PhD Course: The Dynamics of Civil War

Research School on Peace and Conflict

Please note: This page refers to an event that has already taken place.

Time: Mon 06 (09:00) - Fri 10 (15:00) May 2013
Place: PRIO, Hausmanns gate 7, Oslo

Dates: 6-8, 10 May 2013.
Location: PRIO.
Leaders: Professor Jeffrey T. Checkel, Simon Fraser University ( and PRIO, and Professor Scott Gates, PRIO and Norwegian University of Science and Technology(NTNU) (
Credits: 10 ECTS.
Deadline of Application: 6 April 2013.

For further information on admission, requirements and syllabus, please see the course description on the Research School website.

The course in organized in collaboration between NTNU & PRIO.

Overview: This seminar provides an overview and critical assessment of contemporary research on civil conflict.  It will be in equal measure backward looking – assessing the state of the art; what have we learned – and future oriented – what are the cutting edge issues and challenges for students of civil war.  Reflecting the research interests of the instructors, the course will be plural in meta-theoretical (positivist, post-positivist), theoretical (political economy, political ethnography, sociological, constructivist, political psychology) and methodological terms (agent-based modelling, game theory, process tracing, case studies, interpretive approaches).


The first part of the course (sessions I - III) assesses what we now know about civil wars – why they break out, how they are sustained, how do they end – and how to think – conceptually and theoretically - about dynamics and process.  The second part (sessions IV - VII) builds on the first to explore the cutting edge and where next questions; our focus here will be new work seeking to capture the dynamics of civil war.  Among other issues, we will consider the roles of transnationalism; of bureaucracies, groups and organizations; of social processes; and insurgency-counterinsurgency dynamics in driving forward or constraining the evolution of such conflicts.