Conference on Ideology and Political Violence

The Bush School of Government and Public Service
Texas A&M University

December 5-6, 2019

Organized by Reyko Huang and Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar

The aim of this conference is to foster a better understanding of the interplay between ideology and political violence. Ideology has recently made something of a comeback in the scholarship on violent conflict, with studies pointing to prominent roles played by ideology in shaping violent actors’ behavior, conflict dynamics, and their international dimensions. Studies have also focused on specific ideologies as they pertain to violent outcomes, with particular attention paid to violent brands of Islamism.

Nevertheless, the more precise, nuanced, and variable processes through which ideology affects violent politics, as well as the obverse question of how political violence affects ideologies, remain relatively little understood. This conference envisions focused and empirically grounded research and discussion on ways in which ideologies and political violence interface. How, for instance, do ideologically oriented armed non-state groups arise and gain momentum? What explains the appeal of violent leftist groups in the latter half of the 20th century among diverse groups of people or the activism of violent Islamist organizations in the 21st century? How do violent ideologies lose appeal? What is the relationship between instrumentalism and beliefs? What explains the rise of violent right-wing parties and nationalist movements?

We welcome research papers that are puzzle-driven and theoretically and empirically grounded. Papers may focus on any ideology—whether religious or secular, historical or contemporary, local or transnational—from any part of the world. We also welcome research on ideology as it relates to any aspect of political violence and violent movements. We are open to all methodological approaches.

Paper abstracts of no more than a single page should be submitted to by June 7, 2019.

Travel and lodging expenses will be covered. Please contact the conveners, Reyko Huang ( or Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar (, with any questions.