Workshop on Micro-Comparative Studies of 20th Century Conflicts
April 23-24, 2016

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Historical cases of civil war and political violence are a major and underutilized source for the systematic study of conflict. While the fluid nature of ongoing or recent conflicts makes reliable data collection challenging, historical cases provide researchers with a unique opportunity to conduct systematic micro-comparative research, triangulating a variety of evidentiary sources. In post-conflict years, previously classified archives have opened; pronounced partisanships and controversies have subsided; and a rich descriptive secondary literature has emerged. In search of better quality data, scholars of political violence are increasingly turning to the systematic study of historical cases to facilitate understanding of the dynamics driving conflict. Yet, this “historical turn” in conflict studies remains fragmented across several disciplines and subfields.

The workshop “Micro-Comparative Studies of 20th Century Conflicts” aims to highlight this emerging trend in conflict studies. In particular, the meeting seeks to create a network of scholars who use a combination of extensive archival research with methodologies that have traditionally been used in isolation (e.g. ethnographic research, quantitative analysis), as well as conduct disaggregated theoretical and empirical research on civil wars and other forms of political violence. Over the course of the workshop, participants will present their ongoing research and investigate ways in which different approaches can be combined to advance scholarship about the complex processes driving the micro-dynamics of political violence. Our goal will be to publish a selection of papers in an agenda-setting special issue journal.

The Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence, The MacMillan Centre, Yale University (Stathis Kalyvas, Director), Daniel Fedorowycz (University of Oxford)

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