Political Science Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa
by
Zachariah Mampilly
  • LAST REVIEWED: 27 September 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0006

Introduction

The study of African civil wars has boomed since 2000 as scholars have recognized the predominance of internal wars over interstate wars in the post-Cold War context. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought with it an influx of illegal weaponry and the weakening of many proxy states, leading to a spike in conflict in the early 1990s as political and economic elites sought to take advantage of the new political dispensation. Across the continent, a variety of insurgent organizations caused immeasurable death and destruction, whether small rag-tag outfits like the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda; proxy armies of foreign governments, such as the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone; or more conventional insurgent forces, such as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. In addition, conflicts in places like Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo took on hybrid forms mixing internal wars with interstate wars. As a result, no single approach fully captures the broad range of experiences of African civil war.

General Overviews

Scholars have produced many solo monographs and edited volumes that present differing interpretations of the causes and consequences of civil wars. Several of these works, such as Herbst 2000, Reno 1998, and Englebert 2009 locate the source of violence in the postcolonial nature of African states. Others, such as Zartman 1995, Ali and Mathews 1999, Kieh and Mukenge 2002, Kaarsholm 2006, and Spears 2010 take a more case-oriented approach, looking within specific countries for explanations of dysfunction. Mbembe 2000 provides a more theoretical interpretation for African violence, and contributors to Richards 2005 view the subject through an anthropological lens.

  • Ali, Taisier M., and Robert O. Matthews, eds. Civil Wars in Africa: Roots and Resolution. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1999.

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    Beginning with Sudan in 1956, Congo in 1960, and Nigeria in 1967 and ending with the recent conflicts in Rwanda and Sierra Leone, the contributors examine the root causes of civil wars and violent conflict.

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    • Englebert, Pierre. Africa: Unity, Sovereignty, and Sorrow. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2009.

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      Englebert’s work uses a variety of methods to demonstrate why civil wars are more common in certain African states and why Africa as a whole has a “secession deficit.”

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      • Herbst, Jeffrey Ira. States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.

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        Developing a novel spatial approach to understanding state weakness, Herbst argues that African states struggle to project power over their peripheral lands, rending them perpetually susceptible to violent challengers.

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        • Kaarsholm, Preben, ed. Violence, Political Culture and Development in Africa. Oxford, UK: James Currey, 2006.

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          Contributors to this interdisciplinary volume examine the sociohistorical processes that have shaped political development and violence in individual African states.

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          • Kieh, George Klay, and Ida Rousseau Mukenge. Zones of Conflict in Africa: Theories and Cases. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002.

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            The first half of this volume provides a theoretical framework with which to contextualize African conflicts, while the second half utilizes an array of case studies from the Great Lakes, Liberia, Nigeria, and Zambia to explain civil discord.

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            • Mbembe, Achille. “At the Edge of the World: Boundaries, Territoriality, and Sovereignty in Africa.” Public Culture 12.1 (2000): 259–284.

              DOI: 10.1215/08992363-12-1-259Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A dense, yet probing theoretical examination of the nature of contemporary violence in Africa, with an emphasis on its spatial dynamics.

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              • Reno, Will. Warlord Politics and African States. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1998.

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                Focusing on the examples of Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Zaire, Reno demonstrates how African rulers attempt to hold on to power in the face of multiple challenges to their rule in the post-Cold War era.

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                • Richards, Paul, ed. No Peace, No War: An Anthropology of Contemporary Armed Conflict. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2005.

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                  An original volume that challenges prevailing assumptions about the nature of contemporary warfare drawing on a variety of case studies from around the world, including multiple African cases.

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                  • Spears, Ian S. Civil War in African States: The Search for Security. Boulder, CO: FirstForumPress, 2010.

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                    Drawing on the cases of Angola, Ethiopia, and Somali, Spears provides an original analysis of why certain wars take the form they do, and what this means for ending violent conflicts.

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                    • Zartman, I. William, ed. Collapsed States: The Disintegration and Restoration of Legitimate Authority. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1995.

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                      In this influential study, leading scholars examine the conditions that have led to violent conflicts in multiple African countries.

