Department of Communication

PS1583: Topics in International Relations

Spring 2006

Group Presentation: Explaining the Civil Wars of the 20th Century

One of the assignments of this class is to give a group presentation of an analytical examination of a civil war.  For this assignment, each student will be assigned to a group at the beginning of the third class.  Each group will consist of 4 students and will choose a civil war from the list on page 2.

The content of the group presentation will consist of a brief synopsis of the civil war and an analytical assessment of the causes, duration and termination/resolution of the war.

Objectives:

  1. To familiarize yourself and each other about the civil wars of the 20th century
  2. To use abstract concepts and theories you learned in this class to better understand real-life events
  3. To improve your oral communication and presentation skills

Instructions:

  1. Each member of the group is expected to contribute to the presentation but is not allowed to repeat what has been already said.  Divide the presentation among each other.  Each student in a group should be responsible for the one of the following roles:
    1. Member 1: Provide a background of the civil war: (when did the civil war take place?, who were the disputant groups?, what was the main issue of contention?, how did the war end?, what happened at the end?)
    2. Member 2: Explain the causes of the civil war. You need to apply the concepts and theories you have learned in this class to explain the causes of the war.
    3. Member 3: Explain the duration of the war and the effectiveness of outside intervention: (why did the civil war last as long as it did?, was there any involvement by outside third parties?, was it successful?, why/why not?).  You need to apply the concepts and theories you have learned in this class to explain the duration of the war and the effectiveness of outside intervention in the termination of the war (if there was an intervention).
    4. Member 4: Explain the termination and consequences of the civil war: (how did the civil war end?, was there a peaceful settlement?, how durable was the peace?, what contributed to the durability of peace?).  You need to apply the concepts and theories you have learned in this class to explain the termination and resolution of the war and the post-war stability.

Evaluation:

List of Civil Wars:

You will be provided a list of sources that you can use to examine the following civil wars. (The start years of the wars are in the parentheses).

1. Rwanda (1990)                          2. Sudan (1963)
3. Sierra Leone (1992)                   4. Zimbabwe (1972)
5. Cambodia (1970)                       6. Lebanon (1975)
7. Somalia (1982)                          8. Liberia (1989)
9. El Salvador (1979)                    10. Colombia (1948)
11. Bosnia (1992)                         12. Chechnya (1994)