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Carolyn Gallaher

Associate Professor
School of International Service

  • I do research in two distinct areas—organized violence by non-state actors and urban politics In the first area, on which I have spent more time, I examine the politics, internal dynamics, and patterns of violence of militias, paramilitaries, private military contractors, and drug cartels among others. My work in this area has resulted in two books: The first, On the Fault Line: Race, Class, and the American Patriot Movement (Rowman and Littlefield 2003), tracks the identity politics of the Kentucky State Militia as it experienced rapid growth, internal upheaval, and decline with the arrest of its commander. The second book, After the Peace: Loyalist Paramilitaries in Post-accord Northern Ireland (Cornell 2007) examines why Loyalist paramilitaries took nearly a decade after the 1998 peace agreement to decommission their weapons and stand down their armed units. My work on these groups has also appeared in academic journals like Space and Polity and Antipode. Currently I am working on an NIJ funded project (with colleague Dan Schneider) about cross border cooperation between US and Mexican law enforcement agencies policing drug cartels. This research is in progress. My second area of focus is on urban politics. Although my research in the above category is interdisciplinary, I was trained as a human geographer, and a few years ago I made a conscious decision to return to my disciplinary roots. Given that I live and work in a large metropolitan area, I decided to look at the major changes ongoing in DC. To that end I am working on a book manuscript (tentatively titled The Politics of Staying Put: Tenant Right to Buy in Washington DC) about a unique law in the District of Columbia--the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act--that allows tenants buy their apartment buildings when their landlord sells it or tries to convert to condominium. My analysis tracks the program's level of success at keeping people in place between 2000 and 2013, a period of rapid gentrification in the District.
  • Degrees

    PhD, University of Kentucky; MA, Miami University; BA, Mary Washington College
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Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Outstanding Teaching in the General Education Program; American University School of International Service, 2004-2005
  • Visiting Fellowship, National Institute of Spatial and Regional Analysis, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Spring 2005
  • Visiting Fellowship, Center for Human Rights, Diversity, and Identity, Okanagan University College, BC, Canada, August 2004
  • American University Summer Faculty Research Award, Spring 2003
  • American University Junior Faculty Research Leave, Spring 2001

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • American University Curriculum Development Grant, April 1999
  • Teaching and Learning Center Technology Enhancement Grant, December 1998
  • American University School of International Service Professional Development Grant, October 1998

Selected Publications

  • After the Peace: Loyalist Paramilitaries in Post-accord Northern Ireland, Cornell University Press, 2007.   
  • "The Role of Protestant Missionaries in Mexico's Indigenous Awakening." Bulletin of Latin American Research, 2007.   
  • "The Geography of Loyalist Paramilitary Feuding in Belfast." Space and Polity, 2006, with Peter Shirlow.   
  • "Fine-tuning, Standing Firm, 'Fessing Up." ACME, 2004.   
  • "The Religious Right Reacts to Globalization." In Gods, Guns, and Globalization: Religious Radicalism and International Political Economy, M. Tétreault and R. Denemark, eds. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2004.   
  • "Mainstreaming the Militia." Spaces of Hate and Intolerance in the United States of America, C. Flint, ed. London: Routledge, 2004   
  • "Workers on the Fault Line: Engaging the Militia Movement." Left Turn 2004, with Matthew Bowles.   
  • On the Fault Line: Race, Class, and the American Patriot Movement, Rowman and Littlefield, 2003.
  • "Teaching about Political Violence: A Primer on Representation." Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 2003.

Professional Presentations

  • Insurgent Violence and the Colonial Present. Panel presentation for author meets critics roundtable on Derek Gregory's "The Colonial Present" at the 106th annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Chicago, IL, March 2006
  • Geography and New War Literature. Panel presentation for roundtable on "War Citizenship and Territory" at the 106th annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Chicago, IL, March 2006
  • Schizophrenic Identities. Panel presentation for roundtable on "One Foot in: Geographers working in other disciplines" at the 106th annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Chicago, IL, March 2006.
  • Class: Alive and Well and in Surprising Places. Paper presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Chicago, IL, March 2006
  • Competing Visions of Loyalism in Post-industrial Belfast, Northern Ireland. Paper presented at the 100th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Philadelphi, PA, August 2005
  • Imagining Loyalism after Peace. Paper presented at Cuarta Conferencia Internacional de Geografía Crítica, Ciudad de México, México, January 2005
  • Colonizing the Left: Locating Right Wing Power. Paper presented at the 5th Pan-European International Relations Conference, The Hague, Netherlands, September 2004
  • Presider for Roundtable on "Researching Right-Wing Social Movements," at the 99th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, San Francisco, CA, August 2004.
  • Author Response. Panel Presentation for Roundtable on "Author meets Critics—C. Gallaher's On the Fault Line: Race, Class, and the American Patriot Movement," at the 104th annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Philadelphia, PA, March 2004
  • Paramilitaries after the peace? The UVF in Northern Ireland. Paper presented at the 104th annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Philadelphia, PA, March 2004

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: Guerrilla and paramilitary violence, right-wing extremism in the United States

Additional Information: Carolyn Gallaher
is the author of two books on right-wing paramilitaries. The first, After the Peace: Loyalist Paramilitaries in Post-Accord Northern Ireland (Cornell University Press, 2007), explains how loyalist paramilitary infighting after the 1998 peace process stalled the demilitarization process. The second, On the Fault Line: Race, Class and the American Patriot Movement (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), is the culmination of five years of research on the U.S. militia movement. She has also published numerous articles on the religious right ("Identity Politics and the Religious Right: Hiding Hate in the Landscape," in Antipode,and "The Religious Right Reacts to Globalization," in International Political Economy Yearbook); and Mexican politics ("New World Warriors: 'Nation' and 'State' in the Politics of the Zapatista and U.S. Patriot Movements," in Social and Cultural Geography and "Imaging the Mexican Election," in Antipode). Gallaher has also led study abroad programs for AU students in both Chiapas and Oaxaca in Mexico.

Media Relations
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