Kaitlyn Robinson

Studying how international and organizational politics shape civil wars

Photo of Kaitlyn Robinson

About Me

I am the America in the World Consortium Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke University. I am based in the Department of Political Science and affiliated with the Program in American Grand Strategy. I received my Ph.D. in 2022 from the Department of Political Science at Stanford University.

My research studies how international and organizational politics influence civil war.

  • In my dissertation, I show that foreign state sponsors play central role in the proliferation of armed groups. Rather than supporting an already existing armed group, external states can help organize new groups with ideologies, objectives, and capabilities that are more compatible with their foreign policy goals. In so doing, external state sponsors create reliable armed group proxies to carry out their policy objectives.
  • My other work studies how the organizational politics of armed groups affect conflict processes. I develop new theories to explain how organizational structures, management practices, and internal conflicts influence armed group splintering, leadership changes, and the use of violence.

I have conducted field interviews in Thailand and Myanmar with rebel leaders in collaboration with the International Growth Centre. I am a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and I was a 2020-2021 junior scholar at the International Policy Scholars Consortium and Network.

I serve as a senior researcher on the Mapping Militants Project, which aims to document the organization, behavior, and relationships of armed groups across several different conflicts. The project is a member of the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education Center (NCITE), a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence.

I graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Political Science and History, and I worked at the U.S. Department of Defense in the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies before starting graduate school.