POLS-Y344: Civil Wars

POLS-Y344 — Fall 2021

Ore Koren
WH (Woodburn) 121
Days and Times
Monday and Wednesday, 3:15–4:30 p.m.
Course Description

Civil and proxy wars have been the dominant forms of conflict since the end of World War II – depending on standards of measurement, between 110 and 260 civil wars have been fought since the end of World War II, compared to 30 to 45 interstate conflicts. These conflicts also engendered some of the most severe and massive human right violations in history, the most extreme being mass killing and genocide. Indeed, the majority of deaths in civil wars are those not of combatants, but rather of unarmed civilians. Why do civil wars happen? Why do some wars last much longer than others?

Why do some domestic conflicts involve mass killing while others do not? This class will explore recent research on these different issues, analyzing a series of debates drawn from research on the origins, conduct and aftermath of civil wars. The principal goal of this class is to introduce you to different theoretical perspectives, intellectual frameworks, and empirical evidence regarding the origins and dynamics of civil wars and political violence. This goal will be achieved using cutting-edge research on civil war and mass killing based on diverse methodological and analytical approaches.

Assigned readings, class discussions, presentations, and writing assignments are structured to ensure that you achieve these objectives, and it is hence important that you complete all the readings each week, in addition to completing all assignments in a timely manner.