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Maria Koinova


Professor in International Relations

Email: m dot koinova at warwick dot ac dot uk
Tel: +44 (0)24 765 24632
Room: E2.11

Feedback hours T2/23-24, online:
Mondays 16:15-17:15, Wednesdays 8:45 - 9:45.

ERC Starting Grant Project "Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty"

Prof. Dr. Maria Koinova is a Professor in International Relations at the Politics and International Studies Department at the University of Warwick. She is Deputy Editor for the Migration Studies journal (OUP), a research fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies, and PI of the project "Engaging the Ukrainian Diaspora in Reconstruction and Development: Democracy and Human Rights Dimensions," sponsored by Research England Policy Support Fund (2023-2024) for work in collaboration with OSCE-ODIHR and ICMPD. Recently, Koinova was on the governing board of the EU Jean Monnet network "Between the EU and Russia" (2018-2022), and a Principal investigator of a research project on "Polycentric Governance of Transit and Irregular Migration" (2019-2020) sponsored by the Centre for Global Cooperation Research in Germany. She successfully completed as Principal Investigator a large-scale European Research Council Starting Grant Project “Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty” (2012-2017). 

Koinova held academic positions at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (2001-2004), Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies (2004-2005), and Center for European Studies (2011), Cornell’s Government Department (2007-2008), Dartmouth’s Dickey Center for International Understanding (2008-2009), the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. (summers 2006, 2007), European University Institute (1999-2005, Ph.D.), Uppsala University (2013), Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (2012), Kroc Center for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame in the USA (2018), and tenure-track faculty positions at the University of Amsterdam (2009-2012) and American University of Beirut (2005-2006).

Research interests

Koinova’s research interests span international relations, comparative politics, and international political sociology and focus on how migration, diasporas, and ethnonational diversity impact on the political development of conflict and post-conflict societies. Her research programmes encompass ethno-national and intra-state conflict, diasporas and contested sovereignty, and international politics of migration. Her geographical expertise is in EU's neighbourhood.

In 2023 Koinova provided her expertise to OSCE-ODIHR on the engagement of the Ukrainian diaspora for the reconstruction of Ukraine. Her current project, sponsored by the Research England Policy Support Fund (2023-2024), continues this policy-oriented endeavour.

In 2018 Koinova was awarded a research grant from the Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg to work on a project “Polycentric Governance of Transit Migration” focusing on informality, polycentric governance and its regional dimensions in the European neighbourhood. This project resulted in articles published in International Studies Review and Review of`International Studies, and is culminating in a special issue currently in advanced preparation for Journal or Ethnic and Migration Studies.

In 2011 Koinova won the highly competitive Starting Grant of the European Research Council to work on a five-year project “Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty.” Between 2012-2017 she directed a team of four researchers (two post-docs, two Ph.D. researchers) who investigated the transnational mobilization of conflict-generated diasporas in Europe and their impact on polities experiencing contested sovereignty in the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. The project progressed from qualitative analysis of elite-based diaspora mobilization of six groups (Albanian, Armenian, Bosnian, Iraqi, Kurdish, and Palestinian) in five EU countries (UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and France) to a quantitative analysis through a unique cross-country survey of 3,000 non-elite individuals among the Iraqi, Kurdish and Palestinian diasporas in the UK, Sweden and Germany. Within the larger ERC project, Koinova had a sub-project to investigate diaspora mobilization vis-à-vis de facto states, for which she conducted 300 semi-structured interviews, underpinning her book Diaspora Entrepreneurs and Contested States, published with Oxford University Press (2021). As a result of this large-scale project, Koinova became the single or leading editor of three special issues, in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2018), International Political Science Review (2018) and Ethnic and Racial Studies (2019). She also published numerous other articles in the European Journal of International Relations, International Studies Review, International Political Sociology, International Political Science Review and Global Networks, among others.

The ERC project built on Koinova’s previous research programme, which studied why ethno-national conflicts reach different degrees of violence, and why they persevere even after numerous international efforts for conflict resolution. Her book “Ethnonationalist Conflict in Postcommunist States: Varieties of Governance in Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Kosovo” was published by University of Pennsylvania Press (2013). The book argues that violence is rooted in informally institutionalized conflict dynamics established during a formative period, and sustained through specific causal mechanisms over time. Path-dependent processes incorporate not only local majorities and minorities, but international agents as well, such as major states, international organizations, and kin-states. The book was recommended by Choice (2014) and reviewed by Foreign Affairs, Journal of Peace Research, Perspectives on Politics, and Political Studies Review in addition to ten other academic journals.

Teaching and supervision

Koinova taught courses on International Security, Comparative Politics, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict, Non-state Actors in International Relations, Politics of Post-industrial States, and Europe, Democracy, and the State.

In T2 2023-24 Professor Koinova is teaching a module on "Russia in World Politics" (UG), and "Diasporas and States in World Politics" (MA) as well as a Ph.D. workshop “Field Research, Transparency, and Analytic Rigour through Coding.”

Prof. Koinova is interested in supervising Ph.D. and MA students, and collaborating with post-doctoral fellows and faculty members who work on the EU neighbourhood, Ukraine, post-communist and post-Soviet politics, as well as on forced migration, displacement and diaspora politics.