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PPR.335: War and Peace in the Balkans and the Caucasus

Tutor: TBC
Term: Not available 2013/14

Course Description

This course aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the recent political history of the Balkans and the Caucasus as well as an understanding of some of the central dynamics underlying these developments. The Balkans was a test case for international intervention in the post-cold war era and the region continues to be of importance for European security and EU enlargement, especially after Kosovo's recent recognition. The war in Georgia in August 2008 resulted in renewed international interest in the Caucasus and the region is likely to feature increasingly on the international agenda in the years to come due to EU/NATO expansion, superpower involvement, and the persistence of unresolved ethnic conflicts.

The course will be accessible to all students, whether they are new to the topic or not. It analyses the factors that led to the outbreak of war in the two regions in the last two decades (in Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Chechnya); it examines the attempts that have been made to solve these conflicts; and discusses the challenges, and opportunities, facing the Balkans and the Caucasus in the future. Michaelmas term will focus on the recent history of the Balkans and the Caucasus, the outbreak of conflict and war and the international attempts at conflict resolution. We will first examine the challenges faced after communism and discuss what made the two regions so susceptible to conflict. We will then proceed to analyse the conflicts and wars: the causes of violence and the, mostly failed, attempts to reach a solution. Lent term will have a more thematic approach and will cover issues such as: problems of transition, identity and war, international intervention, failed states, unrecognised states, democratisation and Europeanization.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of, and intellectual engagement with, a range of thoughts on peace and war.
  • Outline and explain competing theories of the causes of violence and paths to peace.
  • Discuss and evaluate these theories with reference to contemporary cases of armed conflict.


40% coursework and 60% exam.
Coursework: 1 essay of 3000 words. Exam: 2 hours.

Teaching Method

1 workshop (2 hours) weekly.

Introductory Reading

Bieber F Post-War Bosnia : Ethnicity, Inequality and Public Sector Governance

Hughes J & Sasse G Ethnicity and Territory in the Former Soviet Union

Kaufman S Modern Hatreds : The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War

King C, The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus

Woodward S Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and dissolution after the Cold War

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