• Erica De Bruin

    Assistant Professor of Government

    Hamilton College

  • Welcome!

    I am an Assistant Professor of Government at Hamilton College, where I study international security and civil-military relations. I am particularly interested in understanding the dynamics of military coups, connections between different forms of political violence, and determinants of civilian support for armed groups.


    I received a PhD from the Department of Political Science at Yale University in 2014, and a BA in Political Science from Columbia University. I worked previously as a Research Associate in U.S. Foreign Policy and International Law at the Council on Foreign Relations and as a Research Associate in the Fellows Program at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C.


    At Hamilton, I teach courses in international relations, including international security, civil-military relations, civil wars, and U.S. foreign policy.

  • Research

    Research interests

    Causes, dynamics, and outcomes of coups d’état; strategies of coup-proofing; the use of paramilitaries, militia and other 'irregular' security forces; interactions between international and domestic security concerns; civilian support for armed groups


    Work in progress

    • "Preventing Coups d’état: How Counterbalancing Works." (Revise and resubmit, Journal of Conflict Resolution)
    • "Will There Be Blood? The Determinants of Violence During Coups d’état." (Under review)
    • “Would a Democratic Middle East Have Been More Peaceful? A Counterfactual Exercise.” With Bruce Russett. (Under review)
    • "War and Coercive Institutions in Developing States.” (Working paper)
    • "Measuring Counterbalancing." (Working paper)
  • State Security Force Data Set

    The State Security Forces Data Set includes information on the command, composition, deployment, and strength of over 250 security forces in developing states, 1960-2010. It was collected to test arguments about the effectiveness of "counterbalancing" the military with militarized police, national guards, militias, or other independent security forces as a coup-prevention strategy, but may also be of use in studies of civil war, military effectiveness, repression, and state-building.


    Thus far, I have drawn upon over 1,200 primary and secondary sources to conduct an initial wave of data collection in 65 countries. The sources include academic works on military institutions and civil-military relations in each state, historical news sources, annual defense publications, government websites, and reports from non-governmental organizations. A selected bibliography can be found here.


    A second round of data collection will begin this fall with the support of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) Foundation. The expanded dataset will include an additional 86 countries. For more information, please email me at edebruin@hamilton.edu.

  • Teaching

    Courses taught at Hamilton

    Honors Thesis, Fall 2016

    Civil War, Fall 2015

    U.S. Foreign Policy, Fall 2015

    International Security, Spring 2015

    Civil-Military Relations, Spring 2015

    International Relations, Fall 2014, Spring 2016

    Student evaluations

    Sample comments are below. Complete course evaluations are available upon request.


    "Prof. De Bruin is excellent; Hamilton needs to lock her down as soon as possible. Not only is she filling a critical gap in our world politics faculty (international security), but she is an superb teacher. She ran and designed what was without a doubt the best writing workshop of my Hamilton career."


    "I've talked more about this class outside of school than any other course at Hamilton. It made me think about the world in new ways and encouraged me to open my mind to new ideas. I would recommend this course to anyone at Hamilton. Very glad I took it."


    "Professor De Briun was one of my favorite teachers this semester. Even though I did not performed as well as I expected myself to, I am very happy with what I learned from this class. Professor De Briun has taught me way more than just international relations, she has thought me how to write a strong argument, and a strong paper. "


    "Professor De Bruin was one of the most effective teachers I have had at Hamilton so far."


    "Professor De Bruin is a really phenomenal Professor. I think she was particularly great for this seminar-style course because she is great at leading discussions, bringing up thought-provoking questions, and encouraging us to think critically. She is also clearly very knowledgable on the subject, and really knew what she was talking about."

  • Contact

    Erica De Bruin

    Assistant Professor of Government

    Hamilton College

    198 College Hill Road

    Clinton, NY 13323


    Office: Kirner-Johnson Room 120

    (315) 859-4526