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This blog is an opportunity to share some of the interesting things that cross my desk in my research and in my day-to-day reading– an interesting perspective on a controversial issue, experiments with surprising results or a debate that forced me to re-evaluate my principles.  I use this space like a public notebook. I use it to scribble and vent, and to draw attention to ideas, opinions, and ways of thinking.

The broad focus is on politics, especially the issues that I follow closely: Africa, conflict, corruption, peacebuilding, natural resources, DDR, development, and gender equality. But you can see from my posts that I also write on many other issues such as the environment, food politics, higher education, the impact of technology, relationships, parenthood, Canadian politics, and American politics.

Since September 2012, I have been a lecturer in War Studies at King’s College London. (For North American colleagues, that translates into assistant professor, tenure-track.)  I mainly teach in the MA program in Conflict, Security, and Development (CSD). I am based on the Strand Campus, in the heart of London- an absolutely unbeatable location. (Here are a few thoughts on being an academic in the UK and my experience at King’s so far, along with a brief attempt to convince you to come and be my colleague in CSD.)

Before coming to King’s, I was the Bennett Boskey Research Fellow in Politics and International Relations at Exeter College, Oxford. I taught our Politics, Philosophy, and Economics students (PPE) as well as Williams College students on the Exeter-Williams year abroad program. I did my graduate studies at Oxford (DPhil Politics, Nuffield College) and at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton (MPA). I spent a year as a visiting student at Yale with the Order, Conflict, and Violence program in Political Science. I also have a BASc in systems design engineering from the University of Waterloo (and spent a year studying at Tottori University in Japan).

For more information on my extralegal groups research, I talk about it in this video interview. I’m currently working on a book manuscript on Extralegal Groups (under contract with Oxford University Press) building on my doctoral research in Liberia. I also co-edited Corruption and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Selling the Peace? with Dominik Zaum. (Chapter abstracts here.) It came out in September 2011 (Routledge). More information about my research and publications here.

I’ve become a big fan of Twitter in the past year and was recently named to the #cdnfp Twitterati! Follow me @cheng_christine. I regularly comment on international affairs for a variety of media outlets including the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, al Jazeera, Radio France International, and Real Clear World. I also  maintain a page on

You can email me at christinecheng at