My overall research interest concerns how our fragmented self, such as our divided brain, can impact social polarization: There as studies suggesting that our degree of right- and left-handedness (how we use tools!) correlate significantly with political leanings. It is intreaguing that the concept “embodiment” looks to be more than just another buzzword, and can be a useful framework for understanding social fragmentation and violence.

My latest artistic research project, an exploration of Violence, the Taboo and the Sacred, is supported by Not Quite at Fengersfors Bruk where I have a Residence in the metal workshop for summer 2021.


I have worked within academia for a total of about ten years between 2003 and 2016. During that time I had the opportunity to collaborate with prominent researchers at Uppsala University (Sweden) as well as the University of Texas at Austin, University of Maryland, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I got my Ph.D. in Peace and Conflict Studies from Uppsala University in 2014.

My main contribution to the field has been to investigate how foreign aid going to contested areas influence violence intensity. I approached this issue from a rational choice perspective but maintain an interest in systemic approaches.

In order to investigate the relation between aid and conflict I needed subnational aid data. I initiated an effort to adapt and develop the Uppsala Conflict Data Program‘s geocoding method to cover foreign aid. Together with colleagues we did the first substantial pilot effort to geo-code foreign aid which sparked geo-coding efforts at the World Bank, USAID, African Development Bank, International Aid Transparency Initiative, the AidData Center for Development Policy, and others.

Together with colleagues I have been interested in mapping warring parties’ territorial dominance, primarily in Africa South of the Sahara. We have so far produced a dataset of warring parties’ battleground control. Battleground control measures the yearly number of locations that a warring party has been able to take control over as a result of battles with rivals in an administrative division (like a province). We have also been developing maps detailing warring parties’ territorial cominance and contestation. More datasets are upcoming.

Juba street“Juba street” by bbcworldservice is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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