PUAF689V: Forecasting and Analyzing Political Violence

Publication Date: 
February 2016
Document Type: 
The course introduces students to the theoretical approaches of emergent phenomenon, political instability and political violence forecasting. It provides students an opportunity to design and develop new and innovative solutions to forecast and analyze emerging political dynamics through hands-on practical group projects. The course reviews the history and current techniques used in political violence analysis, from both the practitioner and user perspective. The course also examines case studies, methodologies used by political forecast practitioners and organizations, software used to help make political risk forecasts and trend analysis. The theoretical portion of the course will build on three literatures: • Complex and emergent systems (game theory, systems dynamics theory, & network analysis) • Political violence (state failure & protest dynamics) • Forecasting and risk analysis (analytical processes, forecasting methodologies, & decision matrices) Course Objectives • Review the relevant theoretical arguments for emergent behavior and how that applies to political instability. • Explain the key attributes and processes professional analysts have identified in assessing the political dynamics and instability in a specific country. • Identify the current models for state failure and forecasting and their application in working projects by the UN, ICG, State Failure Task Force, etc. • Develop student’s analytical skills to discern the critical variables needed to assess a particular risk problem and to develop forecasting techniques for particular analytical situations. • Apply the course knowledge to designing and developing alternative approaches to political forecasting and risk analysis.