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Brian McQuinn

Assistant Professor of International Studies and Co-Founder of Traces of Conflict
PhD, Oxford University

Office: CL 208
Phone: (306) 585-4060

Dr. Brian McQuinn is a humanitarian and academic. Over two decades, his work in conflict affected-countries has ranged from supporting peace talks in Nepal and Timore Leste to engaging with armed groups in South Sudan and Nigeria. In 2015, he received his doctorate from the University of Oxford. His fieldwork included nine months of ethnographic study with the armed groups fighting the 2011 uprising in Libya.

Before joining the University of Regina, McQuinn served as a Global Advisor to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland. He co-founded the Online Traces of Conflict project, which is a collaboration with the Center for Human Rights Science at Carnegie Mellon University. The initiative examines civil war inception, social media in conflict, and the application of machine learning tools to the study of violence and health in conflict settings. His research has appeared in publications by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and in various peer-reviewed journals. These studies' results have also appeared in mainstream media like The Guardian, Financial Times, and Nature. Prof McQuinn co-leads the United Nations' course on the analysis and engagement of armed groups.

Dr. Brian McQuinn's cirriculum vitae

Doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2015


McQuinn, Brian (Submitted). Living with Rebels. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press).

McQuinn, Brian and Laura Courchesne. 2020. “Armed-Group Proliferation: Origins and Consequences.” Strategic Survey 2020: The Annual Assessment of Geopolitics. Washington D.C.: International Institute for Strategic Studies.

McQuinn, Brian. 2016. “DDR and the Internal Organization of Non-State Armed Groups.” Stability: International Journal of Security & Development 5(1): 2–25.

McQuinn, Brian. 2015. “Inside the Libyan Revolution: Cognitive Foundations of Armed Struggle in Libya.” (DPhil Dissertation: School of Anthropology, University of Oxford).

Cole, Peter and McQuinn, Brian (eds). 2015. The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath. (London: Hurst Publishers).

Cole, Peter and McQuinn, Brian. 2015. “Introduction: the politics of revolution and uprising,” in Peter Cole and Brian McQuinn (eds). The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath. (London: Hurst Press).

McQuinn, Brian. 2015. “History’s Warriors: The emergence of revolutionary brigades in Misrata,” in Peter Cole and Brian McQuinn (eds). The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath. (London: Hurst Press).

Whitehouse, Harvey, McQuinn, Brian, Buhrmester, Michael, and Swann, William Jr. 2014. “Brothers in arms: Libyan revolutionaries bond like family,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111.50: 17783-17785.

McQuinn, Brian. 2013. “Assessing (In)security after the Arab Spring: The Case of Libya.” Political Science & Politics, 46 (4), 716-720.

Whitehouse, Harvey and McQuinn, Brian. 2012. “Ritual and Violence: Divergent modes of religiosity and armed struggle,” in Mark Juergensmeyer, Margo Kitts, and Michael Jerryson (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence. (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Sullivan, Richard, McQuinn, Brian, and Purushotham, Arnie. 2011. “How are we going to rebuild public health in Libya?” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 104 (12), 490-492.

McQuinn, Brian. 2010. “Modes of coalition formation: CPN-Maoists doctrinal cohesion regimes,” in New Researchers’ Perspectives on the Nepalese People’s War. (Paris: Centre for Himalayan Studies).

Beardsley, Kyle and McQuinn, Brian. 2009. “Rebel Groups as Predatory Organizations: The Political Effects of the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia and Sri Lanka,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 53 (4), 624-645.

McQuinn, Brian. 2003. “A typology of post-accord problems: Step 1 - A survey of post-accord problems since 1989,” paper presented at the “Peace-building after Peace Accords” conference, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, 11–13 September.

Darby, John and McQuinn, Brian. 2003. “Contemporary peacemaking: a matrix,” paper presented at the “Peace- building after Peace Accords” conference, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, 11–13 September.

Dale, Rebecca and McQuinn, Brian. 2002. “Addressing Intractable Conflict: The potential of systems dynamics training as an intervention tool, Case study Rwanda,” presented at the 20th System Dynamics Conference Proceedings, Palermo, Italy.


Madden, Francine and McQuinn, Brian. 2017. “Addressing the Missing Link in Wildlife Conservation,” in Catherine M. Hill, Amanda D. Webber, Nancy E.C. Priston (eds). Understanding Conflicts about Wildlife: A Biosocial Approach. (New York: Berghahn Books).

