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Comparative Political Violence

Department: Political Science                                                        

Instructor: Adam Fefer
Instructor Email: 
Prerequisites: none 
Schedule: TBD

Course Description

This course deals with the politics of fatality-causing incidents. We will study civil wars, genocides, riots, terrorism, and more. The geographical focus is wide, including India, Indonesia, Rwanda, the Soviet Union, and U.S.A. Throughout the course, we will focus on the causes and consequences of political violence, as well as on key concepts like rationality, emotion, and democracy.

Course Goals / Learning Objective

By the end of this course, students should be able to think about violence scientifically:

  • carefully describing its occurrence, explaining its causes, entertaining alternative explanations, understanding
  • how different explanations are rooted in broader theoretical and historical traditions
  • understanding the types of evidence brought to bear on different hypotheses, and so on.

Course Topics

  • Rationality psychology, emotion, and violence
  • Participation in violence
  • Genocide
  • Riots
  • Terrorism
  • Violence and democracy
  • Ending political violence


*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students. Courses have been modified for online teaching.