Robert U. Nagel

Robert U. Nagel


I recently defended my PhD in International Conflict Analysis at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK. In my dissertation “Gendered Influences on Conflict Resolution in Intrastate Conflicts”, which passed without revisions, I investigate large questions at the intersection of intrastate conflict resolution, international security and gender dynamics in civil wars. My supervisory team consists of Dr Andrea den Boer and Dr Edward Morgan-Jones at the University of Kent and Dr Govinda Clayton at ETH Zurich.

My PhD project focuses on three aspects of the gender-conflict nexus. First, I examine to what extent gender relations in society influence the likelihood of negotiations during intrastate disputes. Specifically, I argue and show that practices of excluding women from full participation in public life legitimize and institutionalize violence as the preferred masculine way of managing conflict. The implication is that countries with more patriarchal gender relations are less likely to engage in negotiations during intrastate conflicts. Second, my dissertation research shows that reports of sexual violence by rebels are associated with increased chances of mediation. I argue that reports of rebel-led sexual violence expose a state’s weakness and incapability to fulfil its fundamental masculine protection function, which presents a cost that outweighs the costs of accepting mediation. An article version of this is forthcoming at the Journal of Conflict Resolution. Third, my dissertation explores the effects of sexual violence on conflict recurrence. I demonstrate that when rebels continue to perpetrate sexual violence in peace years it is associated with a higher likelihood of a return to armed conflict. In my cumulative PhD project each of these aspects is explored in-depth in an individual paper. Empirically my research relies primarily on cross-national large-N quantitative methods and illustrative case studies drawing primarily on West Africa.

I previously held a pre-doctoral visiting scholar position in International Affairs at Northeastern University, for which I was awarded the Christine and Ian Bolt scholarship from the University of Kent.

During my PhD at the University of Kent, I was an assistant lecturer for an undergraduate course on quantitative methods as well as an undergraduate course on research design and mixed methods with a particular focus on process tracing. My approach to teaching rests on two fundamental aspects: interaction and collaboration. I aim to create an atmosphere in which students actively participate, think independently, contribute frequently, collaborate with each other, and challenge each other.

I am the journal manager of International Peacekeeping, the social media director and conference organizer for the Conflict Research Society, and a research affiliate for the WomanStats Project. I also have extensive experience as a research assistant on data projects. Throughout my doctorate I have worked as a research assistant for Professor Cohen and Professor Nordås on the Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (SVAC) project updating the original dataset to include the years 2010-2015. Furthermore, I was the lead research assistant for Professor Dorussen at the University of Essex and Dr Clayton at the ETH Zurich on their forthcoming dataset on United Nations Political Peacekeeping Missions (UNPPKO).