Fall/Winter Timetable

POL486Y1F L0101

Graduate Course Code: POL2205Y1F L0101

Topics in International Politics I

The Changing Face of Armed Conflict: From Interstate War to Asymmetric Warfare


The events of the last two decades have led to renewed interest in the changing face of war, and especially in the unique and challenging characteristics of asymmetric warfare. Research in international relations, not surprisingly, mirrors this renewed interest, and offers a burst of new analyses and findings regarding these issues. This new research, however, is still, relatively speaking, in its early stages and often struggles to develop more cohesive analytical frame-works. Indeed, even the core concepts that motivate this research are often contested and ill defined: asymmetric warfare, insurgency, small wars, terrorism, to name a few. Furthermore, asymmetric warfare, which often involves non-state actors, offers an additional challenge for existing theories of international security which tend to be state-centric. This literature, thus, cuts across traditional disciplinary lines between comparative politics and international relations.
This seminar seeks to review recent works on asymmetric warfare in an attempt to contribute to this growing literature. This is an intensive re-search seminar. Students are expected to conduct independent re-search that engages with the topics covered in the course. This is not intended to be a “how to” manual for the conduct of counter-insurgency, nor an arena for endless political debate regarding the futility or brutality of war. Instead, this seminar focuses on developing a theoretical and analytical approach to these issues.



Format and Requirements



POL208Y1 or POL208Y5 or (POLB80H3 and POLB81H3)