Demand for Statehood: The Case of Native Recruitment in World War II (Forthcoming at International Studies Quarterly)

Abstract: This paper examines how the demand for independence appeared in the era of Decolonization. I argue that nationalist movements were more likely to emerge in places where the colonial authorities recruited the native population in World War II. The theory highlights the role of war veterans in creating the demand for independence and in facilitating it through organized collective action. Drawing on original World War II native recruitment data, an analysis of nationalist movements in sub-national units from 1945 to 1984 provides evidence consistent with the theory. The findings in this study help us better understand the rise of nationalist movements in the 20th century and the political effects of military service.

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Working Papers

Gatekeeper Governments and Modulated Rebels (With Hyeran Jo, Revise and Resubmit at European Journal of International Relations)

Abstract: International actors engage rebel groups in conflict zones for better humanitarian outcomes. What are the political conditions under which such external engagement occurs in internal conflict zones? We argue "insecure governments" and politically "modulated rebels" are the key factors that explain the international humanitarian engagement with rebels in civil conflicts. With the history of instability marred by coups and frequently changing hands of governments, insecure governments resort to international help and allow international actors to interact with their internal enemies. In contrast, other governments play a gatekeeper role, dealing with internal enemies autonomously. On the rebel side, politically "modulated rebels" are the prime candidates for those rebels engaged by international actors for humanitarian purposes. These are the rebels with civilian-regarding experiences while controlling territory or rebels near peace agreement negotiations. We test these arguments using the case of the United Nations action plans, in which some rebel groups committed to reducing the practice of child soldiering between 2000 and 2015. We find that the combination of "insecure governments" and "modulated rebels" can systematically account for the UN action plans occurrence. Our analysis has implications for the role of external actors in internal conflict zones around the world. 
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The Slave Trade and Military Formation under Colonialism (Under Review)

Abstract: How was the colonial military formed? Exploring the cases overlooked from the literature on state formation, I argue that colonial powers believed ethnic groups in regions heavily affected by the slave trade were 'martial races,' and because of this stereotype, ethnic groups targeted by the slave trade were more likely to be recruited into the colonial military. The paper tests the argument with the ethnicity-level slave trade data and the recruitment records from the Tirailleurs Sénégalais in colonial French West Africa. Using various specifications, including instrumental variable estimates and spatial lags, an analysis of the ethnicity-level recruitment quota provides evidence consistent with the theory. The findings in this study help us better understand the formation of the indigenous military in the former colonies and the political effects of the slave trade. 

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Humanitarian Rebel Governance: Internal Rebel Governance Roots of External Humanitarian Engagement (Under Review)

Abstract: "Humanitarian rebel governance" refers to the situation where governing rebels in civil conflicts engage in humanitarian affairs with external actors. What motivates those rebels to reach out to international actors and restrain themselves in conducting violence? We argue that humanitarian rebel governance is likely to emerge when rebels are socially based. The long-term relationship building with local civilians can set the conditions where rebel groups would seek out external humanitarian engagement. We illustrate the phenomenon and process of humanitarian rebel governance with the case of United Nations Action Plans that are aimed to reduce child soldiering. By tracing the external engagement trajectory of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines, we show the role of governing rebels and how internal and external conditions shape humanitarian outcomes. The inquiry into humanitarian rebel governance has implications for rebel governance, humanitarian politics, and violence-restraint in civil conflicts around the world.


Other Publications


World War II Colonial Soldiers and the Demand for Independence. 2022. Broadstreet