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Danielle Gilbert: Faculty Experts

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Danielle Gilbert

Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Assistant Professor of Political Science


Areas of Focus

  • Political violence
  • International security
  • Hostage taking
  • Civil war and terrorism
  • Negotiations


  • Why and how rebels kidnap
  • Hostage diplomacy/ state-led hostage taking
  • Public opinion of hostage recovery
  • Hostage negotiations
  • Organizational dynamics of armed groups


Gilbert's research explores the causes and consequences of hostage taking in international security including projects on rebel kidnapping, hostage recovery policy and hostage diplomacy. Her current book project examines why and how armed groups kidnap during civil war. It is based on her Ph.D. dissertation, which received the American Political Science Association’s 2021 Merze Tate Award for the Best Dissertation in International Relations, Law and Politics.

Gilbert’s scholarship has been published in the American Political Science Review, International Studies Perspectives, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence, the Texas National Security Review and the Journal of Political Science Education. In 2023, Professor Gilbert was selected to serve on the Bipartisan Commission on Hostage Taking and Wrongful Detention at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. 

Gilbert has advised the British, Canadian and U.S. governments on hostage recovery policy and spoken about her research at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Before joining the faculty at Northwestern, she was the Edelson Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy and International Security at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College; an Assistant Professor of Military & Strategic Studies at the United States Air Force Academy; and a Minerva-Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar at the United States Institute of Peace.