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2022 Spring

CONFLICT STUDIES - IRS506 Spring 2022


Course
Alexei Anisin
For information about registration please contact our admissions.

About

Course Title: Conflict Studies (MA)

Course code: IRS 506

Semester and year: Spring 2022

Day and time: Thursday, 11:30-14:15

Instructor: Alexei Anisin, PhD

Instructor contact: alexei.anisin@aauni.edu

Consultation hours: Before / after class and by appointment, Dean's Office or Microsoft Teams

 

Credits US/ECTS

3/6

Level

Advanced

Length

12 weeks

Pre-requisite

N/A

Contact hours

42 hours

Course type

Master Required

 

  1. Course Description

This course features an overview of a variety of different historical and political explanations of conflict. Topics such as genocide, mass killing, human rights violations, state-making/disintegration, civil war, natural resources, cyber-conflict, ethnic violence, covert-regime change, democratic peace theory, state repression, nuclear proliferation, among other relevant subjects are given attention. The course is methodologically plural, with readings ranging from case study research to regression and other comparative approaches. Students will be exposed to cutting edge social scientific analysis of conflict and will also be required to understand the challenges of studying and generalizing about different outcomes.

  1. Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

Be familiar with comparative approaches to the study of conflict;

Demonstrate an ability to analyze a contemporary conflict using the tools elaborated in the readings and lectures;

Clearly summarize a conflict setting and articulate to peers (presentation, communication and speaking skills);

Be able to differentiate between different conflict outcomes;

Engage in argumentation and discussion with peers;

Carry out an in class PowerPoint presentation addressing a provided research topic;

Complete an assignment based around the assessment of a large number of cases;

Demonstrate MA-level writing skills;

Demonstrate MA-level research skills;

Usage of proper citation formats in essay writing

3. Reading Material

Required Materials

  •      All journal articles that are required readings are available in PDF form at the following link: READINGS DROPBOX

Abrahms, Max. (2006). “Why terrorism does not work.”International Security 31(2), 42-78.

Anisin, A. (2020). Unravelling the complex nature of security force defection. Global Change, Peace & Security, 32(2), 135-155.

Anisin, A. (2020). The Revolutions of 1989 and Defection in Warsaw Pact States. Democracy and Security, 16(2), 151-178.

Bellemore, J. (2015). The Roman Concept of Massacre: Julius Caesar in Gaul. Theatres of Violence. Massacre, Mass Killing and Atrocity throughout History, in Philip G., Dwyer, and Ryan., L. eds., 38-49.

Cohen, Youssef, Brian R. Brown, and Abramo Fimo Kenneth Organski. 1981. "The paradoxical nature of state making: The violent creation of order." American Political Science Review 75 (4), 901-910

Dwyer, Philip G, and Lyndall Ryan. “Introduction: The Massacre in History”. In Theatres of Violence: Massacre, Mass Killing, and Atrocity throughout History, edited by Philip G Dwyer and Lyndall Ryan, xi-xxv. New York: Berghahn Books, 2015.

Goldsmith, B. E., & Butcher, C. (2018). Genocide Forecasting: Past Accuracy and New Forecasts to 2020. Journal of Genocide Research,  20(1), 90-107.

Harff, B., & Gurr, T. R. (1998)."Systematic early warning of humanitarian emergencies."Journal of Peace Research, 35(5), 551-579.

Humphreys, Macartan. 2005. “Natural Resources, Conflict, and Conflict Resolution: Uncovering the Mechanisms.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 49 (4), 508-537.

Imai, K., & Lo, J. (2021). Robustness of Empirical Evidence for the Democratic Peace: A Nonparametric Sensitivity Analysis. International Organization, 75(3), 901-919.

Kalyvas, Stathis N. 2003. "The Ontology of “Political Violence”: Action and Identity in Civil Wars."Perspectives on Politics 1 (03), 475-494.

Kant, Immanuel. 1795. Toward Perpetual Peace.

Kostyuk, Nadiya, and Yuri M. Zhukov. "Invisible Digital Front: Can Cyber Attacks Shape Battlefield Events?."Journal of Conflict Resolution (2017): in press.

Madley, B. (2012). “Tactics of Nineteenth-Century Colonial Massacre: Tasmania, California and Beyond,” in Philip G., Dwyer, and Ryan., L. eds., 110-123.

