eulau Award for the best article published in the APSR. In my book project, tentatively titled Strategies of Indigenous Resistance and Assimilation to Colonial Rule, I study how Indigenous communities survived colonization by using strategies that range from violent collective action to active collaboration, and from voluntary isolation to cultural assimilation. In a second research agenda, I study the causes and effects of criminal violence in Latin America. As part of this work, I am co-authoring a book on criminal violence and policing in Rio de Janeiro.


Elena Barham (Columbia University)

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University. My research interests include contemporary and historical non-state governance, including criminal governance and informal governance in contexts of criminal violence, in Latin America and the United States.


Fernando Montero Castrillo (Columbia University)


Guillermo Sardi García (City University of New York)

Guillermo Sardi García is a Venezuelan political psychologist enrolled in the Political Science Ph.D. at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center (CUNY). He has both academic and applied experience in violence and peacebuilding research. His research interest focus on the connection between state formation, the development of non-state armed groups and the barriers they represent for democratization.


Guillermo Trejo (University of Notre Dame)

Guillermo Trejo is Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame and Director of the Violence and Transitional Justice Lab (V-TJ Lab) at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. Trejo’s research focuses on political and criminal violence, social movements, human rights, and transitional justice in Mexico and Latin America. He is the co-author of Votes, Drugs, and Violence: The Political Logic of Criminal Wars in Mexico (Cambridge University Press, 2020) and the author of Popular Movements in Autocracies: Religion, Repression, and Indigenous Collective Action in Mexico (Cambridge University Press 2012). His research has appeared in the American Political Science Review, British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Peace Research, Latin American Research Review, Perspectives on Politics, and Política y Gobierno, among other outlets. For his work on indigenous movements Trejo received five international awards, including the Gabriel Almond, Mancur Olson, and Jack Walker Awards from the American Political Science Association (APSA), and the Charles Tilly Award from the American Sociological Association (ASA). For his research on drug violence he was the co-recipient of the 2018 Best Article Award from the Editorial Board of Comparative Political Studies and an Honorable Mention from APSA’s Autocracy and Democracy Section.


Hannah Baron (Brown University)

I am a PhD candidate in political science at Brown University. My research examines the politics of punishment, policing and justice attitudes in contexts of high crime and weak rule of law. For the 2022-23 academic year, I am a Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for US-Mexican Studies, UC San Diego. Over 2021-22, I was a Peace Scholar Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, and an Emerging Scholar awarded by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. My dissertation analyzes citizen attitudes and behavior vis-à-vis criminal violence in Mexico.


Helen Kinsella (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)

I am an Associate Professor of Political Science and Law at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. I also hold affiliate faculty positions in the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies, the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the Human Rights Center, and the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change. I was previously an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and an affiliate in the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 2005 to 2018.


Javier Osorio (University of Arizona)

I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona. I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2013. My research interests focus on understanding the micro-foundations and dynamics of political and criminal violence in Latin America. Why are some countries ravaged by high levels of organized crime violence? What are the paths for building safer, more peaceful and democratic countries? These are the core questions guiding my research interests. I address this agenda with a solid quantitative toolset including natural language processing, quasi-experimental and experimental techniques, geographic information systems, and big data analytics. My research focuses on Latin America, with a particular emphasis on Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.


Jessie Trudeau (Syracuse University)

Jessie Trudeau is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science department at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University’s Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. She completed her Ph.D. in Government in 2022 at Harvard University. Her current book project investigates how and why politicians strike electoral bargains with criminal organizations, and examines the welfare and public security consequences of such bargains for voters who live under criminal governance. Her related papers that study this phenomenon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, have received the APSA Pi Sigma Alpha Franklin Burdette Award for the best paper presented at the 2021 annual meeting, APSA Conflict Processes Section 2022 best paper award, and the LASA Subnational Politics 2021 best paper award.


Jose Antonio Gutiérrez (York University)

Dr. José Antonio Gutiérrez is a Research Fellow affiliated with the Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction. He defended his PhD thesis on “Insurgent Institutions: Refractory communities, armed insurgency and institution-building in the Colombian conflict” in January 2019, at University College Dublin. His ethnographic research explores social fabric and institution-building in insurgency controlled areas, questioning some assumptions of the sociological theories on State-building and warfare by emphasising the importance of micro-sociological and inter-personal interactions, of the affective dimensions, and of understanding the process of rebel governance institution-building as a sui generis process which needs to be seen on its own terms. His doctoral research was kindly funded by the Andrew Grene Scholarship of the Irish Research Council and the Conflict Resolution Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Government of Ireland (GOIPG/2015/2479).


