Allison McCulloch


B.A. (Hons) (Laurentian) M.A., Ph.D (Queen’s)

Research Interests

My research considers the politics of ethnically divided societies as well as peace processes and democratization in post-conflict states.  My publications have focused on the consociationalism-centripetalism debate, the relationship between deliberative democracy and consociationalism, the relationship between the Women, Peace and Security agenda (as embodied in international legal documents such as UN Security Council Resolution 1325)  and power-sharing practices and on the role of international actors in the design and maintenance of domestic political institutions. Broadly, I’m interested in the structure of peace negotiations and how they can be made more inclusive as well as the processes and institutions that facilitate democracy, security and stability in post-conflict settings.

I am currently working on three long-term projects:

1) Along with Siobhan Byrne (University of Alberta), I am a co-investigator on a research project titled Gender, Peace and Power-sharing Practices in Political Transitions, funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant (2014-18). Drawing on new fieldwork interviews and research, we are developing a model of gender-inclusive power-sharing that brings together lessons of ethnopolitical power-sharing from archetypal cases like Northern Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina with new policies around the ‘women, peace, and security’ (WPS) agenda.  In November 2015, Dr. Byrne and I co-hosted a workshop at Queen’s University Belfast on Power-Sharing Pacts and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda: Constructive Engagements that brought together leading scholars, students, and practitioners to discuss how these two competing international norms may be aligned in theory and practice. For more information about this project, please see:

2) I am also principal investigator on a 2-year Insight Development Grant. For this project, Dr. Joanne McEvoy (University of Aberdeen, Scotland) and I are investigating the normative and instrumental reasons why third-party mediators turn to power-sharing strategies during peace negotiations. We focus on the role of external actors at two critical statebuilding moments: the negotiation stage that culminates in the adoption of an inclusive and sustainable institutional package and the post-conflict implementation stage, when third parties find themselves re-engaged in the external governance of self-determination disputes.

3) The third project examines the incentive structures for ethnopolitical moderation and extremism in the ethnic party systems that develop under consociational arrangements. In particular, I am interested in how power-sharing governments handle political crises, how hardline parties can be incentivized to moderation, and how moderate parties fare once hardline parties begin to moderate.  I am currently writing an article that considers how minority veto rights encourage political moderation, based on fieldwork I conducted in Northern Ireland while on sabbatical. I have also recently co-edited a book with John McGarry (Queen’s University) entitled Power-Sharing: Empirical and Normative Challenges (Routledge, forthcoming), which assesses the stability, effectiveness, and fairness of power-sharing practices.


Selected Publications

Power-Sharing and Political Stability in Deeply Divided Societies. Security and Governance Series. Routledge.  2014. 

Power-Sharing: Empirical and Normative Challenges. Co-edited with John McGarry. Routledge Studies on Challenges, Crises and Dissent in World Politics. Routledge. Forthcoming 2017.

“The Use and Abuse of Veto Rights in Power-Sharing Systems: Northern Ireland in Comparative Perspective.” Forthcoming in Government and Opposition.

“On the Brink: A Year of Power-Sharing Crises.” E-International Relations. 14 January 2016. Available at:

“Consociational Settlements in Deeply Divided Societies: The Corporate-Liberal Distinction,” Democratization 21, 3 (2014): 501-518.

“Does Moderation Pay? Centripetalism in Deeply Divided Societies,” Ethnopolitics, 12, 2 (2013): 111-132.

“Deliberating and Learning Contentious Issues: How Divided Societies Represent Conflict in History Textbooks,” with Anna Drake, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 13, 3 (2013): 277-294. Special Issue on Ethnicity, Nationalism and Education

“The Track Record of Centripetalism in Deeply Divided Places,” in Power-Sharing in Deeply Divided Places, Brendan O’Leary and Joanne McEvoy, eds., University of Pennsylvania Press (2013).

“Gender, Representation, and Power-Sharing in Post-Conflict Institutions,” with Siobhan Byrne, International Peacekeeping 19, 5 (2012): 565-580.

“Deliberative Consociationalism in Deeply Divided Societies,” with Anna Drake, Contemporary Political Theory 10, 3 (2011): 372-392.


Teaching Areas

I teach broadly in the areas of International Politics, Comparative Politics, and Gender & Women’s Studies

In the Fall 2016 term, I am offering a new course on Politics and Popular Culture (78:297). 

In the Winter 2017 term, I am teaching United Nations: Special Problems (78:482) and International Law (78:382).

Courses Taught