International Administration of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (MA; 2017): The seminar aims at introducing students to development and humanitarian aid, focusing on the administration of aid interventions as well as the interplay between aid agencies and local contexts. The first part of the course aims at improving the general understanding of how bureaucratic processes and dynamics as well as the local political, socio-economic and logistical conditions affect aid projects in terms of planning, allocation, implementation and effectiveness. The second part of the seminar will focus on practical issues: what are the main organizational challenges in designing, planning and implementing aid projects in challenging environments? We will investigate policies, practical guidelines and best practices of bilateral and multilateral aid agencies to get to understand how these institutions function internally. Specifically, we will analyze how their internal organizational and operational approaches may generate adverse consequences in terms of misallocations, ineffectiveness and negative effects on local political, economic and social conditions.


Introduction to International Administration and Conflict Management (MA; 2015, 2016, 2017): This basic seminar gives an introduction to the overall content of the MA program “International Administration and Conflict Management” and makes students familiar with the basic readings and relevant theories. The first part of the seminar is devoted to conflict. The topics are conflict theory, causes of intrastate conflict, microdynamics of civil war and armed humanitarian interventions. The second part of the seminar focusses on conflict management, namely theories of negotiation and mediation, the role of international administration in conflict management, peace operations and non-state conflict resolution. The third part deals with issues of post-conflict reconstruction such as international administration of post-war territories, post-war political reform and transitional justice. A concluding session is devoted to pathologies and disasters in international administration. The seminar lays the groundwork for all further seminars offered in the program “International Administration and Conflict Management”. The individual sessions provide an overview on the subjects of the individual courses offered in subsequent stages of the program. This is also meant to equalize the knowledge base of students participating in the program, taking into account that they come from various universities and have different backgrounds.


Environmental Change, Violent Conflict and Political Institutions (MA; 2016, 2017): Associations between environmental change and violence have received considerable attention over the past 10 years - most notably in the context of debates on global climate change. The goal of the seminar is to understand how environmental change may lead to conflict. Special attention will be given to the role of institutions as an indirect link between environmental conditions and violent conflict. The first part of the seminar aims at reviewing direct causal channels that may link environmental change to increasing or decreasing risks of political violence, focusing most notably on resource scarcity, distributional conflicts and migration. The second part of the seminar will focus on the effects of environmental change on state institutions: how have long-term environmental developments shaped institutional configurations? The third part will bring both discussions together to identify more complex associations between changing environmental conditions, state- and institution building and violent conflict. Theoretical arguments will be applied in case studies of Kenya, India, Mali and Indonesia.


Micro-Dynamics of State Repression (MA; 2016): A micro-level turn has reoriented research on repression and resistance from country-level structural factors to disaggregated analyses of dynamics and actors: How does state repression impact on mobilization and the formation of social movements? What factors determine the relations between security forces, bystanders, regime supporters and opposition movements? Under which circumstances do repressive institutions erode, paving the way for political change even in highly autocratic and repressive states? The first part of the course examines the theoretical building blocks of research on repression and resistance, including works on conditions of mobilization, the effects of various strategies and instruments of state repression as well as determinants of ineffectiveness and failure of repressive institutions. The second part will focus on methodological approaches and challenges in analyzing the interplay of repression and resistance on the micro-level. The third part of the seminar will aim at investigating historical and contemporary case studies of repression and revolt.


Introduction to Methods in Political Geography (MA; 2016, 2017): Political geography is concerned with the spatial dimensions of political processes. Understanding the determinants and outcomes of spatial political patterns poses specific theoretical and methodological challenges. The seminar provides an introduction into concepts, methods and tools of political geography focusing on spatial dimensions of violent conflict, development and state-building at the subnational level. The first part of the seminar will introduce the broad themes and key concepts of political geography. The second part will provide a general overview and critical appraisal of various sources of spatial data. The third part of the course will focus on basic methods of visualization and analysis of spatial data in qualitative and quantitative research designs. The course will include a hands-on introduction into the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) using the open source software Quantum GIS (QGIS).


State-Building and State-Formation in Historical Perspective (MA; 2016):  A growing body of work has identified the importance of historical state-building processes for modern levels of economic and political development. Their findings illustrate the long-term consequences of early state-building and the relevance of understanding historical cases for contributing to a better understanding of state-building more generally. The first part of the course provides an introduction into the political history, philosophy and sociology of state-building. Classical works by Tilly, Scott and Levi provide the theoretical foundation for analyzing concrete examples of state-formation in the second part of the seminar. Empirical case studies will be drawn from historical, colonial and post-colonial processes of state-building in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Students that have attended the course will be familiar with core arguments of seminal works on state-building. They will also be able to critically assess the contribution of this research to understanding current processes and challenges of state-building.


Onset, Duration and Termination of Civil Wars (BA; 2016, 2017): Civil war is the most common form of armed conflict today. The objective of the seminar is to understand the causes, dynamics and ending of violent intra-state conflict. The first part of the course reviews major theoretical explanations and empirical findings on the onset of civil war, focusing in particular on the role of poverty and inequality, religious and ethnic identities, natural resources and political institutions. The second part investigates the micro-dynamics and the duration of violent conflict: processes of recruitment, rebel strategies, violence against civilians, alliances and side-switching. The last part is concerned with how civil wars end, analyzing the conditions and consequences of military victories and negotiated settlements. Throughout these three parts, we will discuss how local and international actors can contribute to preventing dynamics that lead to the escalation of conflicts and increase the duration of violence; theoretical arguments are being applied to concrete cases studies: Syria, South Sudan and Mali.


Research Colloquium (MA and BA; 2015, 2016, 2017): The research colloquium aims at supporting bachelor and master students in conceptualizing and writing their final thesis. It has a particular focus on empirical research projects that analyse theoretical arguments in qualitative (process tracing and/or controlled comparisons) or quantitative research designs. The first part of the colloquium is devoted to recapitulating some essential elements of the research process. The topics are research design, qualitative approaches, quantitative approaches as well as structure and writing. Individual sessions will aim at in depth discussions of selected methodological texts. The second part of the colloquium is reserved for oral presentations and discussions of BA/MA research projects.


Post-War State-Building (MA; 2014): State-building plays a prominent role in policy dialogues on development and security. This results from the growing acknowledgement that neither sustainable human development nor security can be achieved without capable state institutions. The seminar focuses on the role of international actors in institution-building after violent conflicts: How do civil wars affect state institutions? How can state institutions be reconstructed? How can international actors support this process? Conceptually, the seminar focusses on core state institutions in the areas of security, welfare and representation. Empirically, the course centers on current cases such as Afghanistan, South Sudan or Timor-Leste. Students that have attended the course are familiar with core theories and empirical findings on post-war institution-building, are aware of its main operational and political challenges and are able to critically evaluate international actors’ contributions.