The Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence at Yale University MacMillan Center announces a conference on Conference on Paramilitaries, Militias, and Civil Defense Forces in Civil Wars, to be held 19-20 October 2012.

Call for Papers
Current studies of civil wars tend to focus on two types of protagonists—rebel groups and the state. However, civil wars can produce 'third actors' that operate alongside the regular security forces of the state against rebel groups. These 'paramilitaries','civil militias,' and 'civil defense forces' often have a profound impact on civil war dynamics, including levels and patterns of violence against civilians, and processes of war duration and termination. Examples of such militias are the paramilitaries in Colombia, the hunter militias and civil defense forces in Sierra Leone, and the comités de autodefensa in Peru.

The aim of this conference is to advance the theoretical and empirical understanding of paramilitaries, militias, and civil defense forces in civil wars—why and how they emerge and evolve during the war and what effect they have on the dynamics and aftermath of violent political conflicts. By focusing on issues related to militia activity in civil wars, we hope to make a contribution to other theories of civil war, such as theories of the causes and effects of violence against civilians, local governance during and after war, and the risks of renewed violence after civil wars end.

We invite contributions from all social science disciplines dealing with questions such as the emergence and organizational forms of militias, state sponsorship of militias, the effect of militia activity on patterns of violence and war-time local governance, alliances of militias with other political actors etc. Both subnational and cross-national studies are welcome.


Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence, The MacMillan Center, Yale University (Stathis Kalyvas, Director) Corinna Jentzsch (Yale University), Livia I. Schubiger (University of Zurich)
Financial Support
Partial financial support will be available for selected participants.
Proposals should include:

  1. a two-page paper proposal,
  2. a cover letter indicating if you will need financial support to participate, and
  3. a two-page curriculum vitae.

Deadline for proposal submissions: March 15, 2012.

Deadline for paper submissions: September 1, 2012

Please send submissions and questions to:

News on the conference will be posted on our website under 'Upcoming Events.'