Feb 28, 2024  
2016-2017 Catalogue 
2016-2017 Catalogue [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

PSCI 24710 - Large Scale Political Violence

Course Credit: 1
This course will introduce you to the study of large-scale political violence. Understanding why political violence occurs, how it is used, what its effects are, and how it can be countered, is crucial to a clear understanding of the problems facing states and non-state actors, as well as the dynamics of a conflict-ridden global environment. This material is often classified as a sub-field of both comparative politics and political sociology. We will cover numerous subjects, including: why non-state actors and states use violent means to pursue political ends, state use of repression, torture, death squads, state terrorism, riots, coups, revolutions, civil wars, communal conflict, violence by insurgents and terrorists and by counterinsurgencies, the use of violence to spoil peace settlements, and why states and non-state actors engage in atrocities against civilians. Be warned! - This course will be taught as a fully participatory upper level social science seminar. As a result, the following will be extremely helpful to your ability to succeed in this class: a background in political science, sociology, or history; a willingness to contribute as a full participant in our collective knowledge construction; and a willingness to slog through and try to wrap your mind around some pretty hefty and often upsetting readings! Students taking this course will be required to have read the book We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families; Stories From Rwanda prior to the start of class in the spring. TRIGGER WARNING: As the course description suggests, we will be covering some very difficult and often disturbing material this semester. I understand that this may cause some people mental anguish. However, this material is the crux of what we will be doing this semester, and thus participants in this course will not be able to avoid it. Please carefully review the syllabus, and come talk with me if you believe that the course material will be too difficult for you to work through. [C, HSS, W]