Fall Term 2012

Doctoral Program in Political Science (CUSO) – Security Studies II Module

Research on the causes of violence in civil war is divided on the question of ethnicity. On one hand, scholars argue that ethnicity plays a significant role in motivating individuals to initiate and/or participate in violence. In contrast, others suggest that ethnicity is at best secondary to economic and other material considerations that motivate individual participation in violence. The second security studies module will address scholarly debates, both theoretical and methodological, on the role of ethnicity in civil war. Day 1 provides an overview of theoretical approaches. Specifically, we introduce the concept and commonly used measures of ethnicity, review grievance and opportunity-based based explanations for violence, and explanations that emphasize the geography of violence. Day 2 covers issues of methods, introducing prominent datasets and methodological approaches used by scholars to assess the role of ethnicity in civil war. Here, we review key datasets in use and under development, as well as different methods of analysis, including regression, spatial regression, agent- based and evidence-driven models.


Lecture with Computer Exercises:
Modelling and Simulating Social Systems with MATLAB

This course introduces first the basic functionalities and features of the mathematical software package MATLAB, such as the simple operations with matrices and vectors, differential equations, statistical tools, the graphical representation of data in various forms, and video animations of spatio-temporal data. With this knowledge, students are expected to implement themselves in MATLAB, models of various social processes and systems, including agent-based models, e.g. models of interactive decision making, group dynamics, human crowds, or game-theoretical models. Part of this course will consist of supervised programming exercises in a computer pool. Credit points are finally earned for the implementation of a mathematical model from the sociological literature in MATLAB and the documentation in a seminar thesis.