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Dr Christine Cheng

Lecturer in International Relations

Cheng-2014Department of War Studies

Room K6.55

King's College London


London WC2R 2LS

Tel: 020 7848 2944


Please ring or tweet rather than email.  N.B. Please note that there is no full-stop between christine and cheng. Emails sent to will go to a KCL student.

Office hours: Mondays 14.00-15.00.


Christine Cheng is Lecturer in International Relations. She joined the department in 2012. Her research on post-conflict transitions sits at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics.

Dr Cheng holds a DPhil from Oxford (Nuffield College) and an MPA from Princeton University (Woodrow Wilson School). Previously, she was the Bennett Boskey Fellow in Politics at Exeter College, University of Oxford. At Oxford, she taught in the Politics, Philosophy, and Economics programme (PPE) and the Williams College’s year-abroad program. In 2009, she was the Cadieux- Léger Fellow at Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Dr Cheng originally trained as a systems design engineer (BASc) at the University of Waterloo, where she served as president of the student government. She has worked for the UN Commission on Human Security, the World Bank's Gender Group, Environment Canada, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. She also regularly comments on international affairs for a variety of media outlets including the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, al Jazeera, Radio France International, and Real Clear World.

At King's, she serves as the faculty advisor for the student-run Strife blog and journal. She blogs at and tweets @cheng_christine.

Research Interests

Extralegal groups: This project examines ex-combatant groups that have taken over natural resource areas in the aftermath of war and the impact these groups have on statebuilding and stability. For this project, I conducted field research in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire. I am interviewed about this work here.

Corruption and peacebuilding: This project (with Dominik Zaum) provides a more complex look at how corruption affects peacebuilding efforts and also how peacebuilding practices, especially those of the international community, can unwittingly foment corruption. The findings from this project were published in Corruption and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Selling the Peace? (Routledge 2011).

Women in Politics: This project (with Margit Tavits) tested the idea that the gender of party gatekeepers matters for recruiting women to run for office. In other words, women candidates are more likely to be nominated when the gatekeeper—the local party president—is a woman rather than a man. Using an original dataset based on Canadian election data, we found support for this hypothesis. This study underlines the importance of informal factors for understanding women’s political underrepresentation.


My publications are available on the Research Portal and on myblog.  My c.v is available here.


I teach the following MA modules:

  • 7SSWM140 Conflict, Security, and Development.
  • 7SSWM068 State Failure and Statebuilding

I also co-convene the 2014 War Studies Research Seminar (for staff, PhD students, postdocs, researchers).

PhD Supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD and MA students with an interest in armed conflict

  • Peacekeeping
  • African politics
  • Statebuilding
  • Corruption
  • DDR
  • R2P
  • Development aid

MA thesis students are encouraged to use this resource page to guide them through the process of choosing a research question and conducting their research.

Current PhD students

Alison Brettle: Helping or Hindering? Informal Mechanisms, Social Networks and the Reintegration of Ex-combatants in South Sudan

Expertise and Public Engagement

I regularly comment on international affairs for a variety of media outlets (TV, radio, print) including the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, al Jazeera, the International Herald Tribune, the New York Times, Radio France International, and Real Clear World.  

I am deeply committed to engaging policy makers. I have briefed a variety of organizations on my research including the UNDP, the UK government (FCO, DFID, MOD), the Canadian government (DFAIT). I am open to collaborative projects with government departments, NGOs, international organizations, the private sector, and other academic institutions.


Twitter @cheng_christine.

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