This seminar introduces the study of political violence with a focus on the behavior, structure, and dynamics of insurgencies and rebellions. Given the explosion of research on civil wars and conflict after 9/11, this course does not aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the literature, but instead focuses on core topics within the current debate: why people fight, variations in patterns of violence, networks structures and armed organizations, rivalry and revenge, state making and rebel governance in conflict zones, aid provisions and the causation or prolongment of conflict, gender and civil war, knowledge production concerning conflicts and its impact on violent practices in conflict zones, and the relationship or the at-times blurred line between organized crime and war. The focus lies explicitly on the most recent scholarship. The course will be labor-intensive, with two mandatory readings per session.
- Concepts: What is political violence?
- Why people fight I
- Why people fight II
- Patterns of violence in civil war
- Rivalry, status, and revenge
- Armed groups and networks I
- Armed groups and networks II
- Rebel governance
- Organized crime
- Development assistance, aid, and civil conflict
- Gender and organized violence
- Knowledge production
- Closing session