Department of Political Science


Professor Kristin M. Bakke

Dr Kristin M. Bakke

Professor Kristin M. Bakke

Professor of Political Science and International Relations

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Kristin M. Bakke holds a PhD and MA in political science from the University of Washington, Seattle, and has a BA in journalism and political science from Indiana University, Bloomington. She is from Norway.

Prior to joining UCL, Professor Bakke was a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard University, at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (2007-2008) and an Assistant Professor in political science at Leiden University (2008-2009). She is an Associate Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO).

She is an Associate Editor at Journal of Peace Research and serves on the editorial board of Journal of Global Security Studies and advisory board of Nations and Nationalism. She sits on the council of the British Conflict Research Society and is a member-at-large of the governing council of the International Studies Association.

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Professor Bakke’s research focuses on political violence. The questions and topics that motivate her research include why some states are better able to avoid conflicts within their borders than others, how institutions can (or cannot) promote intrastate peace, the dynamics within self-determination movements, post-war state-building, and state restrictions of civil society.

Professor Bakke’s 2015 book Decentralization and Intrastate Struggles: Chechnya, Punjab, and Québec aims to better understand decentralized states’ diverse capacity to contain the often violent struggles between ethnic minority groups and the states in which they live. The book combines statistical analysis of intrastate conflicts with case studies of self-determination struggles in three federations: Chechnya’s relationship to Moscow, Punjab’s relationship to Delhi, and Québec’s relationship to Ottawa. With support from the National Science Foundation (USA) and the Chr. Michelsen Institute (Norway), Professor Bakke spent ten months conducting fieldwork in Russia, India, and Canada. The book was the recipient of the Conflict Research Society’s Book of the Year Award, 2016.

While her work on institutions explores how conflicts can be avoided, Professor Bakke’s research interests also include post-war developments. Based on surveys carried out in Bosnia, Russia’s North Caucasus region, and the post-Soviet de facto states, Professor Bakke and her collaborators (Andrew Linke, John O’Loughlin, Gerard Toal, and Michael D. Ward) have investigated inter-ethnic attitudes and legitimacy in conflict-ridden and post-war societies. For 2012-2014, she held an ESRC grant that explored state-building and the legacies of violence in the de facto states in the post-Soviet world—places like Abkhazia, Nagorno Karabakh, and Transdniestria—relying on both surveys and in-depth case studies. For 2015-2017, she is co-investigator of the collaborative project “Attitudes for Peace” (with Karin Dyrstad, Helga Malmin Binningsbø, and Arne Eide), which will examine post-conflict public opinion in three states: Guatemala, Nepal, and Northern Ireland. The project is based at Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the Peace Research Institute, Oslo.

Much of Professor Bakke’s research questions the often underlying assumption that the non-state actors in intrastate conflicts are unitary. In several collaborative articles with Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham and Lee Seymour, she examines how divisions within self-determination movements affect conflict dynamics both within these groups and between these groups and the governments they are fighting. For an introduction to this research, see Professor Bakke’s presentation at TEDx UCL.  In separate projects on the Chechen wars, she examines the processes through which foreign fighters affect domestic insurgents and their ability to cohesively fight the state.

Ongoing research includes a project on state restrictions of civil society (with Neil Mitchell and Hannah Smidt), funded by the British Academy (2016-2017).

Download Professor Bakke's CV. View Professor Bakke's Google Scholar profile. She is on Twitter: @KristinMBakke

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  • Decentralization and Intrastate Struggles: Chechnya, Punjab, and Québec. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2015). (Recipient of the Conflict Research Society’s Book of the Year Award, 2016. Reviewed in Journal of Politics, Journal of Peace Research, and Perspectives on Politics.)