Marvin, L. (2015). "Atrocity and Massacre in the High and Middle Ages." in Philip G., Dwyer, and Ryan., L. eds., 50-63.

McManus, R. W. (2019). Revisiting the Madman Theory: Evaluating the Impact of Different Forms of Perceived Madness in Coercive Bargaining. Security Studies, 1-34. https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2019.1662482

Myerson, R. B. (2009). Learning from Schelling's strategy of conflict. Journal of Economic Literature, 47(4), 1109-1125.

O’Rourke, L. (2018). Covert Regime Change: America’s Secret Cold War. Ithica: Cornell University Press.

Pape, R. A. (2003). “The strategic logic of suicide terrorism.”American political science review 97(3), 343-361.

Poe, S. C., & Tate, C. N. (1994). Repression of Human Rights to Personal Integrity in the 1980s: A Global Analysis. The American Political Science Review, 88(4), 853–872.

Ross, Michael. 2015. “What Have We Learned about the Resource Curse?” Annual Review of Political Science 18 (1), 239-259.

Sambanis, Nicholas. 2004. “What Is Civil War? Conceptual and Empirical Complexities of an Operational Definition.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 48 (6): 814- 858.

             Schelling, Thomas C. (1960). The strategy of conflict. RAND CORPORATION.

Turchin, P. (2012). Dynamics of political instability in the United States, 1780–2010. Journal of Peace Research, 49(4), 577-591.

4. Teaching methodology

The course will be taught over one semester, running 2 hours and 45 minutes a week for 12 classes. A combination of traditional lectures and case study analyses will be used. Lectures during the first half of each class will be based on the assigned readings. An interactive approach will be used and students are expected to participate regularly in discussions, including both lectures and case-study presentations.

5. Course Schedule

Date

Class Agenda

Class 1

 

Feb. 10

Topic: Introduction to course; Atrocities in early history

Description:

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

Dwyer, Philip G, and Lyndall Ryan. “Introduction: The Massacre in History”. In Theatres of Violence: Massacre, Mass Killing, and Atrocity throughout History, edited by Philip G Dwyer and Lyndall Ryan, xi-xxv. New York: Berghan Books, 2015.

 Bellemore, J. (2015). The Roman Concept of Massacre: Julius Caesar in Gaul. Theatres of Violence. Massacre, Mass Killing and Atrocity throughout History, in Philip G., Dwyer, and Ryan., L. eds., 38-49.

 Marvin, L. (2015). "Atrocity and Massacre in the High and Middle Ages." in Philip G., Dwyer, and Ryan., L. eds., 50-63.

Class 2

 

Feb. 17

Topic: Lecture: Genocide; Mass Killings

Description: Documentary: “Einsatzgruppen: The Nazi Death Squads" part 1

.

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

Madley, B. (2012). “Tactics of Nineteenth-Century Colonial Massacre: Tasmania, California and Beyond,” in Philip G., Dwyer, and Ryan., L. eds., 110-123.

Harff, B., & Gurr, T. R. (1998)."Systematic early warning of humanitarian emergencies." Journal of Peace Research, 35(5), 551-579.

 Goldsmith, B. E., & Butcher, C. (2018). Genocide Forecasting: Past Accuracy and New Forecasts to 2020. Journal of Genocide Research, 20(1), 90-107.

Class 3

 

Feb. 24

Topic: Lecture: Conflict in Historical Perspective

Description: Documentary: “Einsatzgruppen: The Nazi Death Squads" part 2.

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

Cohen, Youssef, Brian R. Brown, and Abramo Fimo Kenneth Organski. 1981. "The paradoxical nature of state making: The violent creation of order." American Political Science Review 75 (4), 901-910.

Class 4

 

March 3

Topic: Lecture: comparative data analysis

Description: Introduction to descriptive statistical analyses; Documentary: “Einsatzgruppen: The Nazi Death Squads" part 3

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

In class activities on data gathering, observation, coding, and analysis.

Class 5

 

March 10

 

Topic: Cross-National and National-level Human Rights Violations

Description: Documentary - Banana Land - Blood, Bullets & Poison

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

         Poe, S. C., & Tate, C. N. (1994). Repression of Human Rights to Personal Integrity in the 1980s: A Global Analysis. The American Political Science Review, 88(4), 853–872.

Turchin, P. (2012). Dynamics of political instability in the United States, 1780–2010. Journal of Peace Research, 49(4), 577-591.

