Ethnic Conflict (PSCI 226 — Undergraduate Lecture)
Prejudice, discrimination, and inter-group competition for resources, status, and power are constant features of human history. Across societies, there is evidence of in-group bias and out-group prejudice that defines human behavior, particularly across ethnic lines. Some theorists argue that people are hard-wired to dislike –and even fight against— members of ethnic out-groups. But large-scale ethnic violence is relatively rare. Under what conditions does ethnic conflict become violent and when does that violence rise to the level of civil war? Why do some people choose to identify with their ethnic, racial, or religious group at the expense of their nation? Which interventions are effective in ending civil war and should these interventions try to change underlying patterns of social identification in post-conflict societies? This course addresses these questions by reviewing theories and evidence on violent inter-group conflict, focusing on civil wars. There have been more than 170 civil wars –most of them ethnic in nature—since 1945. We will analyze data from these cases and place theories of civil war in empirical context. The course advances an inter-disciplinary perspective on ethnic conflict and civil war, drawing on current research in political science, economics, and social psychology. Students will be able to assess if ethnic conflict is rooted in economic factors, such as poverty, growth decline, commodity price shocks, or dependence on mineral wealth; or if it is due to political reasons, such as repression, authoritarianism, or political exclusion of minority groups. Individual cases from Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Syria, Rwanda, Cyprus, and other countries will be used as illustrative examples.
International Peacebuilding (PSCI 798-302 — Graduate Seminar)
The prevalence of civil war dropped sharply after the end of the Cold War. A common conjecture is that this drop was due to the growing activism of the United Nations (UN) and the decline of proxy wars by great powers. The UN transformed its peace-keeping missions into peace-building operations that aimed to create institutions able to create self-enforcing peace. New ideas about the limits of national sovereignty in the face of civilian abuses led to the adoption of the R2P (Responsibility to Protect) norm. For a short period, these changes promised to create a more peaceful international system. But in the past decade several new wars have started and we have witnessed challenges to the liberal world order. Great power relations are returning to the Cold War logic of competitive interventions; there is a rise in foreign-imposed regime change and failed interventions; and these developments have generated a push toward retrenchment in U.S. foreign policy. This course will explore the historical record of international peace-building with an eye toward drawing lessons that would apply to our changing world. What are the main peace-building challenges facing any intervener after civil war? Which policies can be effective in addressing these challenges in countries such as Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan? Under what conditions is foreign-led state-building likely to be effective? We will address these questions by reviewing both theoretical and empirical/policy studies. Students will acquire familiarity with the latest methods and data used in this literature and will acquire hands-on experience by collecting new data, replicating and extending published studies, evaluating policy alternatives, and making presentations on research design and theory-building. The course is designed for graduate students in international relations and comparative politics, but advanced undergraduates with relevant prior course training may apply for permission to enroll.
A list of additional courses taught at Yale (2001-2016):
Introduction to the Study of Politics
This course introduces students to some of the major controversies in political science. We focus on the five substantive themes that make up the Yale Initiative: Order, Conflict, and Violence; Representation and Popular Rule; Crafting and Operating Institutions; Identities, Affiliations, and Allegiances; and Distributive Politics. We divide our time between discussing readings on these subjects and conversations with different members of the faculty who specialize on them. There is also some attention to methodological controversies within the discipline.
Research and Writing
This is a required course for all second-year students. It meets for the first six weeks of the fall term and the first six weeks of the spring term. The fall meetings are devoted to discussion of research design as well as individual student projects. The spring meetings are devoted to discussion of drafts of student papers.
Secession and Political Boundaries
The political economy of decentralization, secession, and the formation of political boundaries. Exploration of why some countries have stable borders while others face demands, sometimes violent, for redrawing them; conditions under which regions are likely to demand autonomy; decentralization as a way to ameliorate or escalate conflicts.
International Relations Field Seminar
This is the first course in the graduate sequence in International Relations. The course surveys the main theoretical traditions in international relations and considers how empirical methods can be used to assess these theories. Students acquire broad familiarity with the diverse literature in IR, learn to identify opportunities for new research, and learn how to evaluate theoretical claims. The course is designed for students who plan to pursue doctoral-level research in international relations and want to pass the Ph.D. qualifying exam in the field.