Postgraduate Course: Conflict and Peace in Africa (PGSP11453)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Conflict and Peace in Africa introduces students to the study of political violence on the continent in historical and comparative perspective. We will explore major theories, trends, and methodological questions in the study of armed conflict through the lens of in-depth case studies from Africa.
The course aims to introduce students to two overlapping fields of study - war and political violence; and African history and politics - through case studies of conflict and peace. These issues and related analytical skills are important for any student interested in understanding contemporary Africa in its full complexity.
The course is particularly relevant for students of politics and IR, social anthropology, sociology, law, and history. By taking an interdisciplinary approach with robust mixed methods, students will gain familiarity with the concepts and tools that underpin conflict and peace studies more broadly.
Key topics include: conflict, civil war, political violence, histories of resistance, electoral violence, terrorism, and a range of other forms of insecurity. We will also address peacekeeping, post-conflict reconstruction, and civil society peace-building.
This course provides a rigorous and reflective approach to rethinking conflict in Africa. Now more than ever, Africa is a continent in transition. Deaths from pitched battles are on the wane, but the number of armed conflicts is stubbornly stuck around 12-14 each year, creating long term insecurity and instability in many parts of the continent.
Forms of political violence range from internal wars to cross-border terrorism, vigilantism to electoral violence. In this course, we will explore the causes and consequences of civil war, the internal dynamics of armed groups, and ask why some conflicts last so much longer than others.
We will also study the peacekeeping, peace-building, and reconstruction efforts necessary for sustainable peace. What policies and interventions are most effective at international, regional, and local levels for ending violence? Classes will focus on key case studies each week such that, by the end of the course, students will have deep knowledge on a several comparative countries and conflicts.
1. Colonial violence and resistance
2. On Violence and liberation
3. Causes of civil war
4. How to start a rebel group
5. Citizen violence: Militias and vigilantes
6. Electoral violence and Terrorism
7. Effects of armed conflict: Displacement and de-development
8. Gender-based violence
9. Peacekeeping and peace-building
10. Trauma, Justice, and Memory
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate critical knowledge and understanding of the key theories, concepts and issues most central to studies of contemporary armed conflict, particularly in Africa.
- Apply the knowledge, skills, and understanding gained in the course through academic and day-to-day engagement with research and news about war, violence, and African politics.
- Critically analyse, synthesize, and evaluate research and contemporary debates about conflict and violence, and navigate complex issues to make informed opinions and analyses.
- Communicate through empirically grounded and theoretically informed written work and oral presentations, their knowledge of contemporary conflict, peace, and related issues.
- Demonstrate autonomy, accountability, and initiative in their ability to question, examine, and understand key conflict/violence-related issues affecting Africa, through independent research.
|Clapham, Christopher. African Guerrillas. Oxford: James Currey, 1998.|
Collier, Paul, Nicholas Sambanis, and World Bank, Understanding Civil War: Evidence and Analysis. Washington, DC: World Bank, 2005.
Ellis, Stephen. The Mask of Anarchy: The Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimension of an African Civil War. New York: New York University Press, 2007.
Fujii, Lee Ann. Killing Neighbors. Cornell, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011.
Hoffman, Danny. The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.
Reno, William. Warfare in Independent Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Stewart, Frances, Horizontal Inequalities and Conflict: Understanding Group Violence in Multiethnic Societies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
Weinstein, Jeremy. Inside Rebellion. Cambridge University Press.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||By the end of the course, students will be equipped with new skills in:
1. Synthesising and analysing empirical and theoretical material from a variety of sources;
2. Examining, using and assessing evidence in support of explanatory and normative claims;
3. Developing and evaluating arguments that take different kinds of social complexity into account;
4. Exercising informed independent thought and critical judgement.
|Course organiser||Dr Zoe Marks
|Course secretary||Mr Benjamin Mcnab
Tel: (0131 6)51 4832