Secessionism, Violence, and Nonviolence

Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham, Associate Professor, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland

Abstract: The power of mass nonviolent campaigns in achieving regime change and democratization has captured global attention. Yet, mass nonviolent campaigns are both uncommon and relatively unsuccessful for secessionist and autonomist movements. These movements continue to be a central issue for opposition mobilization around the world. To evaluate the efficacy of nonviolence, we must both examine success more broadly than maximal goals and move beyond mass uses of nonviolence to look at the myriad of nonviolent actions that are employed in everyday dissent. Small-scale nonviolent resistance will be a particularly effective strategy for secessionist and autonomist movements because they must develop and sustain legitimacy within their constituent population, host state, and international community to achieve both incremental concessions and successful secession (though this maximal outcome is often extremely unlikely).

About the speaker: Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham is an associate professor at the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland and is affiliated with the Center for International Development and Conflict Management. Her primary research interests include self-determination, secession, civil war, leadership in rebellion, and nonviolent resistance. She received her PhD from the University of California, San Diego, in 2007 and has been a Fulbright scholar and a senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo. 
This event will be held in McKeldin Library, Special Events Room, 6th FLoor, University of Maryland.

Please fill out the RSVP form below for this free event:


Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 4:00pm

The Bahá'í Chair for World Peace
University of Maryland
3101 Chincoteague Hall
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College Park, MD 20742

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