COURSE: Civil War and Peace Processes in Comparative Perspective

Course content

This course is deigned to introduce students to comparative experiences of civil war and peace processes with the following key questions in mind: why do civil wars breakout in some countries in different social and ethnic contexts? Are civil wars different from other types of war? Why do some civil wars end in negotiated peace while others do not? What is the role of negotiation, mediation, postconflict development during peacebuilding in civil war contexts? The course is organized around some key Topics in the recent scholarly literature.


Course contents and Topics: 

1.  Nature of civil war as a specific form of social and political conflict.

2.  The nature of civil war in the post-Cold War era.

3.  Why do civil war conflicts occur?

4.  The major theoretical approaches of civil conflict.

5.  The conditions under which negotiation in civil war becomes possible.

6.  The challenges in civil war management and peace settlement.

7.  The Role of mediation and negotiation in managing armed conflicts.

8.  International dimension of civil war and peace processes.

9.  Role of economic development and reconciliation in post-civil war transition.


Bachelorlevel: 10 ECTS
Masterlevel: 7,5 ECTS

Learning outcome

At the end of this course, students will have learned

1.To enable students to familiarize themselves with different experiences in civil war and peace processes in some selected countries,

2.To introduce students to the key literature, thinkers and concepts in the field of civil war and peace studies.

3.That civil war and peace processes in different contexts have different trajectories conditioned by global, country and issue specific dynamics of the conflict.

4.That there is a rich body of scholarly literature with theoretical approaches that provide conceptual tools to understand civil war and peace processes, and

5.How to apply theoretical ideas learned in the class in analyzing concrete situations of peace building.

Examples of types of instruction include: lectures, student presentations, group work, videos, group discussions, take-home assignments, roleplaying exercises.

•Fortna, Virginia. Does Peacekeeping Work? Shaping Belligerents' Choices after Civil War. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.


•Roeder, Philip, and Donald Rothchild. Sustainable Peace: Power and Democracy after Civil Wars. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005.


•Additional readings available online at course website (Absalon).


7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28