This graduate seminar is designed to introduce students to the comparative study of political
violence. The course examines two broad themes through a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches. The first theme focuses on why individuals choose to rebel: When does violence become a strategy for resolving conflict? Why do individuals participate in violence? How is violence organized? The second theme focuses on how states choose to repress citizens: When are human rights violations committed? When does a state use violence over other strategies? What are the effects of state violence?
The course aims to provide students with the background necessary for undertaking original
research on political violence. It should enable them to critically engage recent scholarship,
understanding which theories have yet to be adequately tested and which theoretically interesting questions have yet to be asked. Students should ultimately be able to produce a research paper that serves as the basis for a prospectus, dissertation chapter, or publishable article.
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