ANTH 391
Insurgencies: Revolts, Revolutions, Wars of National Liberation, and Jihads Spring 2015
Division II
Cross-listed ANTH 391 / INTR 391
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

We often tend to think of warfare in the classic terms described by Clausewitz: states waging armed conflict against other states using uniformed armed forces that are distinct from non-combatant civilian populations. Throughout history, however, we may also encounter many instances of asymmetric conflict within states, colonies, and other political entities, involving combatants who are often indistinguishable from the general population and whose objectives are often unlike those of states: Peasant revolts, revolutions, wars of independence or national liberation, and other forms of resistance and civil insurgency pit the relatively weak against the power of the state and may succeed because, to use Mao’s metaphor, the insurgents move among the people like fish in water. The close relationship between insurgent fighters and the supporting population makes the social structure, social values, social institutions–in short, the culture–of the society particularly relevant to understanding the nature of a given asymmetric conflict. In this course we will use theoretical and analytical concepts from anthropology, sociology, history, and political philosophy to examine asymmetric conflicts of the twentieth century and the present day. The course will be divided into three parts: in the first we will explore some of the theoretical literature on violence and warfare as well as some of the basic literature on tribal and peasant society, peasant revolts, wars of national liberation, guerilla warfare, and insurgencies. The second part of the course will be devoted to presentations prepared by small groups of students on case studies, e.g., the Hukbalahap insurgency in the Philippines, the communist revolutions of China, Cuba, and Malaysia, wars of national liberation such as those in Algeria and Vietnam, and other ongoing civil conflicts such as the Palestinian intifadah and “ethnic cleansing” in the Balkans. The final portion of the course is devoted to an in-depth study of Iraq following the American invasion and to a consideration of the evolving nature of asymmetric conflict in a globalizing world.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 30
Expected: 20
Class#: 3156
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, two exams, research paper
Prerequisites: none; open to first-year students
Enrollment Preferences: Anthropology and Sociology majors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ANTH 391 Division II INTR 391 Division II

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