Annual Kenneth N. Waltz Lecture in International Relations: “The Paradox of Civil Resistance in the 21st Century”

October 09, 2019 4:10 pm –6:00 pm 1512 International Affairs
Speaker(s):
Erica Chenoweth, Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, and Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Civil resistance has had a remarkable history over the past century, leading to the remarkable expansion of civil, political, and human rights and even to revolutionary transformations of oppressive systems. Sometimes called nonviolent resistance, unarmed struggle, or nonviolent action, this form of political action is now a mainstay across the globe. But just as civil resistance has become an overwhelmingly popular form of popular struggle, it has also begun to decline in its effectiveness over the past decade. Chenoweth discusses the primary explanations for this paradox. In doing so, she draws upon historical and contemporary cases such as the Eastern European revolutions, the Color Revolutions, the Arab Awakenings, and various ongoing movements in the United States and beyond.

Erica Chenoweth is the Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School and a Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her research focuses on political violence and its alternatives. Foreign Policy magazine ranked her among the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013. She also won the 2014 Karl Deutsch Award, given annually by the International Studies Association to the scholar under 40 who has made the most significant impact on the field of international politics or peace research. Her next book, Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford, 2020), explores in an accessible and conversational style what civil resistance is, how it works, why it sometimes fails, how violence and repression affect it, and the long-term impacts of such resistance.