Juan Albarracín Dierolf (University of Illinois, Chicago)

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and a research affiliate of the Notre Dame Violence and Transitional Justice Lab (V-TJ), part of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. Previously, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame and an Assistant Professor at Universidad Icesi (Cali, Colombia). My research focuses on the limitations to citizenship in Latin America, in particular, on the threats to the exercise of political and civil rights in cases of mass-scale violence. In this sense, my work lies at the intersection of studies of criminal and political violence, criminal governance, social movements, and political institutions.


Juan Masullo (Leiden University)

I am an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Political Science, Leiden University. My research combines multiple types of methods and evidence, often involving extensive fieldwork, to study the social processes of political and criminal violence. I’m particularly intrigued by the decision-making processes underlying the behavior of individuals and communities living in the midst of armed conflict and the drivers of peoples’ preferences and attitudes towards different policy strategies to deal with violence and crime. I have been exploring these issues in different countries affected by civil war and organized crime, including Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. Currently, I co-edit Qualitative & Multi-Method Research, the biannual publication of APSA’s Qualitative and Multi-Method Research Section. Before joining Leiden, I was a Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR) and an Associate Member of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford; a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Science (BIGSSS), and a Research Fellow at Yale’s Program on Order, Conflict and Violence (OCV). I completed my Ph.D. at the European University Institute.


Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham (University of Maryland)

I am a Professor in the Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland. My primary research interests include self-determination, secession, civil war, non-violent resistance, and nonstate actor governance. I received my Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 2007. I have been a Fulbright Scholar and a Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo. My book Inside the Politics of Self-determination was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. My work has also been published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, Journal of Politics, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Research, International Studies Quarterly, International Organization, Research & Politics and Perspectives on Politics. ​I received the ISA’s 2017 ISSS Emerging Scholar Award.


Laura Blume (University of Nevada, Reno)

​I am an assistant professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Reno. My current research focuses on the political causes and consequences of criminal violence in Central America. I am working on a book project that uses comparative ethnography to examine the ways in which political context impacts drug-trafficking violence in Central America. More broadly, my teaching and research interests include the war on drugs, violence, illicit economies, immigration, and democratization throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. I won a 2022 Harry Frank Guggenheim Distinguished Scholar Award to support my project that is tracking Violence Against Public Figures (VAPF) in Central America.


Leo Bauer (University of Maryland)


Lucía Tiscornia (University College Dublin)

I am Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin, where I am also a fellow with the Geary Institute for Public Policy. I am also a Research Affiliate with the Violence and Transitional Justice Lab at the University of Notre Dame. I was previously Assistant Professor in the Division of International Studies at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), in Mexico City. I focus on transitional justice processes, the drivers and consequences of police violence and police reform processes in democracies, as well as criminal violence. To study these topics I employ multi-method research designs. I hold a PhD in political science from the University of Notre Dame. 


Mara Revkin (Duke University)

Mara Revkin is an Associate Professor at the Duke University School of Law, where her research focuses on armed conflict, peace-building, transitional justice, migration, and security sector reform with a regional focus on the Middle East and particularly Iraq and Syria. She is also a nonresident scholar with Carnegie’s Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program.


Megan Stewart (University of Michigan)

Megan Stewart, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. Her research investigates variation in how changes to social, economic, and political hierarchies—especially across racial, gender, class, or religious/ethnic lines—are attempted and achieved, and how war or political violence is often the context or consequence of such endeavors. Dr. Stewart’s book, Governing for Revolution, was published with Cambridge University Press in 2021 and her research has been published in journals such as International Organization, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, as well as others. She is a non-resident fellow at the Middle East Institute.


Michael Weintraub (Universidad de los Andes)

I am Associate Professor in the Escuela de Gobierno Alberto Lleras Camargo at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and Director of the Security and Violence Area of the Center for the Study of Security and Drugs (CESED) at the same university. My CV can be found here. My research agenda focuses on crime and political violence in Latin America, particularly in Colombia, Central America, and Mexico. I am also interested in historical legacies of violence and how they affect contemporary outcomes. To study these and other topics I use a combination of primarily experimental and quasi-experimental methods. While I wrote my dissertation on Colombia, and live in Bogotá, I also study Mexico and the three countries in the so-called “Northern Triangle” of Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.


