Walsh School of Foreign Service

INAF 425- Terrorism and Insurgency in Africa

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? 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? Are current forms of political violence inventions from the modern era, or do they have deeper historical roots? 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, as well as 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.