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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Michael Findley

Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Illinois

Contact

Biography

Findley's research and teaching address civil wars, terrorism, and development. He uses field experiments, statistical and computational models, and some interviews. He conducts ongoing fieldwork in Uganda, South Africa, and Malawi. 

Findley's publications appear in American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, Public Choice, Complexity, Minnesota Law Review, and World Development, among others.

GOV 388L • Political Violence

38160 • Spring 2015
Meets T 1230pm-330pm BAT 1.104
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a) Prereqs: none

 

b) Course Description: This graduate research seminar addresses the theoretical and empirical study of political violence primarily within states. It will survey leading research investigations from within political science along with discussion of innovations in other disciplines including geography, economics, and sociology.  We will consider a variety of theoretical topics and empirical approaches that deal with the complexity of conflict and violence that we observe globally. Particular topics include the causes and consequences of violence, the process by which violence escalates and deescalates, and how violence differs from political behavior more generally. 

 

 

c) Grading policy: 

25% Attendance/participation

15% Research reviews/replications

50% Seminar paper

10% Conflict presentation

 

 

d) Texts

No required texts

GOV 391K • Scope And Meths Of Polit Sci

39123 • Fall 2014
Meets T 930am-1230pm BAT 1.104
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Course Description:

This course is required of all first year PhD students in Government and provides a general introduction to the discipline. Topics include an overview of the discipline, the philosophy of science, approaches to the study of political science, fundamentals of research design, practicalities of carrying out research, and normative aspects of the profession.

Grading Policy: TBD

GOV 360N • Civil Wars And Ethnic Violence

39240 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 800am-930am CLA 0.128
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Course Description

This course is structured to consider various theoretical approaches in the study of civil wars and their management. Throughout, we will sample from numerous cases of civil war and violence paying close attention to the conflicts in South Africa, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia. The first segment of the course explores the basic dimensions of civil wars and ethnic violence. In particular, we examine the origins and development of ethnic and political identities and how they structure the parameters of conflict. Core questions include: What do we mean by ``ethnicity''? Is a given identity inherent in individuals, or is it subject to change? If manipulable, do ``instrumental'' elites use ethnicity to their advantage? Is there an ethnic dimension to all civil violence? The second section of the course is devoted to the process by which conflict among individuals and groups turns violent, with an emphasis on civil wars in Africa. Key questions include: What political incentives do leaders have to drum up support through violence? How do economic factors such as natural resources affect a group's opportunity or willingness to engage in violence? What causes internal violence to ``spill over'' into other countries or regions? The third and final section addresses strategies of conflict management and resolution. We consider some of the following questions: Does a feasible set of preventive solutions to civil wars exist? What is successful conflict management? Which strategies employed by international actors are most successful, and why? What are the obstacles to implementing conflict resolution measures?

 

 

Grading Policy

Two exams 20% & 25%                        45%

Two paper assignments                        35%

Attendance and participation                 10%

Presentation                                       10%

 

Texts

Collier, Paul, and Nicholas Sambanis. 2005. Understanding Civil War: Evidence and Analysis (Volume I: Africa). World Bank Publications.

Gourevitch, Philip. 1999. We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories From Rwanda. New York: Picador.

Walter, Barbara. 2002. Committing to Peace: The Successful Settlement of Civil Wars. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

 

GOV 385L • Experiment Methods In Poli Sci

39394 • Fall 2013
Meets T 930am-1230pm BAT 1.104
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Co-taught with Dr. Bethany Albertson

 

Prerequisites  

Graduate standing    

 

Course description  

This course will provide an introduction to randomized experiments in political science. The course will consider the basic methodology of experiments, including randomization, intervention, measurement, and inference with an emphasis on application of these ideas to a research question of interest. A project will be required and will entail the identification of a research question, the development of a theoretical argument to address the question, and the execution of an experiment that applies the methodology to provide an answer.    

