This is an archived course. A more recent version may be available at

Civil War

As taught in: Spring 2005

A line of Sudanese refugees fleeing from civil war.

No refuge. Civilians in south Sudan flee that country's civil war, now in its twentieth year. (Image by Sven Torfinn/Panos Pictures. Courtesy of National Institutes of Health.)


Prof. Roger Petersen

MIT Course Number:




Course Description

This course surveys the social science literature on civil war. It studies the origins of civil war, discusses variables affecting duration, and examines termination of conflict. This subject is highly interdisciplinary and covers a wide variety of cases, although with concentration on various Balkan civil wars.