Dr. Matthew D. Cebul is a research officer with USIP's Program on Nonviolent Action. Before joining USIP, Dr. Cebul was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan’s Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies and a USIP Peace Scholar Fellow from 2019-2020. He conducts research on democratization and the international dimensions of civil resistance campaigns, particularly in the Middle East. His ongoing book project, “Resistance and Rebellion in the Shadow of Foreign Intervention,” explains how the prospect of international assistance influences opposition behavior during nonviolent campaigns, particularly the 2011 Syrian uprising. His other work on international relations and Middle Eastern politics has appeared in major media outlets, as well as peer-reviewed academic journals, including The Washington Post, The Journal of Politics and the Journal of Conflict Resolution. 

Dr. Cebul received his master’s degree and doctorate in political science from Yale University and holds a bachelor’s degree from Haverford College. 

Publications By Matthew

Women Help Nonviolent Campaigns Succeed, But Nonviolent Discipline Remains Crucial

Women Help Nonviolent Campaigns Succeed, But Nonviolent Discipline Remains Crucial

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

By: Matthew D. Cebul, Ph.D.

In recent weeks, the world has watched in awe as Iranian women rise in peaceful protest against their country’s violent and patriarchal theocracy. Their courage is at once extraordinary and familiar, paralleling other inspiring episodes of women-led nonviolent activism. Indeed, women have played central roles in many of the world’s most impressive nonviolent campaigns.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderNonviolent Action

Nonviolent Action in the Era of Digital Authoritarianism: Hardships and Innovations

Nonviolent Action in the Era of Digital Authoritarianism: Hardships and Innovations

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

By: Matthew D. Cebul, Ph.D.;  Jonathan Pinckney, Ph.D.

In the late 2000s and early 2010s, nonviolent action movements employed social media and other digital tools to orchestrate pro-democracy uprisings that took regimes by surprise. Those euphoric early days have since given way to digital repression, restricted online freedoms, and democratic backsliding as authoritarian regimes leverage new technologies to surveil the opposition and sow misinformation. This report documents how nonviolent activists are adapting to digital repression and suggests ways the United States and its allies can slow the pace of autocratic innovation in the use of these technologies.

Type: Special Report

Nonviolent Action

Digital Authoritarianism and Nonviolent Action: Challenging the Digital Counterrevolution

Digital Authoritarianism and Nonviolent Action: Challenging the Digital Counterrevolution

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

By: Matthew D. Cebul, Ph.D.;  Jonathan Pinckney, Ph.D.

Nonviolent action campaigns are one of the most common ways citizens seek to peacefully change nonresponsive political systems. Yet recently developed and emergent technologies are transforming the nature of interactions between activists and authoritarian governments. This report examines the increasingly sophisticated set of tools—such as facial recognition and surveillance of social media platforms—authoritarian regimes are using to stifle nonviolent movements, and provides recommendations for how policymakers and activists can develop creative strategies for overcoming digital authoritarianism.

Type: Special Report

Nonviolent Action

View All