Fall 2023

Political Violence

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-123


Gilles Verniers (Section 01)


The purpose of this course is to critically examine how political science approaches various forms of political violence and to examine how violence and politics are inextricably enmeshed across regimes and regions. We will engage with literatures drawn from various regions of the world, including South Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. We will discuss different approaches adopted by social scientists to describe, analyse, understand and interpret violence, with an emphasis on approaches that focus on victims and perpetrators, as well as on consequences of conflicts. We will start by examining the intimate relation between violence and state formation, and then explore various forms of political violence, including inter-religious and inter-ethnic violence, state repression and police brutality, vigilantism, organized crime, and criminal political economies. The second half of the course will focus on civil wars, warlord politics, massacres and genocide, and the consequences of contention. Students will work on independent research projects and class presentations.

Limited to 35 students. Fall semester. Karl Loewenstein Fellow Verniers.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference given to students new to the discipline

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Students in this class will learn how to engage with fundamental texts on political violence, write short response papers and write a final paper connecting a case study with theory covered in the class. There will be a strong focus on class discussion and oral presentations. the midterm assignment will be a book review.

POSC 123 - LEC

Section 01
M 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM WEBS 220
W 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM WEBS 220


Other years: Offered in Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024