The topic of this course is political violence. Our focus is on the definition, causes, mitigants and consequences of violent political action. While the class aims to be comprehensive, we will focus on the more recent academic literature, covering a variety of research methods including observational statistical analyses, field experiments and game-theoretic approaches. There is a focus on violence in low-income countries, though other cases will also be discussed. Students taking this class should be familiar with basic statistical analysis including regression. The course material will assess some of the most pressing questions in the study of political violence: What types of violence do we observe and when do we call them “political?” Why is violence motivated on ethnic or religious grounds? How do violent groups ensure loyalty within their ranks? What are the human consequences of violence, specifically with regard to sexual assault? How can violence be mitigated? To tackle these questions, each week we consult influential academic work drawing on works primarily in political science, sociology and economics.
- Della Porta, D. (2013). Clandestine political violence. Cambridge University Press.
- Kalyvas, S. N. (2001). “New” and “old” civil wars: a valid distinction? World Politics, 54(1), 99-118.
- Weinstein, J. M. (2006). Inside rebellion: The politics of insurgent violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.