Women, some of whom are quite young in this photo, take target practice in Dacca (East Pakistan, now Bangladesh) during the 1964-65 Indo-Pakistani War.
Women, some of whom are quite young in this photo, take target practice in Dacca (East Pakistan, now Bangladesh) during the 1964-65 Indo-Pakistani War.

The onset, expansion and consequences of inter-state conflict lie at the heart of international relations scholarship. This class will explore these topics, highlighting what we know and what we do not know. We will start by clarifying our concepts and what we mean when we use terms like “dispute” and “war.” The rest proceeds as an overview of the literature in the spirit of the Correlates of War project. We will discuss the ubiquitous and problematic issue of “power” in international relations. We will reiterate that most conflicts are between land-contiguous neighbors and concern territorial issues between them. Thereafter, we will discuss numerous other correlates of war and peace, like alliances, joint democracy, and rivalry. We will also talk about conflict processes like deterrence, compellence, dispute escalation and the dynamics of war. Students that complete this class should have a broad overview of prominent quantitative scholarship on the cause of disputes and war in the international system, situating them in scholarship in the “peace science” field.

Course Materials

  1. Syllabus
  2. Set Up Google Scholar to Find Class Readings on Your Syllabus
  3. Dos and Dont’s of Writing for Students
  4. Assorted Tips for Students on Writing Research Papers
  5. Exam Grading Policy
  6. Fun with Attendance and Grades (i.e. Students Should Attend Class)
  7. The Educational Power of Discomfort
  8. Everybody Writes: A Web Content Approach for Students
  9. Put Your Laptops Away, Kids (Vol. 2)
  10. Reading a Regression Table: A Guide for Students
  11. ‘Steps to War’ Paper Instructions
  12. Welcome
  13. The Scientific Study of War
  14. ‘Dangerous Dyads’ and an Introduction to Applied Research
  15. Defining Conflicts and Disputes
  16. States, War, and Conflict Patterns
  17. Thinking Rationally and Strategically
  18. War as Bargaining
  19. Identifying Opportunity for Conflict
  20. Territorial Conflict
  21. Power and the Realisms
  22. Offense-Defense Balance and Power Transition Theory
  23. Alliances: What Are They and Why Form Them?
  24. Are Alliances Paths to Peace or Steps to War?
  25. Midterm 1 Review
  26. The Democratic Peace
  27. Selection Effects and Deterrence
  28. What We Know About Escalation to War
  29. A Unified Explanation of Territorial Conflict
  30. The Expansion of War
  31. War Termination
  32. The Consequences of War
  33. The Causes of Recurrent Conflict