Within the broad umbrella of conflict geography my research and writing since joining UCLA has focused on the following two themes:

Postwar peacebuilding and ethnic conflict

In recent years peacebuilding researchers have increasingly recognized the need to develop a richer understanding of how international peacebuilding interventions are implemented and experienced on the ground by local communities, and better explain spatial and temporal variations in peacebuilding success and failure within countries.

I address both of these topics in the book Peacebuilding in Practice: Local Experience in Two Bosnian Towns (Cornell University Press, 2013). In it I analyze the strikingly different postwar trajectories of two ethnically mixed Bosnian towns that have been the focus of peacebuilding efforts in the country: 1) the Brčko District, where peacebuilding has been relatively successful, and 2) the city of Mostar, which remains ethnically divided and politically dysfunctional. Drawing on nearly two years of fieldwork in these two cities I identify a conjunction of four key factors that account for this divergence in peacebuilding outcomes: The design of political institutions, sequencing of economic and political reforms, distinct wartime legacies, and the development–or lack thereof–of effective relationships between local elites and international officials operating in the two cities. I also offer several recommendations for rethinking the practice of peacebuilding interventions based upon this research.

Peacebuilding in Practice received the 2014 Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award from the Political Geography Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers. 


This research was supported by funding from the United States Institute of Peace, International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and the Council for European Studies.

Journal articles on peacebuilding and ethnic conflict:

Adam Moore. (2011). “The eventfulness of social reproduction.” Sociological Theory 29(4): 294-314.

Adam Moore (2016). “Ethno-territoriality and ethnic conflict.” Geographical Review 106)1): 92-108.

Adam Moore (2019). “Localizing peacebuilding: The Arizona Market and the evolution of US military peacebuilding priorities in Bosnia.” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 13(3): 263-80.

Nerve Macaspac and Adam Moore. (2022). “Peace geographies and the spatial turn in peace and conflict studies: Integrating parallel conversations through spatial practices.” Geography Compass 16(4) e12614.

Military contracting and military labor

A second research agenda examines the dynamics and effects of U.S. military contracting, with a focus on logistics outsourcing and the global army of labor that supports overseas military operations. Over the past 20 years the U.S. has relied upon hundreds of thousands of workers from around the world to assist operations in the Balkans, Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa. The scale of this phenomenon is extraordinary. In the three largest overseas contingency operations in the past two decades—the peacekeeping missions in the Balkans [Bosnia and Kosovo], and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—the number of contractors has been roughly equal to or greater than the number of uniformed personnel in the theaters of operation.

The most significant work in relation to military labor and contracting is my second book with Cornell, Empire’s Labor: The Global Army that Supports US Wars (2019). This book is about the U.S. military’s overseas operations, both recognized wars and clandestine campaigns. Or rather, it is about the labor required to sustain such operations, and the experiences of people from around the world that do it. For the present day U.S. military empire is profoundly dependent upon a global army of labor that comes from countries as diverse as Bosnia, the Philippines, Turkey, India, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Sierra Leone, and Fiji.

Such a state of affairs represents a profound shift in how the U.S. fights its wars. Put simply, it is now dependent upon contracted labor, especially in the realm of logistics, to sustain overseas operations.


The book has four broad goals: First, to trace the development and practice of logistics outsourcing by the U.S. military over the past two decades, and situate it within the broader context of government contracting trends in the fields of defense and intelligence. Second, to illuminate the immense work involved in sustaining the U.S.’s overseas military empire. Third, to trace the recruiting routes and labor supply chains traversed by the military’s global workforce, as well as the specific histories and present day politics that shape them. Fourth, and finally, to give voice to the agency, aspirations and experiences of those who labor for the military—focusing specifically on foreign logistics workers and their families.

Empire’s Labor received the 2019 American Association of Geographers’ Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography. It is available in both paperback, and a free, open access electronic edition, thanks to the Toward Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME) initiative, and the generous support of Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, and the UCLA Library. Research for the project was supported by a fellowship from the Hellman Fellows Fund.

Journal articles on military contracting and military labor:

Adam Moore and James Walker. (2016). “Tracing the U.S. military’s presence in Africa.” Geopolitics 21(3): 686-716.

Adam Moore. (2017). “U.S. military logistics outsourcing and the everywhere of war.” Territory, Politics, Governance 5(1): 5-27

Decolonial geopolitics

In addition to these research themes I’m excited to be doing new work on decolonial geopolitics with former PhD student, Nour Joudah:

Adam Moore and Nour Joudah. (2022). “The significance of W.E.B. Du Bois’s decolonial geopolitics.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers 112(7): 1911-25.

For more information about my research visit my page or Google Scholar profile. A copy of my CV can be found here.