INAF-425 Terrorism & Insurgency in Africa
Spring for 2016-2017
The words “terrorism” and “insurgency” have long dominated the headlines about Africa. Too often, “Africa” is ascribed by the media and popular culture as being a violent continent where conflict is an inevitable outcome of primordial and ancient hatreds. But how much do we really know about political violence in Africa? We will interrogate this question by probing: Who defines “terrorism” and “insurgency” in Africa? Are these forms of political violence inventions from the modern era, or do they have deeper historical roots? Why do armed groups form and what drives individuals to join them? Why does political violence manifest in different ways? Are terrorism and insurgency effective political tactics?
This course will address these and other questions, while introducing students to relevant analytical frameworks, theories, and cases concerning terrorism, insurgency, and related forms of political violence in Africa. The first part of the course will examine the broad historical trends, theoretical, conceptual, and empirical literature surrounding terrorism and insurgency as political violence in Africa. We will use the tools and knowledge gained in the first part of the course to situate and interrogate case studies in the second part of the course. These case studies include:
Three cases of violence surrounding independence movements:
The Algerian War of Independence
Umkhonto we Sizwe in South Africa
The Mozambican Civil War and how it is still manifesting as political violence today
Two cases of genocide as a political tool:
Three contemporary Muslim groups:
Al-Shabaab in Somalia
Boko Haram in Nigeria
Daesh in North Africa and the Levant
By the conclusion of the course, students will emerge not only with a far richer understanding of these issues, but also as more sophisticated consumers, analysts, and producers of knowledge on the topics of insurgency and terrorism in Africa.
William Reno, Warfare in Independent Africa, Cambridge, 2011.
Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, Translated by Richard Philcox, 2005
Janet Cherry, Spear of the Nation: Umkhonto we Sizwe, Ohio Short Histories, 2012
Other academic years
There is information about this course number in other academic years: