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Barbara F. Walter

Professor; Rohr Chair in Pacific International Relations

Barbara F. Walter is one of the world's leading experts on civil wars, violent extremism and domestic terror. She is the author of five books and dozens of articles on these subjects and is a contributor to CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, the BBC and the PBS NewsHour. She has written for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Time, The New Republic, Reuters and Foreign Affairs. 

Walter was the recipient of the 2022 Peacemaker of the Year Award, given by the National Conflict Resolution Center, and the International Studies Association's highest career award, the Susan Strange Award (it recognizes a person whose intellect, assertiveness, and insight most challenge conventional wisdom and intellectual and organizational complacency in the international studies community). She is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a TED2023 speaker.

Her most recent book on civil wars, New York Times bestseller "How Civil Wars Start and How to Stop Them," was named the best book of the year by The Times (UK), and one of the best books of the year by the Financial Times, Esquire and Prospect Magazine. The New York Times Book Review called the book "Required reading for anyone invested in preserving our 246-year experiment in self-government." 

Walter is the Rohr Professor of International Affairs at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and did post-doctoral fellowships at the Olin Institute of Strategic Studies at Harvard University, and the War & Peace Institute at Columbia University. Walter is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences. 

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.

Education and CV

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

GPS Spotlight

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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.