Jessica Stanton

Assistant Professor
Stiteler Hall 214
(215) 898-7646

Jessica A. Stanton is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in international relations.  Her research interests include the causes, dynamics, and resolution of civil wars; the role of international law in international relations; and the causes of conflict and cooperation in international relations.  Her book, Violence and Restraint in Civil War: Civilian Targeting in the Shadow of International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2016), examines why some governments and rebel groups engaged in civil war adopt strategies that involve the deliberate targeting of civilians, while other groups, in accordance with international humanitarian law, refrain from attacking civilian populations.  Her research has also been published in The Journal of Politics and the Journal of Conflict Resolution, and is forthcoming in International Studies Quarterly.  Before joining the Political Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania, she held fellowships at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University, and the Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics at the University of Pennsylvania.  She received her Ph.D. with distinction from Columbia University and her B.A. with distinction from Stanford University.  

Selected Publications: 

Violence and Restraint in Civil War: Civilian Targeting in the Shadow of International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2016).   

“A Strategic Logic of Attacking Aid Workers: Evidence from Violence in Afghanistan, 2008-2012,” with Neil Narang, International Studies Quarterly (forthcoming). 

Regulating Militias: Governments, Militias, and Civilian Targeting in Civil Wars,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 59, no. 5 (August 2015): 899-923.

Terrorism in the Context of Civil War,” The Journal of Politics, vol. 75, no.4 (October 2013): 1009-1022.

Courses Taught: 


  • Introduction to International Relations
  • International Institutions and Law
  • Contemporary Civil Wars 

University of Pennsylvania
208 S. 37th Street, Room 217
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6215
Phone: (215) 898-7641

Anne Norton Chair
Matthew Levendusky Graduate Chair
Marc Meredith Undergraduate Chair