Oliver Kaplan

Assistant Professor

The Josef Korbel School
of International Studies


Welcome to my website!

I am an assistant professor in International Relations and Human Rights at The Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver in Colorado. I am also Associate Director of the school’s Human Trafficking Center. I received my Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and completed my B.A. at UC San Diego. My research interests include empirical studies of civil wars and human rights. I am especially interested in civil society initiatives, the impacts of non-state actors, and policy-relevant solutions. In my research I have conducted fieldwork in Colombia and the Philippines. I am also a regular blogger on Political Violence @ a Glance.

For my book, Resisting War: How Communities Protect Themselves, I conducted extensive field research in both urban and rural areas of Colombia.  My work employs multiple research methods, including interviews, statistical analysis, and archival research.  I investigate three main questions surrounding how civilians cope with civil war violence:  

(1) Where do local social organizations arise? 

(2) What strategies do such organizations permit communities to use to deal with violence?

(3) Why and under what conditions do armed groups change their behavior toward (organized) civilians?

To answer these questions, I confront two principal research challenges:

(1) Gaining a theoretical understanding of mechanisms civilians may use to reduce violence.

(2) Dealing with the “identification” problem of reverse causality--separating the effects civilians may have on conflict processes from the effects conflict processes may have on civilians.

I am grateful to all the friends, contacts, and colleagues who made this work possible...  Gracias!

Ben M. Cherrington Hall

2201 South Gaylord Street

Denver, Colorado 80208-0500

oliver.kaplan ‘at’ du.edu


My DU faculty webpage:


Book                CV                Research projects

About me                                    Fieldwork Multimedia