Ora Szekely

Current Research

My most recent research project focuses on the dynamics of the Syrian civil war, including the rivalries, motivations, and ideological commitments of the various participants in the conflict. Which points of division have proved most important in shaping the course of the conflict? Which narratives of the conflict have been most powerful? Which audiences matter most for each of the conflict’s participants?

I am also interested in field research methodology, the subject of the book and podcast I edited and co-hosted with Peter Krause.

Some additional broad questions that I and my (various, terrific) co-authors are interested in include:

  • How do ideas about gender shape the conduct of civil wars (and the plots of superhero movies and comic books?)
  • Why do some ethno-political organizations choose violent tactics, while others choose nonviolence?
  • How do bureaucratic politics shape policy making in counterinsurgency?
  • What is the causal link between social service provision and improved election performance for militant political organizations?
  • How do states decide which nonstate armed groups to sponsor?



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