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Barbara F. Walter

Professor; Rohr Chair in Pacific International Relations


Barbara F. Walter is a professor of political science and Rohr Chair in Pacific International
Relations at the School and an adjunct professor in the UC San Diego Department of Political Science. She is an expert on international security, with an emphasis on civil wars. Her current research is on the behavior of rebel groups in civil wars, including inter-rebel group fighting, alliances and the strategic use of propaganda and extremism.

Walter received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago and completed postdoctoral research at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University and at the Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. Walter is on the editorial board of the American Political Science Review, International Organization, Journal of Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution and International Studies Quarterly. She is also the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including awards from the National Science Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and Smith Richardson Foundation.

Walter co-founded (with Erica Chenoweth) the blog Political Violence @ A Glance, winner of numerous blogging awards since its inception in 2012.

For more information, please visit Barbara F. Walter’s personal site.


Ph.D., Political Science, University of Chicago
M.A., Political Science, University of Chicago
B.A., Political Science and German, Bucknell University

GPS Spotlight

Is the U.S. Headed Toward Civil War?
Jan. 3, 2021 | In a new episode of the Talking Policy podcast, IGCC talks with Barbara Walter about her new book, How Civil Wars Start, and about the factors that increase the likelihood that countries will turn to violence, and their growing presence in American life.

How Do Civil Wars Happen?
Jan. 3, 2022 | UC San Diego Professor Barbara F. Walter, a leading expert on civil wars, political violence and terrorism, poses crucial questions in a time of national unrest

School of Global Policy and Strategy Professor Awarded for Engaging Analysis of News and Events
April 9, 2018 | Political scientist Barbara F. Walter takes home the grand prize for contributions to Political Violence @ a Glance blog.

6 Ways the Internet Is Shaping the ‘New Civil Wars’
Aug. 16, 2017 | Advanced technology in communication linked to new growth, sustainability of modern conflict.

Read additional stories

Recent Publications

Walter, Barbara F. "The Jihadist Threat Won't End with ISIS' Defeat." Foreign Affairs (December 2017).

Walter, Barbara F. "The Extremist's Advantage in Civil Wars." International Security. Vol. 42, No. 2 (Fall 2017).

Walter, Barbara F. "The New New Civil Wars." Annual Review of Political Science. Vol. 20:469-486 (2017).

Walter, Barbara F. "Why Bad Governance Leads to Repeat Civil War.” Journal of Conflict Resolution. 58.2 (2014).

Denny, Elaine and Barbara F. Walter. "Ethnicity and Civil War.” Journal of Peace Research. 51.2 (2014).

Maliniak, Daniel; Ryan Powers; and Barbara F. Walter. "The Gender Citation Gap in International Relations." International Organization. 67.4 (2013).

Tingley, Dustin H., and Barbara F. Walter. "The Effect of Repeated Play on Reputation Building: An Experimental Approach." International Organization. 65.2 (2011).

Tingley, Dustin H., and Barbara F. Walter. “Can Cheap Talk Deter? An Experimental Analysis.” Journal of Conflict Resolution. 55.6 (2011).

Walter, Barbara F. “Reputation and Civil War: Why Separatist Conflicts Are So Violent.” Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (2009).

Walter, Barbara F. "Bargaining Failures and Civil War." Annual Review of Political Science. 12 (2009).

Kydd, Andrew H., and Barbara F. Walter. "The Strategies of Terrorism." International Security. 31.1 (2006).

Walter, Barbara F. "Building Reputation: Why Governments Fight Some Separatists but Not Others." American Journal of Political Science. 50.2 (2006).

Walter, Barbara F. "Information, Uncertainty and the Decision to Secede." International Organization. 60.1 (2006).

Data Sets

The Civil War Resolution Dataset. Replication data for Barbara F. Walter.  “Committing to Peace: The Successful Settlement of Civil Wars.” Princeton University Press, 2002. Data File (.xls) | Codebook (.pdf)

Recurring Civil War Dataset. Replication data for Barbara F. Walter. “Does Conflict Beget Conflict? Explaining Recurring Civil War.” Journal of Peace Research. Vol. 41, no. 3 (May 2004). Data File (ZIP file of .dta) | Codebook (.pdf)

Government Accommodation of Separatist Groups Dataset. Replication data for Barbara F. Walter.  “Building Reputation: Why Governments Fight Some Separatists But Not Others.” American Journal of Political Science, (Spring 2006). Data File (.xls)

Self-Determination Movement Dataset. Replication data for Barbara F. Walter. “Information, Uncertainty and the Decision to Secede.” International Organization. Vol. 60, no. 1 (Winter 2006). Data File (ZIP file of .dta).

Work in Progress

“Rebel Propaganda in Civil War,” (with Gregoire Philipps) Research Article.

“The Effects of Internet Propaganda on the Radicalization of Foreign Citizens,” (with Gregoire Philipps, Dotan Haim and Tamar Mitts) Research Article.

“The Effect of Terrorist Violence on Anti-Muslim Attitudes in the United States,” (with Gregoire Philipps, Dotan Haim and Tamar Mitts) Research Article.

“The Role of Extremist Ideology in War,” Research Article.

“Extremism and Civil War,” (with Andrew Kydd) Research Article.

Policy Briefings and Talks

Albright-Hadley Middle East Strategy Task Force, The Atlantic Council Working Group in Security and Public Order.  April-September 2015.  

U.S. Central Command, The Middle East After an Iranian Nuclear Agreement, July 2015.  

RAND, Washington DC, Lessons for Iraq and Syria, July 2015.  

The Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.  20th Anniversary Symposium, September 2014.  

Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington DC. Indicators for the End of Civil Wars (Focus Syria) February 2014.

Council on Foreign Relations, Invited Speaker. Ethnicity, Religion and Civil War. December 2013.

U.S. State Department.  Syria Team Briefing.  August 2013.  

National Intelligence Council. Workshop on Global Trends 2030. October 2012.

RAND/Department of Defense, Workshop on Stabilizing and Rebuilding Countries in Conflict, September 2009.

Office of Iraq Analysis, Speaker. Iraq: Translating Security Gains into Stability, May 2009.

Office of the Vice President, Bogota Colombia, Post Civil War Transitions. October 2007 and October 2005.   

Commanding Generals Conference, Marines of MCRD/WRR San Diego. Briefing on the Strategies of Terrorism, August 2005.

Camp Pendleton, 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion, Oceanside, CA. Invited Speaker. The Strategies of Terrorism, April 2005.