The Political Violence Lab is focused on a variety of contemporary international security issues. The lab was founded by Andrew Shaver, who currently co-directs the lab with Dr. Dotan Haim. The lab has involved the participation of more than 70 Dartmouth College undergraduate research assistants on projects with researchers at Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, and the University of Chicago. Several of the research teams are listed below. Meghna Ray serves as the lab's chief executive assistant. (Lab alumni may be found here.)
Support for the Political Violence Lab is made possible by the generosity of Susan K. and Stuart E. Lucas ’81 through the Lucas Family Fund for Undergraduate Research.
Conflict Exposure and Civilian Attitudes
What are the effects of conflict exposure on civilian attitudes? This project explores how the attitudes of Baghdad citizens who were exposed to intense level of insurgent violence during the construction of the Sadr security wall differed from fellow citizens who were largely insulted from such violence.
Drone Warfare and Insurgency Outcomes
This research project seeks to assess the effects of suspected drone strikes on different insurgency outcomes -- from the types of targets and weaponry militants employ to the flow of information to counterinsurgent forces.
Media Bias in Wartime Reporting
Much political science research is based on the use of datasets of violent conflict constructed from news reports. Using detailed data from the recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars, this project explore sources of bias in media reporting within conflict zones and their effects on conflict event datasets.
Threat of Terrorism
How significant is the threat of terrorism within the United States? This project specifically explores the likelihood of large-scale terrorist attacks and the implications for policy.
How do armies learn? One challenge for armies facing insurgents is how to adapt their organization, doctrine, and equipment to guerrilla war. This project explores learning by doing during counterinsurgency and has direct implications for policy decisions on the duration of combat deployments.
The Data Science of War
Unlike wars of earlier generations, the economic, political, and social contexts of many modern conflicts are being documented in painstaking detail. Whether collecting satellite imagery, mining social media, or georeferencing individual wartime attacks, various parties are amassing datasets of remarkable spatial and temporal precision. This project explores how data are being used to test old assumptions of what leads to victory, defeat, or stalemate.