Class 6

 

March 17

 

Topic: State Repression and Security Force Defection

Description: Compare and contrast successful and failed revolutionary attempts and regime transitions.

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

Anisin, A. (2020). Unravelling the complex nature of security force defection. Global Change, Peace & Security, 32(2), 135-155.

Anisin, A. (2020). The Revolutions of 1989 and Defection in Warsaw Pact States. Democracy and Security, 16(2), 151-178.

Class 7

 

March 24

Data Assignment Due

Topic: Covert Regime Change

Description: Identify historical and contemporary cases of foreign involvement in domestic politics within the context of revolutionary transitions

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

O’Rourke, L. (2018). Covert Regime Change: America’s Secret Cold War. Ithica: Cornell University Press.

Class 8

 

April 7

 

Topic: Democratic Peace Theory

Description: Introduction to the origins of one of IR’s most significant and controversial theories.

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

Kant, Immanuel. Toward Perpetual Peace.

Imai, K., & Lo, J. (2021). Robustness of Empirical Evidence for the Democratic Peace: A Nonparametric Sensitivity Analysis. International Organization, 75(3), 901-919.

Class 9

 

April 14

 

 

Topic: Lecture: Schelling's Strategy of Conflict 

Description: Identify the utility of game theoretic approaches to the study of conflict and nuclear proliferation.

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

Myerson, R. B. (2009). Learning from Schelling's strategy of conflict. Journal of Economic Literature, 47(4), 1109-1125.

McManus, R. W. (2019). Revisiting the Madman Theory: Evaluating the Impact of Different Forms of Perceived Madness in Coercive Bargaining. Security Studies, 1-34. https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2019.1662482

Optional reading: Schelling, Thomas C. (1960). The strategy of conflict. RAND CORPORATION.

Class 10

 

April 21

Presentation Assignment Due

Topic: Terrorism

Description: Film - The Battle of Algiers

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

Pape, R. A. (2003). “The strategic logic of suicide terrorism.”American political science review 97(3), 343-361.

Abrahms, Max. (2006). “Why terrorism does not work.”International Security 31(2), 42-78.

Class 11

 

April 28

 

Topic: Lecture: Civil War

Description: Unpack the nature of civil war, its mechanisms, and identify zones of control.

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

Sambanis, Nicholas. 2004. “What Is Civil War? Conceptual and Empirical Complexities of an Operational Definition.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 48 (6): 814- 858.

Kalyvas, Stathis N. 2003. "The Ontology of “Political Violence”: Action and Identity in Civil Wars." Perspectives on Politics 1 (03), 475-494.

Class 12

 

 

May 5

 

 

Topic: The resource curse and natural resource based conflicts

Description: Documentary: Conflict Minerals, Rebels and Child Soldiers in Congo

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

Humphreys, Macartan. 2005. “Natural Resources, Conflict, and Conflict Resolution: Uncovering the Mechanisms.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 49 (4), 508-537.

Ross, Michael. 2015. “What Have We Learned about the Resource Curse?” Annual Review of Political Science 18 (1), 239-259.

Class 13

 

 

May 12

 

 

Topic: Future forms of Conflict: Cyber Attacks and the Digital Front

Description: Identify the vast new terrain of cyber conflict. Focus placed on Syria and Ukraine. Documentary: Zero Days.

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

Kostyuk, Nadiya, and Yuri M. Zhukov. "Invisible Digital Front: Can Cyber Attacks Shape Battlefield Events?." Journal of Conflict Resolution (2017): in press.

Class 14

 

 

May 19

 

Final Exam

Topic: Course Overview

Description:

Reading:

Assignments/deadlines:

Final examination

 

6. Course Requirements and Assessment (with estimated workloads)

Assignment

Workload (average)

Weight in Final Grade

Evaluated Course Specific Learning Outcomes

Evaluated Institutional Learning Outcomes*

Attendance and Class Participation

40

20%

Regular contribution to class discussions, critique of readings

2

Data Assignment

40

25%

Ability to research and write responses to questions that are persuasive and logically structured, using evidence from related course material and relevant academic sources

1

Presentation

25

20%

Ability to carry out an in-class presentation, speak clearly and contextualize the topic in reference to the readings

3

Final Exam – in class

45

35%

Ability to demonstrate an understanding of course material with sufficiently detailed answers of core concepts relevant to Conflict Studies

1

TOTAL

150 hours

100%

 

 

*1 = Critical Thinking; 2 = Effective Communication; 3 = Effective and Responsible Action

7. Detailed description of the assignments

[Participation/Attendance]: You are required to attend and participate in every week of instruction.