Refereed Journal Articles

  • “Dynamics of State-Building after War: External-Internal Relations in Eurasian de facto states” (with Andrew Linke, John O’Loughlin, and Gerard Toal). Political Geography (forthcoming)
  • “E Pluribus Unum, Ex Uno Plures: Competition, Violence and Fragmentation in Ethnopopolitical Movements.” (with Lee J.M Seymour and Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham). Journal of Peace Research, vol.53, no. 1 (January 2016), pp. 3-18.
  • “Convincing State-Builders? Disaggregating Internal Legitimacy in Abkhazia” (with John O’Loughlin, Gerard Toal, and Michael D. Ward). International Studies Quarterly, vol. 58, no. 3 (September 2014), pp. 591-607.
  • “Help Wanted? The Mixed Record of Foreign Fighters in Domestic Insurgencies.” International Security, vol. 38, no. 4 (Spring 2014), pp. 150-187. 
  • “A Plague of Initials: Fragmentation, Cohesion, and Infighting in Civil Wars” (with Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham and Lee J.M. Seymour). Perspectives on Politics, vol. 10, no. 2 (June 2012), pp. 265-284.
  • “Shirts Today, Skins Tomorrow: Dual Contests and the Effects of Fragmentation in Self-Determination Disputes” (with Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham and Lee J.M. Seymour). Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 56, no. 1 (February 2012), pp. 57-93.
  • “The Perils of Policy by P-Value: Predicting Civil Conflicts” (with Michael D. Ward and Brian Greenhill), Journal of Peace Research, vol. 47, no. 4 (July 2010), pp. 1-13. (Selected as the 2010 JPR Article of the Year.)
  • “Reconciliation in Conflict-Affected Societies: Multilevel Modeling of Individual and Contextual Factors in the North Caucasus of Russia” (with John O’Loughlin and Michael D. Ward), Annals of American Association of Geographers, vol. 99, no. 1 (December 2009), pp. 1012-1021.
  • “State, Society, and Separatism in Punjab,” Regional and Federal Studies, vol. 19, no. 2 (May 2009), pp. 291-308.
  • “Social Distance in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the North Caucasus Region of Russia: Inter and Intra-Ethnic Attitudes and Identities” (with Xun Cao, John O’Loughlin, and Michael D. Ward), Nations and Nationalism, vol. 15, no. 2 (April 2009), pp. 229-255.
  • “Diversity, Disparity, and Civil Conflict in Federal States” (with Erik Wibbels), World Politics, vol. 59, no. 1 (October 2006), pp. 1-50.

Book Chapters

  • “Copying and Learning from Outsiders? Assessing Diffusion from Transnational Insurgents in the Chechen Wars.” In Transnational Dynamics of Civil War, ed. Jeffrey Checkel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2013), pp. 31-62.
  • “The Turn to Violence in Chechnya and Punjab: Self-Determination Struggles in Decentralized States.” In Rethinking Violence, ed. Adria Lawrence and Erica Chenoweth. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press (2010), pp. 221-248.
  • “After the War Ends: Violence and Viability of Unrecognized States.” In Unrecognized States in the International System, ed. Nina Caspersen and Gareth Stansfield. London: Routledge (2010), pp. 90-109.

Work in Progress

  • “When States Crack Down on Human Rights Defenders” (with Neil J. Mitchell and Hannah Smidt), article manuscript.
  • “Peace Agreements and State Authority: A Comparative Study of Guatemala, Nepal, and Northern Ireland” (with Karin Dyrstad and Helga Malmin Binningsbø), article manuscript.

Reviews, Commentaries, and Shorter Works

  • Bakke, Kristin M. 2017. “Critical Dialogues: Review of Nationalist Violence in Postwar Europe by Luis De la Calle.” Perspective on Politics 15 (3): 786-790.
  • Review of Rebel Rulers: Insurgent Governance and Civilian Life During War, by Zachariah Cherian Mampilly, Perspectives in Politics, vol. 10,  no. 4  (December 2012), pp. 1129-1130.
  • “Chechnya: A Military Suppression of a Secession at a Cost.” In The Ashgate Research Companion to Secession, ed. Aleksander Pavković and Peter Radan. Farnham, UK: Ashgate (2011), pp. 535-538.
  • Review of Asymmetric Autonomy and the Settlement of Ethnic Conflicts by Marc Weller and Katherine Nobbs, eds., Journal of Peace Research, vol. 48, no. 2 (March 2011), p. 269.
  • Review of The Robust Federation: Principles of Design by Jenna Bednar, The Journal of Politics, vol. 72, no. 2 (2010), pp. 599-600.
  • Review of State Collapse and Reconstruction in the Periphery: Political Economy, Ethnicity and Development in Yugoslavia, Serbia and Kosovo by Jens Stilhoff Sörensen, Nordisk Østforum, vol. 24, no. 2 (2010), pp. 224-227.
  • “Commentary: Beslan and the Study of Violence,” Political Geography, vol. 28, no.1 (January 2009), pp. 16-18.
  • Review of Religion, Civilization and Civil War by Jonathan Fox, International Studies Review, vol. 7, no. 1 (March 2005), pp. 87-89.

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Teaching for 2017-2018 Session

  • International Relations Theories (SPP/ESPS)
  • Political Violence and Intrastate Conflicts (ESPS)
  • IR section of Introduction to European History, Law, Politics and Philosophy (ESPS)
  • Conflict Resolution and Post-war Developments (MSc, SPP).

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