Michelle Legassicke

PhD Candidate


From Nanaimo, BC, I completed my undergraduate degree in Political Science and History at the University of Victoria. Since then, I have been slowly moving east across Canada. I completed my Masters of Arts at the University of Waterloo. My thesis focused on the conflict surrounding cattle raiding in South Sudan, looking specifically at the causes of insecurity in regions experiencing violence and how the breakdown of traditional governance structures has resulted in increased levels of violence.

I took a year off to work in Moshi, Tanzania, as a project coordinator for Jipe Moyo, an HIV/AIDS health outreach group. My work focused on securing sustainable funding to finance outreach projects, as well as building supply chains and coordinating resources in and out of Majengo to Moshi. I also used my year off to work as the policy director for STAND Canada, a youth-run national advocacy group working on the prevention of genocide.

I am currently working with Dr. David Black on my proposed PhD dissertation topic, which seeks to map out the political structures of rebel groups, and offers analysis of the degree of success/failure the respective governments have had in re-absorbing these structures. I will demonstrate how the failure to holistically co-opt rebel structures leads to the re-ignition of conflict. In particular, I will do a case study of two rebel groups, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army – Nasir (SPLA-Nasir) and the Ex-Forces Armées Rwandaises (ex-FAR).

More generally, my research interest include: conflict and conflict resolution; Canada’s role in Sub-Saharan Africa; politics of rebel/armed groups; women and children in armed conflicts; politics of weak and failed states; the formation of states-within-states; and the involvement of international organizations and non-governmental organizations in conflict and post-conflict countries.

Selected Publications

  • Legassicke, Michelle, and Andrew Bergel. “A Failing Policy for Failed States: The EU and Maritime Migration out of Libya.” Canadian Naval Review 11 no. 2 (Fall 2015): 10-15. (Peer Reviewed)
  • Legassicke, Michelle. “Implementation of a Phase II DDR program in South Sudan.” Policy paper for STAND Canada (May 2013): 1-2.
  • Legassicke, Michelle. “Canada’s Role in the Republic of the Sudan.” Policy paper for STAND Canada (May 2013): 1-5.

Selected Presentations:

  • Legassicke, Michelle. and Andrew Bergel. “Rush to the Border: Internal and External Stresses of Migration on the European Union,” Millennium Conference, London School of Economics, London, England, October 17-18 2015.
  • Legassicke, Michelle. “Developing the Periphery: States-within-States as Agents for Development,” Rethinking Foreign and Defence Policy and Canada: A Decade after the International Policy Statement, 8th Annual Women in International Security-Canada Workshop, Kingston, ON, May 27-29th 2015.
  • Legassicke, Michelle. “Still in the Shadows: How Rebel Group Re-integration Affects Peace Prospects,” Sudan, South Sudan, and their Neighbours, 34th Annual Sudan Studies Conference, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, May 24-26 2015.
  • Legassicke, Michelle. “Cyclical violence in Jonglei State: the deadly shift in the practice of cattle raiding” Greater Sudan: Crossroads to the Future, 32nd Annual Sudan Studies Conference, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 25 May 2013.