Gender, Development and Global Politics (MA 2018)
Gender, sex, violence and power have received increasing attention in academia, media and politics over the last decade. These recent debates include issues such as gender inequality, conflict-related sexual violence and the role of women in politics and development. Our views on these issues are often informed by powerful—unfortunately often unquestioned—assumptions. For instance, we usually belief that women are victims while men are perpetrators. We also tend to belief that victims are passive instead of active agents. Recent empirical studies have challenged several of these ideas and uncovered new patterns by making use of rigorous, empirical methods. In this seminar, we will discuss a host of questions including the causes and consequences of gender (in)equality, peacetime violence against women, the determinants of and response to conflict-related sexual violence and methodologies on how to do research on gender, sex and violence. We will discuss a variety of materials in this seminar including academic articles, policy studies and media reports. In addition, we will host several guest speakers from academic research and advocacy.
Resilience in (Post-) Conflict Societies: How People, Groups and Nations Deal with Shocks, Trauma and Crises (BA 2016/17)
The concept of resilience is gaining much traction in international development and humanitarian assistance. The goal of this seminar is to develop a critical understanding of the concept of resilience and its applications in the context of (post-) conflict societies. Resilience refers to the ability of people, groups and nations to mitigate, adapt to and recover from shocks and crises. In the first part of the seminar, we will discuss conceptual and measurement issues and will link resilience to concepts like social capital. In the second part, we will review what the empirical literature tells us about how societies deal with shocks and crises such as climate change, refugee flows, violence exposure, food (in)security and economic shocks. After completing this course, students will have a solid understanding of the concept of resilience, its constituting parts and its applications. Additionally, students will have the capacity to discuss the promises and shortcomings of the resilience-concept in the scholarly and policy literature.
Causes and Consequences of Armed Conflicts (MA 2016)
The primary goal of this seminar is to develop the capacity to evaluate existing theories on contemporary civil conflict using empirical evidence. This course will focus mainly on the micro-level dynamics including individual participation and group formation. The course will cover several topics: the role of natural resources in conflict onset, climate change as a cause of conflict, ethnic fragmentation as a cause of conflict, state capacity (and the lack thereof) as a cause of conflict. Besides that, we will devote some attention to the consequences of conflict. We will cover topics such as the determinants of conflict duration, refugees as a potential consequence (and perhaps cause) of conflict, (mental) health implications of conflict and economic consequences of conflict. Next to that we will devote some attention to peace settlements, agreements, negotiations and mediations. All these questions will be addressed and discussed primarily using quantitative empirical evidence as is presented in the articles.
Armed Conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa (MA 2013, MA 2014)
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is associated with widespread violence and civil wars. In this course we will first discuss definitions of armed conflicts and civil wars and point to their advantages and weaknesses. We will discover that there are plenty of countries in SSA which were spared of large-scale violent conflict. This observation begs the question of what might explain why some countries experience widespread violence while others are spared. To get an understanding of the causes of armed conflicts, we will critically discuss three major explanations in the contemporary scholarly literature: economic conditions and natural resources, ethnicity and religion. With this analytical apparatus students will analyze a number of contemporary conflicts in SSA and develop an understanding of the complexity of each case. At the end of the seminar, students should be able to discuss existing explanations of civil wars and apply these to actual cases.