The purpose of the lab is to support undergraduate and graduate research on topics related to peace and political violence. 
Lab Directors
Joseph Young
Department Chair and 
Associate Professor, Department of Justice, Law & Criminology
Associate Professor, School of International Service

Professor Young's interests relate to the cross-national causes and consequences of political violence. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles across academic disciplines, including political science, economics, criminology, and international studies. He has been invited to speak to organizations in the defense community and has consulted on a Department of Defense initiative focusing on countering violent extremism. The National Science Foundation and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) have funded his research.

Thomas Zeitzoff
Assistant Professor, Department of Justice, Law & Criminology

Dr. Thomas Zeitzoff is an assistant professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University. He received his Ph.D. in Politics from New York University in 2013, and was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University. His research examines why individuals participate in political violence, why groups fight, and the political and psychological effects of exposure to violence. As part of his research, he has conducted extensive fieldwork and survey research in Israel, Mexico, and Turkey. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, and has appeared or is forthcoming in Electoral Studies, Conflict Management and Peace Science, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and the American Political Science Review.

Senior Researchers

​Boaz Atzili

Tricia Bacon

Ben Jensen

Dr. Boaz Atzili is the Director of the SIS Doctoral Program. He is a political scientist who researches and teaches international politics. His interest is in international security with an emphasis on the politics of borders and territoriality, deterrence of non-state actors and their host states, and the international aspects of state weakness. His regional focus is in the Middle East, but his research extends to Africa, Europe, and Latin America as well. Atzili teaches courses include "International Relation Theory," "Schools of Thought in International Relations," "Security and Insecurity in a Global World," "Dynamics of International (in)Security," "Weak States and War," and "Arab-Israeli relations." Atzili's publications include Good Fences Bad Neighbors: Border Fixity and International Conflict (University of Chicago Press, 2012), and articles in International Security, Security Studies, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, and International Studies Review.
Tricia Bacon, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at American University’s School of Public Affairs. She earned her PhD at Georgetown University in 2013. Prior to her employment at American University, Dr. Bacon worked on counterterrorism for over ten years at the Department of State, including in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Bureau of Counterterrorism, and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Her work on counterterrorism in the intelligence community received numerous accolades, and she conducted research and analysis on counterterrorism in South Asia, North Africa, East Africa, Europe, and Southeast Asia. She was also a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Visiting Scholar and Terrorism Research Award recipient at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland, and a PRISP Fellow and Presidential Management Fellow at the State Department. Her research focuses on terrorist and insurgent groups' alliance behavior and decision-making, U.S. counterterrorism policy, and the role of intelligence in national security decision-making.
Dr. Benjamin M. Jensen’s teaching and research explore the changing character of political violence and strategy. He holds a dual appointment as an Assistant Professor at the Marine Corps University, Command and Staff College and as a Scholar-in-Residence at American University, School of International Service. At Marine Corps University, he runs the Advanced Studies Program. The program integrates student research with long-range studies on future warfighting concepts and competitive strategies in the U.S. defense and intelligence communities. At SIS, Dr. Jensen is the Program Coordinator for the Peace, Global Security, and Conflict Resolution undergraduate thematic area. His book, Forging the Sword: U.S. Army Doctrine, 1975-2010 was recently published His second book, Complex Dependence: Crisis and Coercion in a Globalized World, is currently under development with Georgetown University Press. Dr. Jensen has received grants and research support from the Minerva Initiative, Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, Smith Richardson Foundation and Centre national de la recherche scientifique (French National Center for Scientific Research). He is an alumnus of the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies Basin Harbor Workshop, the Bridging the Gap Initiative and the American Academy for Strategic Education. Dr. Jensen has written opinion pieces on the changing character of war for the New York Times, Financial Times, Washington Times, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, Philadelphia Inquirer, Al-Hayat and the Daily Star. His media appearances include BBC, Fox News, National Public Radio, and Canadian Television.