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Cline Center News and Announcements

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  • Announcing the 2024 Schroeder Summer Graduate Fellows

    We are pleased to announce the Cline Center’s 2024 Schroeder Summer Fellowships.  This year the fellows are Alesha Lewis, Ekin Alpay, and Myung Jung Kim

    The Schroeder Summer Graduate Fellowship Program is made possible by a generous gift from William A. and Paul W. Schroeder. The program aims to enhance the quality of rigorous research on topics that fall within ongoing research programs at the Cline Center by helping graduate students in Political Science at the University of Illinois generate original and publishable research at an early stage in their graduate career. 

    Ekin Alpay - Ekin's research project conducts a descriptive analysis of anti-democratic rhetoric within partisan media, utilizing sentimental variables to trace its evolution. Focused on the coverage of anti-democratic events and the rhetoric surrounding them, the study examines various forms of media content, including speeches and articles. Leveraging the Global News Index of the Cline Center, it aims to discern patterns and trends in the portrayal of anti-democratic events across different media outlets. Her research seeks to deepen understanding of the dissemination and impact of anti-democratic rhetoric within contemporary discourse. 

    Myung Jung Kim - Myung Jung's research project focuses on how armed actors accused of war crimes and other mass atrocities confront or manage to evade punishment in today's international legal context. In particular, she explores how the increased risk of prosecution under international and universal jurisdiction impacts rebels' operations in foreign territories—previously considered "safe havens"—thereby influencing the operational strategies of rebel groups, the peace process, and the outcomes of conflicts. Specifically, by utilizing the Cline Center's Historical Phoenix Event Data, she aims to examine the dynamics of cross-border violence spillover and the external state sponsorship in supporting foreign rebel groups within an evolving legal landscape. 

    Alesha Lewis  - Alesha's study will include both statistical analysis of police force as well as analysis of the news coverage surrounding shootings across the US. She plans to examine whether the race of a victim predicts the likelihood of an outcome being fatal with the SPOTLITE data set. Using the Global News Index and the Archer system, she intends to examine articles that cover police shootings and use discourse 

  • 2024 David F. Linowes Lecture: Professor Chris Blattman

    Title: How Organized Crime is Organized: Lessons from the Gangs of Medellin  (Flyer) 

    Date: March 27th, 2024 | 3:30-5:00 PM
    Location: English Building Room 160

    Description: Medellin, Colombia, has roughly 400 highly organized, highly profitable drug-selling gangs. Virtually every low- and middle-income neighborhood is under the control of one gang or another. In addition to selling drugs, many gangs also sell protection and consumer goods. Despite the large number of gangs and the enormous rents, however, Medellin has one of the lowest homicide rates of any large city in the region. Why is Medellin peaceful, and what does this have to do with the industrial organization of crime in the city? What can we learn about the criminal market organization and the drivers of peace or conflict in cities across the Americas? To answer these questions, we interviewed more than 150 members and leaders of 80 drug-selling gangs and mafias. We also collected representative block-level data on gang activities, governance, and legitimacy. As in many cities in the US and Latin America, we document a hierarchy of criminal organizations, including a small number of mafia-like organizations that organize street gangs and the drug industry through long-term relational contracts. Peace is partly driven by the purposeful development of criminal governance institutions, where the primary incentive is oligopolistic pricing and control of the retail drug market. Government policies have also helped to incentivize peaceful bargaining among gangs, strengthening mafia control, but preventing vertical and horizontal integration in the criminal sector. We discuss parallels to US, Brazilian, and other cities across the Americas, and what this implies for policy.

  • National Version of the Cline Center's SPOTLITE Police Uses of Lethal Force Dashboard Goes Live

    The Cline Center for Advanced Social Research in partnership with an interdisciplinary team of University of Illinois faculty and student researchers has just released the most authoritative registry to date of police uses of lethal force in the United States from 2014 to 2021. The SPOTLITE project includes any incident where police use firearms—including those with non-fatal outcomes—as well as any other use of force that results in a death. The SPOTLITE dashboard lets anyone explore past uses of lethal force by police in every county in the United States. For more background on the project, see the University’s press release on our project. 

  • 2023 Cline Symposium: Reducing Gun Violence in American Communities

    The Cline Center is hosting a Zoom roundtable on reducing gun violence in the US this Thursday Oct. 26 from 2:30pm-4:15pm Central Time as part of the 2023 Cline Symposium. Featuring national experts Vaughn Bryant, Kimberley Smith, and Thomas Abt, this online event is open to the public. To RSVP, visit

     With gun violence at an all-time high, politicians, law enforcement, and communities are wrestling with how best to address the unrelenting stream of mass shootings, suicides, domestic violence, and gang related shootings. The panel will focus on the many policies and practices being proposed to reduce gun violence, how effective any of the proposed solutions are, and what the tradeoffs would be in regards to rights, budgets, and privacy.

