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Civil War



Objective 1 : Students will study the causes, dynamics and outcomes of civil wars.
Objective 2. Students learn to apply the concepts and theories in a final paper.

Content: This seminar will survey recent research on the causes, dynamics and outcomes of civil wars. It provides students with a broad understanding of relevant concepts, theories, and empirical findings, and also with the tools to conduct their own research. Topics covered include civil war onset, armed group organization and recruitment, intensity and forms of violence against civilians, rebel governance of civilians, rebel group fragmentation and alliances, counterinsurgency, and the aftermath and legacies of civil wars. Assignments will encourage students to think creatively about issues related to civil wars, assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of theoretical and empirical approaches, and to refine their own intellectual stance.

Methods of Instruction

This course is a seminar; most time is spent on discussion of the reading material.

Study Material

Journal articles and book chapters. The readings for the first meeting will be available on Blackboard.




Examination includes participation in class, a review essay in which students compare a fictional with an historical account of a civil war, and an analytical essay in which students apply concepts and theories studied in class to a civil war of their choosing.


Master students that started their studies in September 2015 can register for one seminar in uSis from Tuesday 8 December 10.00 hrs. until Tuesday 15 December 10.00 hrs.

For Master students that start their studies in February 2016 registration is possible from Wednesday 13 January 2016, 10.00 hrs. until 20 January 2016, 10.00 hrs. Please send an e-mail with your full name, student number and preference for your seminar courses to the Institute Secretariat at You will receive an auto-reply with a confirmation that we have received your e-mail. You will be informed about the seminars for which you have been registered before 1 February 2016.

Please note that elective seminars have a maximum number of participants and placement is subject to availability. Registration is on a first come first served basis.