Northwestern Events Calendar


Are Civil and Interstate Wars One of the Same?

When: Friday, October 13, 2023
12:15 PM - 1:45 PM CT

Where: Scott Hall, Room 212, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Graduate Students

Contact: Ariel Sowers   (847) 491-7454

Group: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


Please join the the Comparative Politics Workshop as they host Ulaş Erdoğdu, Ph.D. student in the department of Political Science, as he discusses his recent research!

While the study of interstate war is mainly confined to the subfield of international relations, the study of civil wars rests somewhere between the subfields of IR and comparative politics, borrowing theories and frameworks from both, studied by comparativists and IR scholars alike. Several scholars have argued for a unified study of civil and interstate wars using the logic of bargaining framework. Engaging with these arguments and theories of international conflict, first, I develop a new typology of civil wars; elite-led vs non-elite-led civil wars. I argue that a bargaining framework that focuses on information asymmetries, commitment problems and issue indivisibility is well-suited to study the causes of interstate and elite-led civil wars, whereas theories of social movements and a contentious politics framework that emphasizes dynamics of repression, mobilization, radicalization and militarization are better suited to the study of non-elite-led civil wars.

Ulaş Erdoğdu is a Ph.D. student at the department of Political Science and a fellow in the Middle East and North African Studies Program at Northwestern University. He is broadly interested in the relationship between organized violence and political order, specifically studying civil wars, state-building, contentious politics and political regimes. Methodologically, he is interested in multi-method research design, conflict and protest event analysis, conceptualization and operationalization as well as data reliability issues in violent and authoritarian contexts. Before Northwestern, he worked as a research assistant at Empirical Studies of Conflict Project, Princeton University, and Boğaziçi University where he got his BA and MA degrees in Political Science and International Relations.

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