Lecture: Why Civil Resistance Works--Unarmed Struggle in the Past and Future


Location: Hesburgh Center Auditorium

The 14th Annual Yoder Dialogues on Nonviolence, Religion and Peace features Erica Chenoweth, assistant professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver.

Between 1900 and 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as violent insurgencies. In this talk, Chenoweth will review the impressive historical record of civil resistance in the 20th century and discuss the promise of unarmed struggle in the 21st century.

She will draw from her book, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, co-authored with Maria Stephan. The book argues that nonviolent resistance presents fewer obstacles to involvement, information, and commitment, leading to enhanced resilience, improved tactical flexibility, increased opportunity for civic disruption, and shifts in loyalty among opponents’ erstwhile supporters. Moreover, nonviolent resistance movements tend to usher in more durable and internally peaceful democracies.

Chenoweth teaches at the Joseph Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She also is an associate senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) and the director of the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research, Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy. Her other books include Why Democracy Encourages Terrorism (under contract with Columbia University Press) and Rethinking Violence: States and Non-State Actors in Conflict (MIT Press, 2010) with Adria Lawrence of Yale. The author of dozens of scholarly and popular articles, she hosts a blog called Rational Insurgent.

This event will be followed by lunch and an informal dialogue.

Previous Yoder Lecturers

Jean Zaru, Palestinian Quaker, peace activist, and author of Occupied with Nonviolence

Charles Villa Vicencio, Visiting Professor, Conflict Resolution Program, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Cape Town, South Africa

Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology and Fellow of Berkeley College at Yale University; Senior Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia

Donald B. Kraybill, Distinguished College Professor and Senior Fellow, Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania David Smock, Vice President, Director of the Religion and Peacemaking Program, and Director of the Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution, United States Institute of Peace

David Smock, Vice President, Director of the Religion and Peacemaking Program, and Director of the Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution, United States Institute of Peace

Gene Sharp (2006), Senior scholar at the Albert Einstein Institute in Boston

Avishai Margalit, Schulman Professor of Philosophy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem & founding member of Peace Now

Rajmohan Gandhi, visiting professor at the University of Illinois and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, “The War on Terrorism and the Gandhian Ethic”

Miroslav Volf, Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology, Yale Divinity School

Judith M. Brown, Beit Professor of Commonwealth History, University of Oxford & Professorial Fellow, Balliol College

Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Divinity School, Duke University

Walter Wink, Lecturer, workshop leader & author of When the Powers Fall: Reconciliation in the Healing of Nations

Jim Wallis, Editor-in-Chief, Sojourners

Learn more about the Yoder Dialogues