Course Meeting Times

Seminar: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session


This course is suitable for graduate and advanced undergraduate students. MIT students must receive the instructor's permission.

Course Overview

This course is aimed at both students with little knowledge of the civil war literature and those students with some background in the subject. For the former, the course will cover the basic variables and findings in recent literature, as well as, discuss cases of civil war in a variety of regions. For students more familiar with the subject, the course aims to provide an opportunity to address questions of definition, operationalization of variables, comparative case design, and other methodological issues relevant to conducting research in the area of civil war or violent conflict.

The course is divided into four sections:

  • Conventional wisdom and basic variables
  • Origins of civil war
  • Course of civil war
  • Termination and aftermath

Assignments and Grading

There are four short papers and one long paper. The short papers ask the student to discuss and summarize specific sections of the course.

Paper 1 (Two pages) 10%
Paper 2 (Two pages) 10%
Paper 3 (Two pages) 10%
Paper 4 (Two pages) 10%
Long paper 50%
Class participation 10%