Civilian protection in conflict and post-conflict zones

Recent years have seen a dramatic growth in research on the roles and experiences of civilians during civil conflict. This class explores three important and interconnected themes in this area: (1) the nature of contemporary forms of civil conflict and the use of violence; (2) the experiences of civilians in conflict zones; and (3) the responsibilities (and efforts) of domestic institutions and the international community to seek the protection of civilians in (and after) conflict. This class will read, analyze, and discuss both established works and cutting-edge research in these areas.

The first part of the semester focuses on how political institutions, government actors, rebel leaders, civilians and rank-and-file soldiers use violence and the intended and unintended effects of this violence.

The second explores civilian experiences in war. It asks why civilians are targeted, how civilian and soldier experiences often vary by gender, why sexual violence is used as a tool of war, and how children experience and are affected by violence.

The third and final part of the semester is spent analyzing the new and established roles of international military intervention, peacekeeping, and law in preventing violence against civilians.

This is a small seminar class focused on discussion and analysis. Over the course of the semester students prepare their own discussion questions, write critical reviews of selected works, and develop their own research agenda on a related topic. The class culminates with a poster session highlighting student research projects.

Part 1Using Violence
Week 1Introduction, concepts
Week 2Political institutions and violence
Week 3The role of government actors
Week 4The role of rebel leaders
Week 5The role of the rank and file
Week 6Using violence and its effects
Part 2Civilian experiences
Week 7Why target civilians?
Week 8Gender and conflict
Week 9Conflict and sexual violence
Week 10Children and violence
Part 3Preventing civilian violence
Week 11International intervention and peacekeeping
Week 12Domestic and international law
%d bloggers like this: