Fall/Winter Timetable

POL416H1F L0101

Graduate Course Code: POL2241H1F L0101

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, recurrence, and the challenges of post-conflict statebuilding.



Format and Requirements

One two-hour seminar per week; requirements TBA


Familiarity with quantitative methods is strongly recommended (ex. POL222H1, POL232H1, POL419H1)


POL208H1 or POL208Y1 or POLB80H3 or POLB81H3

POL487H1 (Topics in International Politics II: Civil War and Counterinsurgency), offered in Winter 2018, Winter 2019