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                      Conflict Initiation

                      Until the late 1990s, it was widely accepted that African civil wars had a variety of causes, ranging from ethnic, historical, and political factors to more economic or personal causes. In 1998, the Oxford economist Paul Collier began a vigorous debate, arguing that most conflicts in contemporary Africa have primarily economic—not political—origins. Though Collier modified this claim in his later work, it triggered a broad research program on the subject of conflict initiation in Africa. Several studies—including Collier and Hoeffler 2004, Fearon and Laitin 2003, Elbadawi and Sambanis 2000, and Anyanwu 2002—seek to compare competing explanations of civil war initiation. Others, such as Buhaug and Rød 2006 or Craft and Smaldone 2002, highlight other contributing factors that may explain the spike in violence in the post-Cold War era.

                      • Anyanwu, John C. Economic and Political Causes of Civil Wars in Africa: Some Econometric Results. Economic Research Papers 73. Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire: African Development Bank, 2002.

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                        The author examines the economic and political causes of civil wars, contrasting “greed” and “grievance” theories. Empirically testing propositions, Anyanwu formulates policy suggestions that urge economic diversification, poverty and population reduction, and political reform.

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                        • Buhaug, Halvard, and Jan Ketil Rød. “Local Determinants of African Civil Wars, 1970–2001.” Political Geography 25.3 (2006): 315–335.

                          DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2006.02.005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Using an innovative political geography approach, this study suggests that territorial conflict is more likely to occur in sparsely populated regions near state borders, at a distance from the capital, and without rough terrain, while conflict over state governance is more likely to occur in areas that are densely populated, near diamond fields, and near the capital city.

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                          • Collier, Paul, and Anke Hoeffler. “Greed and Grievance in Civil War.” Oxford Economic Papers 56.4 (2004): 563–595.

                            DOI: 10.1093/oep/gpf064Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            This essay is the standard statement on the greed (economic origins) versus grievance (political origins) debate regarding African civil wars.

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                            • Craft, Cassady, and Joseph P. Smaldone. “The Arms Trade and the Incidence of Political Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1967–97.” Journal of Peace Research 39.6 (2002): 693–710.

                              DOI: 10.1177/0022343302039006003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              This article finds that arms transfers are a significant and positive predictor of increased probability of war, and that only a strategy that encourages restraint by arms suppliers is likely to reduce the incidence of conflict.

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                              • Elbadawi, Ibrahim, and Nicholas Sambanis. “Why Are There So Many Civil Wars in Africa? Understanding and Preventing Violent Conflict.” Journal of African Economies 9.3 (2000): 244–269.

                                DOI: 10.1093/jae/9.3.244Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                The authors challenge the notion that ethnic diversity triggers conflict, arguing instead for a model that emphasizes the role of poverty, political institutions, and dependence on natural resources.

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                                • Fearon, James D., and David D. Laitin. “Ethnicity, Insurgency and Civil War.” American Political Science Review 97.1 (2003): 75–90.

                                  DOI: 10.1017/S0003055403000534Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Though not focused on Africa specifically, this is a deeply influential study of civil war initiation relying on advanced statistical methods.

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                                  Colonial Legacy

                                  The legacy of colonialism continues to be a popular (and relevant) explanation of African conflicts. Though filtered through contemporary events and actions, many civil wars continue to be shaped by the colonial experience. Mamdani 1996 and Young 1994 focus on colonialism’s impact and remain the most influential works on this aspect, providing convincing explanations of the pathologies inherent in African states that make them prone to civil conflicts. Adejumobi 2001 and Joseph 2002 provide a closer look at the dynamics linking colonial legacies and contemporary conflicts.

                                  • Adejumobi, Said. “Citizenship, Rights, and the Problem of Conflicts and Civil Wars in Africa.” Human Rights Quarterly 23 (2001):148–170.

                                    DOI: 10.1353/hrq.2001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Adejumobi shows how national governments have failed to overcome the ethnic ties that continue to define many African communities, contributing to a failure to foster a strong sense of national citizenship.

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                                    • Joseph, Richard. “War, State-Making, and Democracy in Africa.” In Beyond State Crisis? Postcolonial Africa and Post-Soviet Eurasia in Comparative Perspective. Edited by Mark Beissinger and Crawford Young, 241–262. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.

