Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Political Science

First Advisor

Harvey Starr


With the purpose to re-conceptualize the intensity of internal armed conflicts, I argue that the characteristics such as location, scale and duration of “major battlefields,” i.e. the spatio-temporal clusters of combat events are important in the evaluation of impact of modern civil wars and insurgencies. I start with elaborating and constructing a new concept of conflict magnitude with battle clusters using up-to-date geo-referenced data and spatial statistic methods. In the second article, I first explain the location and duration of major battlefields. The findings indicate that an area with multiple non-state armed groups (NSAGs) is more likely to become main battlefields in conflict. Besides, NSAG's organizational structure as well as their “strength indicators” - transnationality, alliance with governments and the size of their areas of operation (AOs) - are also positively related to more and longer battle clusters in a place. In the third article, I find that the density and duration of major battlefields in civil wars contribute to the incidence and severity of terrorist events during and after the war. The more “condensed" a major battlefield is, i.e. there are more battle events occurring in the battlefield temporally or geographically, the more likely that terrorist events would take place during or after the conflict. In addition, the longer a place has been a major battlefield in the civil war, the more likely that there would be terrorism in that place. Finally, the condensed and prolonged major battlefields would also contribute to more casualties in terrorist events during or after the war.