POL 415: The Scientific Study of Civil Wars


What conditions are sufficiently 'dire or inspiring'to make someone take up arms and risk his (or her) life as part of a rebel group? By the end of this advanced undergraduate-level course, you will be able to answer this question just like the leading academic minds in the field of international relations. This class will provide you with extensive exposure to the quantitative study of civil wars around the world. We will start off by determining what constitutes a civil war and how this form of conflict is different from (or comprises) events such as international war, protests, riots, coups, genocide, and terrorism. We will then examine what factors that influence the onset, duration, termination, and recurrence of civil wars. Also, we will discuss some international dimensions of civil wars: the spread of conflicts across borders, refugee flows, and interventions.