May 4 Professor Sara Mitchell: Patterns of Maritime Conflicts, 1900-2010

The Minnesota Political Methodology Colloquium is very excited to host Professor Sara Mitchell of the University of Iowa on May 4th as a keynote speaker for our first MPMC graduate student conference (Register for the conference here!). Professor Mitchell will present her working paper "Patterns of Maritime Conflicts, 1900-2010: The Onset and Management of ICOW Maritime Claims" for which you can find the paper attached. Professor Mitchell will also speak about managing large data sets during her talk.

The talk will take place from 2:00-3:15 pm in Carlson, Room 1-142.

Abstract: While maritime conflicts have become a mainstream feature of modern interstate relations, we have little understanding of their generalizable patterns with respect to claim onset and management. This project utilizes data from the Issue Correlates of War (ICOW) on 270 diplomatic claims over maritime areas globally from 1900-2010 to explore patterns in states’ interactions over territorial and resource issues of the seas. After defining maritime claims and summarizing global and regional patterns, the paper examines factors that influence the onset, militarization, and peaceful settlements of maritime disputes. Countries make new diplomatic claims to maritime areas to defend sovereignty over islands and marine resources and to enhance state security. Surprisingly, maritime claims are more likely to occur between wealthier and more democratic countries, although escalation of such disputes to fatal militarized disputes is rare. Militarization of maritime claims occurs in about one in four cases globally, with the presence of potential oil resources and migratory fish stocks increasing the risks for militarized confrontations. Higher levels of maritime claim salience combined with a history of militarized conflict increases risks for further violence. Peaceful settlements of maritime claims have occurred more frequently in high salience cases where third parties are involved as conflict managers. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has also been successful in settling member states’ existing claims and preventing the onset of new diplomatic conflicts. These findings help us understand how prominent cases like the South China Sea disputes fit into the broader landscape of maritime conflicts.

Sara McLaughlin Mitchell is the F. Wendell Miller Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science at Michigan State University in 1997 and her B.S degree in Economics and Political Science at Iowa State University in 1991. She is author of Domestic Law Goes Global: Legal Traditions and International Courts (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Guide to the Scientific Study of International Processes (Wiley-Blackwell 2012), Conflict, War, and Peace: An Introduction to Scientific Research(CQ Press/Sage 2013),The Triumph of Democracy and the Eclipse of the West (Palgrave Macmillan 2014), and What Do We Know About Civil Wars? (Rowman Littlfield 2016), she has edited several special journal issues, and she has published more than forty journal articles and book chapters. She is the recipient of several major research awards from the Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, and the United States Agency for International Development. Her areas of expertise include international conflict, political methodology, and gender issues in academia. Professor Mitchell is co-founder of the Journeys in World Politics workshop, a mentoring workshop for junior women studying international relations. She received the Faculty Scholar Award (2007-2010), Collegiate Scholar Award (2011), and the Graduate College Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award (2012) from the University of Iowa, the Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar Award (2015) from the International Studies Association, a distinguished alumni award from Iowa State University, and she served as President of the Peace Science Society.
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