Madden, Francine and McQuinn, Brian. 2015. “Understanding social conflict and complexity in marine conservation,” in Draheim, Megan, Madden, Francine, McCarthy, Julie-Beth, and Parsons, Chris (eds). 2015. Human-Wildlife Conflict: Complexity in the Marine Environment. (New York: Oxford University Press).

Madden, Francine and McQuinn, Brian. 2015. “Conservation conflict transformation: the missing link in conservation,” Redpath, Stephen M., Gutiérrez, R. J., Wood, Kevin A., and Young, Juliette C. (eds). Conflicts in Conservation: Navigating Towards Solutions. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Madden, Francine and McQuinn, Brian. 2014. “Conservation conflict transformation: Addressing the missing link in wildlife conservation.” Biological Conservation, 178 (September), 55-67.

Ellis, Christina, Koziell, Izabella, McQuinn, Brian, and Julie Stein. 2005. “Approaching the Table: Transforming Conservation-Community Conflict into Opportunity,” in Beyond the Arch: Community and Conservation in Greater Yellowstone and East Africa, 7th Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Proceedings edited by Alice Wondrak Biel. 6–8 October 2003, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park.

Stein, Julie, Ellis, Christina, Koziell, Izabella, and McQuinn, Brian. 2002. “Gray Wolf recovery by the Nez Perce Tribe: Illustrating a new framework for conservation conflict transformation with a North American case study,” presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, 28 June-2 July 2003, Duluth, Minnesota.


Terry, Fiona and McQuinn, Brian. 2018. Roots of Restraint in War. (Geneva: International Committee of the Red Cross).

McQuinn, Brian and Oliva, Fabio. 2014. Engaging Non-state Armed Groups in the Field: Scoping Report. (Turin: United Nations System Staff College).

McQuinn, Brian and Swartz, Fatima. 2013. Supporting Insider Mediation: Strengthening resilience to conflict and turbulence: Preliminary Research (New York: United Nations Development Programme).

King, Benjamin, McQuinn, Brian, Navas Caputo, Claudia, and Tobon, Alonso. 2013. Ad Hoc Arsenals: PSSM Practices of Selected Non-state Actors (Geneva: Small Arms Survey).

Ernstorfer, Anita, White, Jonathan, Smith, Deirdre, McQuinn, Brian, and Dedic, Jessica. 2013. “Literature Review: The Relationships between Violent Extremism/Terrorism and Development,” Confidential policy report developed for UK Department for International Development (DFID).

McQuinn, Brian. 2012. After the Fall: Libya’s Evolving Armed Groups (Geneva: Small Arms Survey).

McQuinn, Brian. 2012. Armed Groups in Libya: Typology and Roles (Geneva: Small Arms Survey).

McQuinn, Brian. 2012. Impact Assessment: Youth employment programmes in Sierra Leone (2007–2009). (Freetown: United Nations Development Programme).


Research references

Head of United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, referenced the Roots of Restraint in War twice in a recent speech, describing it as one of the best studies of its kind.

New York times article on the Roots of Restraint in War study, entitled: “There’s Been a Global Increase in Armed Groups. Can They Be Restrained?”

Academic outreach

Article in Nature highlighting the initial research results from the Ritual, Community, and Conflict project. Written by Dan Jone (23 January 2013), “Social evolution: The ritual animal” (London: Nature Publishing Group).

Departmental seminar. University of East Anglia, School of International Development, 7 Nov 2012 (Norwich, UK).

Media interviews

BBC World Service. Situation in Libya following the death of Ambassador Stephens. September 2012.

BBC World Service. Situation in Libya following the overthrow of the Qadhafi regime. June 2012.

Public policy engagement

University of Oxford. Changing Character of War Seminar Series. “Inside the Libyan Revolution: Cognitive Foundations of Armed Struggle.” 9 February 2016.

London School of Economics, Middle East Centre. “Armed Groups in Libya: A Comparative Look.” 20 September 2012. (

Liberation and Resistance Movements: Strengthening their Capacity for Peacemaking, Berghof Foundation, 15 November YEAR? (Berlin, Germany).

Quotes appear in “Shadow army takes over Libya’s security,” by Borzou Daragahi. The Financial Times. (6 July 2013).

Interviewed for “A land of militias, Libya struggles to build a military,” by Maggie Fick. The Christian Science Monitor. (24 February 2013).

Research appears in The Guardian. (

Press Release. University of Oxford. (

UK Economic and Social Research Council. (