Kai Thaler

Assistant Professor

Office Location

SSMS 2103


Department of Global Studies
Conflict and violence, civil wars, state building, genocide and mass killing, development, African and Latin American politics


Ph.D. in Government, Harvard University
M.A. in Government, Harvard University 
M.Soc.Sc. in Sociology, University of Cape Town
B.A. in Political Science, Yale University


Kai M. Thaler is an Assistant Professor of Global Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 2018. He also holds an M.A. in Government from Harvard, an M.Soc.Sc. in Sociology from the University of Cape Town, and a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University. Thaler's research focuses on conflict and violence from the local to the global level. He has studied issues ranging from violence against civilians in civil wars and post-conflict politics in Africa and Latin America, to violent crime in South Africa, to genocide and mass killing in Southeast Asia. His current book project, When the Rebels Win: State Power and Public Interests after Civil Wars, examines how the ideals and goals around which rebel groups are organized affect the state building and service provision policies and practices they pursue if they gain control of an internationally-recognized state. Thaler also has research and teaching interests in qualitative and mixed methods research methodology.


2019. “Reflexivity and Temporality in Researching Violent Settings: Problems with the Transparency and Replicability Regime,” Geopolitics, forthcoming.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14650045.2019.1643721.

2019. “Mixed methods in violence studies,” in Walter S. DeKeseredy, Callie Marie Rennison, and Amanda K. Hall-Sanchez (eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Violence Studies, pp.19-29 (New York: Routledge)

 2018. “Has Liberia Turned a Corner?” Journal of Democracy 29(3): 156-170 (with Benjamin Spatz)

2018. “U.S. Action and Inaction in the Massacre of Communists and Alleged Communists in Indonesia,” in Samuel Totten (ed.), Dirty Hands and Vicious Deeds: The US Government’s Complicity in Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide, pp.23-69 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press)

2017.  “Nicaragua: A Return to Caudillismo.” Journal of Democracy 28(2): 157-169

2017.  “Mixed Methods Research in the Study of Political and Social Violence and Conflict.” Journal of Mixed Methods Research 11(1): 59-76

2016. “Dynamique et diversité des armées africaines: État des connaissances.” Afrique Contemporaine 2016/4(260): 27-44 (with Jason Warner)