Laura N. Bell, Ph.D.

West Texas A&M University

Address: 2403 Russell Long Blvd / Box 60807

City: Canyon, Texas - 79015

Country: United States

Research Interests

Political Violence


Non-Democratic Regimes

Middle East & North African Politics

Foreign Policy

Political Assassinations

Lebanese Politics

Enforced Disappearances

Transitional Justice

Countries of Interest


My Research:

My current research examines political and societal instability in the aftermath of terrorist assassinations, utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methods. I have a book project under contract in which I examine the span of time from a terrorist assassination to political instability (survival analysis) across the globe. The project is scheduled for completion in September 2020.Other current work examines the span of time to an incident of social unrest (i.e., demonstration and/or riot) in Africa after a terrorist assassination, as well as a study of the impact of journalist assassinations since the 1970s.

My primary area of interest is political assassination with a current focus on terrorist assassinations. Regionally, I am most interested in the Middle East with a focus on Lebanon and the wider Levant. My future research agenda will expand to multiple facets of political assassinations, including state-sponsored assassination, and will encompass both qualitative and quantitative methods. Examinations of political assassination inform and enrich several bodies of literature, such as terrorism, international security, and foreign policy.


Journal Articles:

(2017) Terrorist Assassination and Target Selection, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism

This research note examines political institutional changes in the aftermath of terrorist assassinations. Contemporary assassinations are more often a component of wider campaigns of violence rather than a singular attack on a head of state. The Global Terrorism Database counts 16,831 terrorist assassinations from 1970-2014, indicating significant frequency of these events and includes a wide range of targets from law enforcement officials to foreign diplomats. Utilizing survival analysis, the span of time from a terrorist assassination event to a change in political institutions within states is measured across target types.

(2017) Terrorist Assassination and Institutional Change in Repressive Regimes, Terrorism and Political Violence

Missing from the political violence literature is an in-depth and systematic examination of the effects of terrorist assassination on state political institutions in repressive regimes. By broadening the scope and depth of empirical research into terrorist assassinations, the potential exists to enhance our understanding of the outcomes of assassination by terrorist actors as well as our overall understanding of political violence in repressive regimes. Utilizing survival analysis and data from the Global Terrorism Database, the Polity IV Project and the Political Terror Scale, this project focuses on the post-terrorist assassination institutional outcomes in repressive regimes. While the effects are long-term, the most repressive regimes are the most likely to experience political institutional shifts in the wake of terrorist assassinations. The direction of the institutional shifts is mixed, but results indicate that the level of state repression in existence prior to a terrorist assassination matters to post-terrorist assassination outcomes.

Media Appearances:

TV Appearances:

(2017) Panhandle PBS

An interview with Karen Welch of Panhandle PBS for the local Live Here series, providing context of the political and societal environment in the states of Sudan and South Sudan.