Ragnhild Nordås

Welcome to my site! ranghildnordasprioI am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan, and a Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) , as well as the Deputy Editor of Journal of Peace Research.

I am a political scientist by training. My PhD is in Political Science from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) from March 2010. I’ve been a research fellow at the Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, IN.

My primary research interest is political violence. I’m particularly interested in understanding the causes and consequences of  organized violence, and ways to mitigate violence. I’ve conducted research on the possible effects of climate change on conflict, the effects of identity politics on conflict risk, and I also study organizational and ideological characteristics of armed non-state actors and how these characteristics matter for violence, conflict escalation, and conflict settlement. Other research interest include state repression, group inequalities, child soldiering, and demography and security.

I recently finished a multi-year research project on sexual violence in armed conflict. Central here is a global data collection on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (SVAC), collaborative work with Dara Kay Cohen (Harvard University), but also several case studies using various methodologies and levels of analysis. Some of the main findings from this research so far is summarized in an op ed in the Washington Post /Monkey Cage:

Four things everyone should know about wartime sexual violence


Time to act FCO

As the systematic study of rape and other forms of sexual violence continues to progress, it is our hope that our research, together with that by other scholars, will aid policymakers and activists in combating this terrible scourge of war. In this piece, we report on some of the important, and policy-relevant, patterns we find in our research:

 1. Rape and other forms of sexual violence are reported in many conflicts and by many armed groups — but not all.

 2. State militaries are more likely to be reported as perpetrators of sexual violence than either rebel groups or pro-government militias.

3Rape need not be directly ordered to occur on a massive scale.

4. Sexual violence by armed groups can continue to be reported into the “post-conflict” period, sometimes at very high levels.


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