Social Science and the Iraq and Syrian Wars

A photo of an Iraqi Army soldier seated behind a barbed wire fence.

An Iraqi Army soldier guards an outpost during the Iraq War, 2008. Courtesy of Austin King on Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA.


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2016



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Course Description

Course Description

The wars in Iraq and Syria have changed the course of international relations in the 21st century. During these conflicts, hundreds of thousands have died and millions have been displaced. After 13 years, these conflicts continue with no end in sight. The central question of this course is: How do political science theories and methods help us understand the course of these wars? In this course, you will answer this question by integrating three elements: theory, data/description, and application of theory to data/description. The primary goal of this course is to bolster students' skills in using various social science methods to explain important variations in violent conflict.

Related Content

Roger Petersen. 17.S950 Social Science and the Iraq and Syrian Wars. Fall 2016. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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