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Kimberly Marten

Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science


Kimberly Marten is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science at Barnard College (where she earlier served as department chair), and a member of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Faculty at Columbia University.  She is the Deputy Director for Development at Columbia's Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies (where she served as Acting Director, 2012/13), and a faculty member of Columbia's Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies.  She is a member of the PONARS-Eurasia network, and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Marten's research examines how patron/client politics and corruption affect international security. 

She wrote about informal patronage networks and Russian foreign policy in a PONARS Eurasia policy memo, presented at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.  Marten has also written (here and here) about Russia and the Ukrainian crisis for ForeignAffairs.com, and for the Washington Post's Monkey Cage Blog (here, here, here, and here).  She recently discussed Russia on the The Daily Show (extra web content here) with Jon Stewart, the Charlie Rose Show with guest host Richard Haass, NPR's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross and "Here and Now" with Robin Young, WNYC radio's The Takeaway with John Hockenberry, MSNBC's The Last Word with guest host Alex Wagner and Disrupt with Karen Finney, CNN International, Al Jazeera America TV, BBC World Service Radio, BloombergTV, Bloomberg Radio, China Business Network (Shanghai), a Nezavisimaya Gazeta (Russia) interview, a Forbes.com interview, Globo TV Brazil, Monocle 24 TV in the UK, Sky News UK, and the POTUS Morning Briefing on Sirius radio.

A second project analyzes local warlords across the globe, asking how their patronage networks impact sovereignty and state failure.  Her latest book, Warlords: Strong-Arm Brokers in Weak States (Cornell University Press, 2012), traces the development of warlordism and its consequences in the tribal areas of Pakistan, Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, and post-Soviet Georgia and the Republic of Chechnya in Russia.  She discussed the book on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show and Wisconsin Public Radio.  The book was reviewed in an H-Diplo/International Security Studies Forum roundtable. In International Security, she compares warlordism in Afghanistan and Somalia to medieval Europe and Republican-era China.

Marten's third research theme looks at militias and security sector reform in weak states.  Her chapter on the Afghan Local Police appears in an edited volume on The Transnational Governance of Violence and Crime, following an earlier opinion piece in the International Herald Tribune (reprinted on the New York Times website).  Her initial work on the Palestinian Authority Security Forces was presented as  an IHT/NYT op-ed, with an academic article accepted for forthcoming publication in International Peacekeeping.  Other pieces applying these themes to Libya, Syria, and other cases have appeared in Jane's Intelligence Review, The Monkey Cage blog, and  Prism, the journal of the National Defense University Center on Complex Operations.

Her previous books include Engaging the Enemy: Organization Theory and Soviet Military Innovation (Princeton, 1993), which received the Marshall Shulman Prize; Weapons, Culture, and Self-Interest: Soviet Defense Managers in the New Russia (Columbia, 1997); and Enforcing the Peace: Learning from the Imperial Past (Columbia, 2004).

Marten earned her A.B. in 1985 at Harvard magna cum laude and Ph.D. in 1991 at Stanford. She was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation; a visiting scholar at Harvard's Olin Institute for Strategic Studies; a visiting scholar at Tokyo's Institute for International Policy Studies (via a Hitachi/Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship); and a visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.  Her research has been supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Social Science Research Council/MacArthur Foundation, and the Government of Canada.

Academic Focus: 

International relations

International security

Politics and security in Eurasia

Non-state armed actors and state-building

The causes of terrorism and the effects of counter-terrorism policies

POLS V 1601  International Politics
Syllabus Fall 2012
Counts as an introductory-level course in International Relations
POLS V 3675  Russia and the West
Syllabus Fall 2010
Counts as an introductory-level course in International Relations
POLS BC 3055  Colloquium on Political Violence and Terrorism
Syllabus Spring 2013
POLS BC 3118 Colloquium on International Security
Syllabus Spring 2014
POLS BC 3812  Colloquium on State Failure, Warlords and Pirates
Syllabus: Spring 2012

Fall 2013


"Reformed or Deformed?  Patronage Politics, International Influence, and the Palestinian Security Forces," International Peacekeeping, in press.

"A New Explanation for Russian Foreign Policy: The Power of Informal Patronage Networks," PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo 274, September 2013.

“Warlords and Governance,” in The Transnational Governance of Violence and Crime: Non-State Actors in Security, ed. Anja P. Jakobi and Klaus Dieter Wolf (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 23-29.  Governance and Limited Statehood Series.

"The Bane of Palestinian Infighting," International Herald Tribune, June 27, 2013.

Warlords: Strong-Arm Brokers in Weak States.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012.

"Uncertain Loyalty: The Challenges of Cooperating with Militias," Jane's Intelligence Review, December 2012: 41-5.

"Patronage vs. Professionalism in New Security Institutions," Prism (National Defense University Center for Complex Operations) 2, no. 4 (Sept. 2011): 83-98.

“Warlords,” in The Changing Character of War, ed. Hew Strachan and Sibylle Scheipers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

“Failing States and Conflict,” in The International Studies Encyclopedia (a peer-reviewed compendium of scholarly concepts in international relations, a project of the International Studies Association), ed. Robert A. Denemark (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).

“From Kabul to Kandahar: The Canadian Forces and Change,” American Review of Canadian Studies 40, no. 2 (June 2010): 214-36.
“The Danger of Tribal Militias in Afghanistan: Learning from the British Empire,” Journal of International Affairs (Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs) 63, no. 1 (Fall/Winter 2009): 157-74.
“Correspondence: Misunderstanding Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas?” substantive response letter, International Security 33, no. 3 (Winter 2008/9): 180-85.
"Statebuilding and Force: The Proper Role of Foreign Militaries," Journal of Intervention and State-Building 1, no. 2 (June 2007): 231-47.  Reprinted in Statebuilding and Intervention: Policies, Practices and Paradigms, ed. David Chandler (New York: Routledge, 2009).

“Russian Efforts to Control Kazakhstan’s Oil: The Kumkol Case,” Post-Soviet Affairs 23, no. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 2007): 18-37.

“Is Stability the Answer?” in Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World, ed. Pamela Aall, Chester A. Crocker and Fen Osler Hampson (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2007).

Warlordism in Comparative Perspective,” International Security 31, no. 3 (Winter 2006/7): 41-73.

Enforcing the Peace: Learning from the Imperial Past.  New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.

Weapons, Culture, and Self-Interest: Soviet Defense Managers in the New Russia.  New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

Engaging the Enemy: Organization Theory and Soviet Military Innovation, 1955-1991.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.








Barnard: 212-854-5115

Harriman: 212-854-8452


Office Hours: 

Spring 2014:

Barnard students: Tuesdays 2-4pm, Lehman 402, and by appointment



SIPA students/Harriman business: Wednesdays 3-4pm, 1215 IAB, and by appointment



A.B., Harvard University

Ph.D., Stanford University

Related Web Sites: 

Harriman Institute


Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies




Council on Foreign Relations


International Studies Association


























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