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Marek Brzezinski

Marek Brzezinski


Extra-Lethal Violence in Armed Conflict

(Supervisors: Lee J.M. Seymour, UdeM et Theodore McLauchlin, UdeM
Mentor: Magdalena Dembinska, Montréal)

Why does wartime violence sometimes take the form of atrocity? Not only do belligerents frequently kill civilians, but violent atrocities sometimes go beyond killing to include diverse forms of deliberately cruel treatment such as mutilation, amputations, torture, and the abuse of human remains. In recent armed conflicts, such “extra-lethal” violence has been perpetrated by a variety of state and non-state military forces. Indeed, extra-lethal violence is a recurrent, though hardly universal, feature of armed conflict. Yet we still lack systematic evidence documenting its usage, or a theory explaining why it occurs and why its prevalence varies across and within conflicts. My dissertation will develop and test a theory of extra-lethal violence in armed conflict. Drawing on existing explanations of wartime violence against civilians, the dissertation will identify plausible mechanisms and processes leading armed actors to adopt or develop practices of extra-lethal violence, and test the extent to which these explain patterns of atrocity in the context of ethnic conflict and insurgency in the Polish-Ukrainian borderlands during World War II. Detailed archival research will enable tracing, at the micro-level, the causal processes producing extreme atrocities in this particular historical case. The analysis will then be extended to a larger sample of post-Cold War armed conflicts to test the scope of the theory.


Since 2016
PhD student, Département de science politique, Université de Montréal
2009 - 2010
MA, Department of Political Science, Concordia University, Montreal
2006 - 2008
MA, Department of History, Concordia University, Montreal
2000 - 2004
BA, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Alberta

Work Experience

2011 - 2019
Political Science and History Teacher, Marianopolis College, Montreal, Canada.


(co-authored with Lee J.M. Seymour) “Unsettled States: Displacement, Governance and Integration in the South Caucasus”, in: Josha Barter/William Ascher (eds.), Internal Migration: Challenges in Governance and Integration (New York: Peter Lang Publishing).

Conference Presentations

Atrocity and Repertoires of Violence in the Polish-Ukrainian Borderlands During World War II
International Studies Conference, Toronto, Canada, 27-30/03/2019.
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