  • Announcing the 2023-2024 Linowes Fellows

    The Cline Center is pleased to announce the 2023-2024 David F. Linowes Faculty Fellows: Assistant Professors Nora Webb Williams and JungHwan Yang of @illinoisPolSci and @illinoiscomm respectively.

    Linowes Fellowships support scholars whose work is relevant to Cline Center initiatives and plan to use Cline Center data and technology in innovative projects.

    Prof. Webb Williams is extending her 2022-23 project by continuing to use Cline Center news archives, databases, and text-as-data expertise to study the ties between elite actors in authoritarian regimes. The main focus is on post-Soviet countries, primarily Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus. The project will extract instances of positive and negative interactions between elites to predict regime-level outcomes such as coup d'état attempts. The work will involve developing new text-as-data tools and applying them to historical media coverage available at the Cline Center.

    Prof. Yang’s research project aims to understand the media's coverage patterns of real-world events, with a primary focus on mass shootings and police shootings. There is a notable trend in media where only a handful of events receive predominant coverage, leaving numerous others underrepresented or completely ignored. This study seeks to illuminate any inherent biases in news production, specifically by examining the criteria determining news selection and presentation. To address this question, this project aims to identify specific mass shooting incidents as they appear in the media through the Cline Center’s Global News Index. This process entails correlating distinct shooting events with their corresponding media reports and identifying various characteristics related to news and its media sources.

  • Employee Spotlight: Meet Ajay Singh

    EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Meet Ajay Singh. 
    Dr. Singh has been a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Cline Center since summer of 2022 and has been affiliated with the Cline Center since 2008. Dr. Singh received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Illinois in 2022. His dissertation examines the impacts of information and communication technology implementation on small and mid-sized policing agencies, and how both social activists and law enforcement conceptualize and practice understandings of transparency and accountability in policing. His current research focuses on documenting uses of lethal force by law enforcement. 
    Dr. Singh is the coordinator for the Cline Center’s External Engagement Team and is on the leadership team for the Cline Center’s SPOTLITE project where he leads many of the project’s qualitative research efforts.
  • Cline Center Honored with the 2023 Team Award for Campus Excellence in Public Engagement

    The Cline Center for Advanced Social Research has been honored with a 2023 Campus Excellence in Public Engagement Faculty & Staff Team Award by the University of Illinois. Recognizing the Cline Center’s sustained record of high-impact public engagement research, this is a shared honor for all research team members who have contributed over the years to the center’s many projects that aim to transform information into knowledge that advances human flourishing.

    For more details about the award, see:

  • Remembering Dick Cline

    It is with great sadness that we share the news of Dick Cline’s passing on March 19, 2023. To those of us at the Cline Center, he was far more than the generous benefactor whose founding endowment gave life to the Cline Center nearly two decades ago. Dick was also a dear friend and mentor to many of us, who will greatly miss his incisive wisdom, constant encouragement, and easy laughter. All of us will remember Dick as an involved and enthusiastic champion of the Cline Center’s mission to transform information into knowledge that advances human flourishing around the world. We are honored to now serve as a living legacy of Dick’s vision for bringing academic research to bear on the most pressing societal problems of our day.

    For those interested in learning more about the vision that led Dick Cline to launch the Cline Center, we are honored to share this collection of Dick’s reflections on “the freedom that enables free will, the institutions that encourage freedom, and the benefits that flow from giving human will the maximum opportunity for free expression” published in 2007 as Echoes of Freedom: Personal Reflections of Richard C. Cline.

  • SPOTLITE: New Database Catalogs Use of Lethal Force Incidents

    The Cline Center for Advanced Social Research in partnership with an interdisciplinary team of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign faculty and student researchers has just released the most authoritative registry to date of police uses of lethal force in Illinois from 2014 to 2021. The Systematic Policing Oversight Through Lethal-force Incident Tracking Environment (SPOTLITE) includes any incident where police use firearms—including those with non-fatal outcomes—as well as any other use of force that results in a death. The SPOTLITE Illinois dashboard lets anyone explore past uses of lethal force by police in every Illinois county, and assess the racial and ethnic breakdown of civilians involved in these incidents. For more background on the project, visit

  • The Cline Center is Hosting "The Race to Find America's Missing in Action Using 21st-Century Technologies"

    The Cline Center is hosting Project Recover’s Pat Scannon and Derek Abbey for a March 2 screening of the Project Recover documentary “To What Remains” and a post-film discussion about the race to find America’s missing in action from past wars using advanced robotics and scanning technologies before the window to bring them home closes. This event is free to the public and will be both in-person and live-streamed.