Civil War and Counterinsurgency
This course overviews the origins, dynamics, and outcomes of civil war and counterinsurgency. It provides a theoretical and empirical foundation for understanding these forms of conflict and the logic of their violence. An additional objective of the course is to consider questions of definition, empirical strategy, and methodology relevant to conducting rigorous research on these topics. The course is organized in three parts. The first reviews the general concept of civil war and provides an overview of various theoretical approaches to understanding it. We will consider arguments concerning identity and ethnic conflict, the political economy of violence, and rationalist explanations for war. The second part of the course examines the dynamics of insurgency and counterinsurgency, including recruitment and rebel alliances, combatant strategies, and third-party intervention. The final section considers the outcomes and aftermaths of civil war, including conflict duration and the challenges of post-conflict statebuilding.
Format and Requirements