Assessment breakdown

Assessed area

Percentage

Procedural:

1. Being physically present

2. Be in possession of the assigned readings for that week (electronic or print form acceptable)

3. Complete an "attendance proving" assignment each week via the NEO Forum Tab in which you will answer a straightforward question pertaining to lecture to prove your attendance. The purpose of the forum post is to engage w/ your peers on topics that are studied each week. The posts are read out let by the student during class and students will be called on to further elaborate on their posts.

 

50%

Applicational:

1. Analyze assigned readings

2. Raise questions or bring up discussion point(s)

3. Responding to questions and criticize classmates’ opinions

4. Base responses in theories and concepts from the syllabus

5. Defend your argument’s validity through reference to assigned readings

 

50%

 

[Data assignment]: Each student will receive questions and will utilize Turchin's (2012) Political Violence data to run several basic assessments of instability incidents.

Assessment breakdown

Assessed area

Percentage

Procedural:

1. Utilize adequate software to run your analysis – links to download software will be provided to those who do not already have similar applications installed on their computers.

2. Make sure your graphical representations (if any), are not too small to interpret.

3. Turn in your assignment (via email) before the deadline (23:59 on day of deadline – Class 7)

50%

Applicational:

1. Show an ability to be reasoned and convincing in your explanation of political instability incidents.

2. Use at least one reference (external historical or newspaper) to support your case-example.

3. Spend no less than 100 words on each question/answer.

50%

 

[Presentation]: Each student will carry out research then conduct a short presentation on updating one of the categories of political instability from the Mid-Term Assignment, based on Turchin's (2012) dataset

The power point presentation must include a bibliography with accurate citations and acceptable academic sources.

Assessment breakdown

Assessed area

Percentage

Pick a category of political instability; update the data according to your own research and recent history; work in a CSV/Excel format

5%

Email or verbally confirm a presentation category for approval by Class 7

5%

Email a PowerPoint file of your presentation before the start of Class 10

5%

1. Conduct a 10-15-minute power point presentation [students who cannot attend live due to timezone issues are required to make a youtube or other type of video upload with their presentations and to post it on their “blog” in NEO for other students to watch live during class and comment]

2. Explain the category of analysis’ origin

3. Highlight the conflict’s institutional setting/characteristics

4. Include information about key actors + identities; interests

5. Make a prognosis about a potential resolution

85%

 

[Final Exam]: This will be a take-home exam, featuring a comprehensive evaluation of course readings. Student’s will have 24 hours to complete it then submit it via Turnitin on NEO.

Assessment breakdown

Assessed area

Percentage

Procedural:

1. Answer the required number of essay questions (2)

2. Follow the guidelines and instructions provided

3. Put first and last name on first page of both essays 

50%

Applicational:

1. Articulate arguments that are logical and clearly understandable

2. Critically explain major concepts and theories from the course

3. Show an ability to explain themes drawn from the primary readings

4. Use relevant empirical examples to back up your argument

5. Ensure that each paragraph in your essay is logically connected

6. Establish a direct and clearly articulated connection between the introduction and conclusion of your essay(s)

50%

 

8. General Requirements and School Policies

General requirements

All coursework is governed by AAU’s academic rules. Students are expected to be familiar with the academic rules available in the Codex and Student Handbook and to maintain the highest standards of honesty and academic integrity in their work.

Electronic communication and submission

The university and instructors shall only use students’ university email address for communication. It is strongly recommended that any email communication between students and instructors take place in NEO LMS.

Each e-mail sent to an instructor that is about a new topic (meaning not a reply to an original email) shall have a new and clearly stated subject and shall have the course code in the subject, for example: “COM101-1 Mid-term Exam. Question”.

All electronic submissions are carried out through NEO LMS. No substantial pieces of writing (especially take home exams and essays) can be submitted outside of NEO LMS.

Attendance

Attendance is required. Students who are absent 35 percent of classes will be failed (or administratively withdrawn from the course if most absences are excused). Students might also be marked absent if they miss a significant part of a class (by arriving late or leaving early) as specified in the syllabus.