 

Grading policy

-Participation: 20%

-IRB Proposal: 15%

-Research registration: 15%

-Proposal: 5%

-Paper: 40%

-Oral Presentation: 5%    

 

Texts

No textbooks

 

GOV 360N • Terrorism And Counterterrorism

38914 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 800am-930am CLA 1.106
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Course Description:

This course introduces the topic of terrorism and addresses the core ideas in studies of terrorism. We examine the historical origins of terrorist violence, the primary causes of terrorist acts committed both by opposition and government forces, as well as counterterrorist measures taken by states and international organizations. We also focus on common misunderstandings of terrorism many of which stem from conceptual challenges and distortions in public discourse. Particular emphasis will be placed on transnational dimensions of terrorism and the role it plays in international relations more generally. In addition to cross-national evidence, many specific examples including Chechnya, Israel, Northern Ireland, the United States, and Peru will be considered.

 

Gradiny Policy

Two exams 20% & 30%                     50%

Two paper assignments                     40%

Attendance and participation              10%

 

Texts: 

Martin, Gus. 2010. Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Hoffman, Bruce. 2006. Inside Terrorism. 3rd ed. New York: Columbia University Press.

Gottlieb, Stuart. (Ed.) 2010. Debating Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Conflicting Perspectives on Causes, Contexts, and Responses. Washington, DC: CQ Press

 

 

 

 

GOV 388L • Political Violence

39114 • Spring 2013
Meets TH 930am-1230pm BAT 5.102
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Course Description

This graduate research seminar addresses the theoretical and empirical study of political violence primarily within states. It will survey leading research investigations from within political science along with discussion of innovations in other disciplines including geography, economics, and sociology.  We will consider a variety of theoretical topics and empirical approaches that deal with the complexity of conflict and violence that we observe globally. Particular topics include the causes and consequences of violence, the process by which violence escalates and deescalates, and how violence differs from political behavior more generally.

 

Grading Policy

Participation/Presentations                 35%

Seminar Paper                                  40%

Research reviews                               25%

 

Required Texts:          

There are no required texts; all materials will be based on journal articles

GOV 360N • Civil Wars And Ethnic Violence

38762 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 930am-1100am JES A218A
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Course Description

Ethnic conflicts and civil wars pose one of the greatest threats to international peace and security today.  Recent conflicts in contexts as diverse as Rwanda, Russia, Colombia, and India demonstrate the devastating consequences of violent civil conflict.  Indicative of this broader trend in the outbreak and continuation of civil violence is the fact that 90% of UN peacekeeping operations since 1989 have been deployed to disputes that have a significant internal conflict component.  Despite the threat posed by such conflicts, recent advances toward peace in areas such as Namibia, El Salvador, Cambodia, and Mozambique offer encouragement about the prospects for resolving long-standing civil conflicts.

This course is structured to consider various theoretical approaches in the study of civil wars and their management.  Throughout, we will sample from numerous cases of civil war and violence paying close attention to the conflicts in South Africa, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia.  Divided into three sections, we will explore: 1) The basic dimensions of civil wars and ethnic violence including the origins and development of ethnic and political identities and how they structure the parameters of conflict; 2) the process by which conflict among individuals and groups turns violent, with an emphasis on civil wars in Africa; and 3) strategies of conflict management and resolution. 

The goal of the course is to enable students to develop an understanding of: the nature of various identities, how identity contributes (or not) to civil war, what other dimensions shape civil war, and how such wars are resolved.

 

Grading Policy

In Class Presentation- 10%

Writing Assignment #1 (8 pages)- 15%

Midterm Exam- 20%

Writing Assignment #2 (12 pages)- 20%

Final Exam- 25%

Attendance/Participation- 10%

 

Texts

Collier, Paul, and Nicholas Sambanis.  2005.  Understanding Civil War:  Evidence and Analysis (Volume I:  Africa).  World Bank Publications. 

Gourevitch, Philip.  1999.  We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Familes:  Stories From Rwanda.  New York:  Picador.

Walter, Barbara.  2002.  Committing to Peace:  The Successful Settlement of Civil Wars.  Princeton:  Princeton University Press.

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