War and the contagion of violence
The more time I spend in communities that have faced decades of conflict, the more I have come to believe that violence has an ability to spread and morph even when formal war ends. My dissertation looked at this issue directly; I used multi-level modeling to explore the hidden architecture of violence in post-conflict societies. Using Liberia as a case study, I linked two datasets – one from political science and one from public health – to look at whether violence from conflict may remain in community long after peace is formally declared.
As I had imagined, districts that experienced high-levels of war violence had rates of domestic violence that were far greater than less conflict-affected districts. See the results of this work in my British Medical Journal Global Health article. Since finishing my PhD, I have been asked to write a companion paper for a unique collaborative report between the World Bank and the United Nations called Pathways for Peace. I expanded my original analysis to include two more countries and found equally striking results. Currently, I'm working to expand this research to more countries to better understand the pathways through which violence can spread during and after war.