Nicholas Barnes (University of St. Andrews)

Nicholas Barnes is a Lecturer at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and affiliated faculty at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. He received his PhD at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (USA) and was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. He has conducted 3 years of fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas and is currently working on a book project about how and why gangs govern these communities. His academic work has been published in Comparative Political Studies, Perspectives on Politics, Current Sociology, Latin American Research Review, and the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice.


Nicholas Rush Smith (City College of New York)

I am an Associate Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York – City College and a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Johannesburg. My research utilizes qualitative methods to examine how democratic states use violence to produce order and why citizens sometimes use violence to challenge that order. Based on approximately twenty months of ethnographic and archival research, my first book, Contradictions of Democracy: Vigilantism and Rights in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Oxford University Press, 2019), explored these themes through the lens of crime, policing, and vigilantism in South AfricaWith Erica S. Simmons, I have also written about the intersection of comparative and ethnographic methods, co-editing Rethinking Comparison: Innovative Methods for Qualitative Political Inquiry (Cambridge University Press, 2021), among other publications.


Omar García-Ponce (George Washington University)

I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington University. Previously, I was an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Davis, and a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD). I am also a member of the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) network. I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from New York University and earned a B.A. in Politics and Public Administration from El Colegio de México


Omolade Adunbi (University of Michigan)


Patricia Justino (United Nations University – World Institute for Development Economics Research)


Peer Schouten (Danish Institute for International Studies)


Rebecca Tapscott (Geneva Graduate Institute)

Rebecca Tapscott is an Ambizione Fellow at the Graduate Institute in Geneva (IHEID), as well as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa at the London School of Economics. Her research studies authoritarianism, political violence, gender, and research ethics governance, with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa (especially Uganda). Her work has been published in Perspectives on Politics and International Affairs among other venues, and she is the author of “Arbitrary States: Social control and modern authoritarianism in Museveni’s Uganda” (Oxford University Press, 2021). She received her PhD from the Fletcher School at Tufts University in 2017. 


Rebecca V. Bell-Martin (Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey)


Reyko Huang (Texas A&M University)


Reynell Badillo (University of Chicago)

Reynell Badillo is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is currently a Fulbright/Minciencias scholar. His research explores the political violence of organized criminal groups, as well as the mechanisms of criminal governance in urban settings, particularly in Latin America. Before beginning his PhD, Reynell was a humanitarian analyst for the Norwegian Refugee Council, and a senior researcher at the UNCaribe Think Tank at the Universidad del Norte (Barranquilla-Colombia), a research center focused on understanding the subnational dynamics of civil war and organized crime in Colombia.


Sandra Ley (Center for Research and Teaching in Economics -CIDE)

Sandra J. Ley Gutiérrez is associate professor in the Political Studies Division at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City. Prior to her arrival at CIDE, she was a visiting fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her research addresses the political and behavioral consequences of criminal violence and has appeared in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, and Latin American Politics and Society, among other academic journals. Together with Guillermo Trejo, she coauthored Votes, Drugs, and Violence: The Political Logic of Criminal Wars in Mexico (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Ley received her PhD in Political Science from Duke University in 2014.


Sarah Moore (Northwestern University)

Sarah Moore is a PhD Candidate (ABD) in Political Science and a Master of Science Candidate in Statistics at Northwestern University. Her dissertation research develops innovative methods for studying comparative politics in contexts with limited information legibility. Substantively, Sarah focuses on the legacies of violent conflict and armed group social order, land conflict, and state capacity in Latin America. Her work has been supported by the Center for the Study of Security and Drugs at the University of the Andes-Bogotá and Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University. She will defend her dissertation in Summer or Fall of 2023.


Sarah Z. Daly (Columbia University)

Sarah Zukerman Daly is Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. She is the author of two books: Organized Violence After Civil Wars (CUP 2016) and Violent Victors (PUP 2022). She holds a PhD from MIT where she was awarded the Lucian Pye Award for the Best Dissertation in Political Science. She has held previous research and teaching positions at Princeton, Stanford, and Notre Dame. In 2018, she was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.


Shalaka Thakur (Geneva Graduate Institute)

Shalaka Thakur is a PhD candidate at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, where she works on the role of power in conflict zones. She has been conducting extensive field research at the Indo-Myanmar borderlands over the last decade, looking at armed group governance, local political economy and borderland politics.


Scholarly Affiliations