Kristen A Harkness, Senior Lecturer


Dr. Kristen A. Harkness joined the School of International Relations in 2013. She previously held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame after earning her PhD in Comparative Politics and International Relations from Princeton University.

Research areas

Dr Harkness' research interests lie at the intersection of ethnic politics and conflict studies, with a regional focus on Africa. She is engaged in several ongoing research projects that share a substantive focus on understanding the role of ethnicity in shaping the causes and dynamics of violence and a methodological focus on creating original large-N datasets through intensive archival research.



  • 2018. When Soldiers Rebel: Ethnic Armies and Political Instability in Africa. Cambridge University Press.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • 2018. “Measuring the Landscape of Civil War: Evaluating Geographic Coding Decisions with Data from the Mau Mau Rebellion” (with Rex Douglass). Journal of Peace Research 55(2): 190-205.
  • 2017. “Military Loyalty and the Failure of Democratization in Africa: How Ethnic Armies Shape the Capacity of Presidents to Defy Term Limits.” Democratization 24(5): 801-818.
  • 2016. “The Ethnic Army and the State: Explaining Coup Traps and the Difficulties of Democratization in Africa.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 60(4): 587-616.
  • 2015. “US Security Assistance in Africa: The Case for More.” Parameters 45(2): 13-24.
  • 2015. “Military Maladaptation: Counterinsurgency and the Politics of Failure” (with Michael Hunzeker). Journal of Strategic Studies 38(6): 777-800.
  • 2014. “The Strategy Project: Teaching Strategic Thinking through Crisis Simulation” (with Michael Hunzeker). PS: Political Science & Politics 47(2): 513-17.

Book Chapters

  • 2019. “Militaries.” In, Gabrielle Lynch and Peter VonDoepp (eds.), the Handbook of Democratization in Africa. Routledge (forthcoming).

Book Reviews

  • 2014. “Is Vision Enough? Review: Africa Emerges: Consummate Challenges, Abundant Opportunities by Robert I. Rotberg (Cambridge and Malden, MA: Polity Press).” Review of Politics 76(3): 525-527.
  • 2013. “Review: The Soldier and the Changing State: Building Democratic Armies in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas by Zoltan Barany (Princeton: Princeton University Press).” Political Science Quarterly 128(3): 572-574.




  • Rebellion and Revolution (IR3060)
  • Force and Statecraft (IR4548)
  • International Security (IR5001)
  • The Military in Politics (IR5065)


  • Issues in IR (IR2006) - has contributed lectures on ethnic conflict
  • Research Methods in IR (IR5601) - has contributed lectures on comparative methods, quantitative methods, and research ethics
  • Curriculum Design and Assessment (ID5102) - has contributed a case study on innovative teaching practice

PhD supervision topics

  • civil-military relations
  • ethnic conflict
  • African politics
  • democratization

Further information

You may also be interested in Dr Harkness' personal website.