A 4-university team headquartered at UNT has been awarded a research grant from the U.S. Department of Defense's Minerva Research Initiative. The team is composed of Dr. Paul Hensel at UNT as well as Dr. Sara Mitchell at the University of Iowa, Dr. Krista Wiegand at the University of Tennessee, and Dr. Andy Owsiak at the University of Georgia. Their project, "Identity Claims: Expanding the Issue Correlates of War (ICOW) Dataset," involves the collection and analysis of a new dataset of international "identity claims" since World War II. Such claims involve demands by the government of one country over the status or treatment of its ethnic kin in another country, and may range from demands for equal rights to autonomy, independence, or even unification with the country making the demands.
The Minerva Research Initiative is an effort by the Department of Defense to fund basic social scientific research on topics that might be able to offer insight into critical problems confronting the U.S. and its allies, particularly with respect to sources of present and future conflict. The program is entirely unclassified and does not make any specific political or other demands on researchers, who are free to conduct and publish their research without any government or military interference. This project will run from Fall 2015 through Summer 2017 and totals approximately $670,000 across the four universities.
By the end of the grant, the project will have collected a database of all identity claims in the world between 1946-2014. This database will be released publicly as part of the Issue Correlates of War (ICOW) research project that is directed by Dr. Hensel and Dr. Mitchell, which has already collected data on territorial claims, river claims, and maritime claims between countries over the past two centuries. Some of the research questions that the research team intends to address with the new data are whether these identity claims are becoming more frequent over time, when and why countries choose to pursue these claims through various peaceful negotiations or military threats (and which of these techniques are most effective at settling the claims), and what impact these claims by outside actors have on the treatment of the ethnic groups in question.