Absence excuse and make-up options

Should a student be absent from classes for relevant reasons (illness, serious family matters), and the student wishes to request that the absence be excused, the student should submit an Absence Excuse Request Form supplemented with documents providing reasons for the absence to the Dean of Students within one week of the absence. If possible, it is recommended the instructor be informed of the absence in advance. Should a student be absent during the add/drop period due to a change in registration this will be an excused absence if s/he submits an Absence Excuse Request Form along with the finalized add/drop form. Students whose absence has been excused by the Dean of Students are entitled to make up assignments and exams provided their nature allows. Assignments missed due to unexcused absences which cannot be made up, may result in a decreased or failing grade as specified in the syllabus. Students are responsible for contacting their instructor within one week of the date the absence was excused to arrange for make-up options.

Late work: No late submissions will be accepted – please follow the deadlines.

Electronic devices

Electronic devices (phones, tablets, laptops…) may be used only for class-related activities (taking notes, looking up related information, etc.). Any other use will result in the student being marked absent and/or being expelled from the class. No electronic devices may be used during tests or exams.

Eating is not allowed during classes.

Cheating and disruptive behavior

If a student engages in disruptive or other conduct unsuitable for a classroom environment of an institution of learning, the instructor may require the student to withdraw from the room for the duration of the activity or for the day and shall report the behavior to the Dean.

Students engaging in behavior which is suggestive of cheating (e.g. whispering or passing notes) will, at a minimum, be warned. In the case of continued misbehavior the student will be expelled from the exam and the exam will be marked as failed.

Plagiarism and Academic Tutoring Center

Plagiarism is “the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.” (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2nd Edition, Random House, New York, 1993)

Turnitin’s White Paper ‘The Plagiarism Spectrum’ (available at http://go.turnitin.com/paper/plagiarism-spectrum) identifies 10 types of plagiarism ordered from most to least severe:

  1. CLONE: An act of submitting another’s work, word-for-word, as one’s own.
  2. CTRL-C: A written piece that contains significant portions of text from a single source without alterations.
  3. FIND–REPLACE: The act of changing key words and phrases but retaining the essential content of the source in a paper.
  4. REMIX: An act of paraphrasing from other sources and making the content fit together seamlessly.
  5. RECYCLE: The act of borrowing generously from one’s own previous work without citation; To self-plagiarize.
  6. HYBRID: The act of combining perfectly cited sources with copied passages—without citation—in one paper.
  7. MASHUP: A paper that represents a mix of copied material from several different sources without proper citation.
  8. 404 ERROR: A written piece that includes citations to non-existent or inaccurate information about sources
  9. AGGREGATOR: The “Aggregator” includes proper citation, but the paper contains almost no original work.
  10. RE-TWEET: This paper includes proper citation, but relies too closely on the text’s original wording and/or structure.

 

As the minimum policy the types of plagiarism from 1 through 8 results in the failing grade from the assignment and must be reported to the Dean. The Dean may initiate a disciplinary procedure pursuant to the Academic Codex. Allegations of bought papers and intentional or consistent plagiarism always entail disciplinary hearing and may result in expulsion from AAU.

If unsure about technical aspects of writing, students are encouraged to consult their papers with the tutors of the AAU Academic Tutoring Center. For more information and/or to book a tutor, please contact the ATC at: http://atc.simplybook.me/sheduler/manage/event/1/.

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities are asked to contact their instructor as soon as possible to discuss reasonable accommodation.

9. Grading Scale

Letter Grade

Percentage*

Description

A

95 – 100

Excellent performance. The student has shown originality and displayed an exceptional grasp of the material and a deep analytical understanding of the subject.

A–

90 – 94

B+

87 – 89

Good performance. The student has mastered the material, understands the subject well and has shown some originality of thought and/or considerable effort.

B

83 – 86

B–

80 – 82

C+

77 – 79

Fair performance. The student has acquired an acceptable understanding of the material and essential subject matter of the course, but has not succeeded in translating this understanding into consistently creative or original work.

C

73 – 76

C–

70 – 72

D+

65 – 69

Poor. The student has shown some understanding of the material and subject matter covered during the course. The student’s work, however, has not shown enough effort or understanding to allow for a passing grade in School Required Courses. It does qualify as a passing mark for the General College Courses and Electives.

D

60 – 64

F

0 – 59

Fail. The student has not succeeded in mastering the subject matter covered in the course.

* Decimals should be rounded to the nearest whole number.

Prepared by and when:  Alexei Anisin, PhD -- 18/01/2022

 

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