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                                      Joseph utilizes Charles Tilly’s famous discussion of state building in Europe to assess the prevalence of conflict in Africa.

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                                      • Mamdani, Mahmood. Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

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                                        Drawing on extensive archival and field research, Mamdani provides an explanation of the continued ethnicization of African politics, demonstrating how colonialism fostered a culture of authoritarianism that persists today.

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                                        • Young, Crawford. The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994.

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                                          Young’s masterly work offers a comparative assessment of the pathologies contemporary African states inherited as a result of colonial rule.

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                                          Ethnicity

                                          Scholars have also looked at the interrelationship between social identities and the political arrangements in African states as a cause of conflict. This view is often related to explanations centered on colonialism. Though no simplistic conclusions can be drawn regarding the relationship between ethnic diversity and conflict, works such as Horowitz 1985 and Dorman, et al. 2007 provide many compelling insights regarding the politicization of ethnic identities. Unsurprisingly, Sudan, with its multiple ethnic fracture points, has also produced many important studies on ethnic identities, such as Jok and Hutchinson 1999 and Idris 2001, which stand as models of compelling scholarship on the subject.

                                          • Dorman, Sara Rich, Daniel Patrick Hammett, and Paul Nugent, eds. Making Nations, Creating Strangers: States and Citizenship in Africa. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2007.

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                                            This volume examines the relationships between citizenship, ethnicity, nationhood, and state-building processes in order to shed light on the emergence of violent conflict in African states.

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                                            • Horowitz, Donald. Ethnic Groups in Conflict. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1985.

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                                              Though not Africa-specific, this text remains a keystone for almost any scholar interested in the relationship between ethnicity and conflict.

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                                              • Idris, Amir H. Sudan’s Civil War: Slavery, Race, and Formational Identities. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2001.

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                                                Idris traces the emergence of the “African/Arab” split to the precolonial period in Sudan, while showing how conventional analyses of the conflict fail to understand the fluidity of these categories.

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                                                • Jok, Jok M., and Sharon Elaine Hutchinson. “Sudan’s Prolonged Second Civil War and the Militarization of Nuer and Dinka Ethnic Identities.” African Studies Review 42.2 (1999): 125–145.

                                                  DOI: 10.2307/525368Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  An extraordinary chronicle of the brutal internecine ethnic warfare that divided the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in its war against Khartoum.

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                                                  Natural Resources

                                                  The political economy approach to understanding conflict initiation has produced a plethora of studies that seek to flesh out the precise relationship between natural resources and the outbreak of conflict. Collier and Hoeffler 2002 set the agenda, but many others productively adopted a resource-based approach to understanding the outbreak of conflict. Berdal and Malone 2000 provides multiple perspectives on the “greed versus grievance” debate, as it came to be known. Ross 2004 and Humphreys 2005 look closely at the dynamics linking natural resources and war. Lujala, et al. 2005 and Snyder and Bhavnani 2005 look at specific resources, while Maxted 2006 looks at the role of international actors.

                                                  • Berdal, Mats R., and David M. Malone, eds. Greed and Grievance: Economic Agendas in Civil Wars. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000.

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                                                    A useful edited volume containing multiple essays that seek to bring together both political and economic explanations on war initiation.

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                                                    • Collier, Paul, and Anke Hoeffler. “On the Incidence of Civil War in Africa.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 46.1 (2002): 13–28.

                                                      DOI: 10.1177/0022002702046001002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      An econometric study that demonstrates African conflicts primarily have economic reasons as their root causes.

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                                                      • Humphreys, Macartan. “Natural Resources, Conflict, and Conflict Resolution: Uncovering the Mechanisms.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 49.4 (2005): 508–537.

                                                        DOI: 10.1177/0022002705277545Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        A careful study of multiple conflicts that looks more closely at the mechanisms that underpin the connection between natural resources and conflict.

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                                                        • Lujala, Päivi, Nils Petter Gleditsch, and Elisabeth Gilmore. “A Diamond Curse? Civil War and a Lootable Resource.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 49.4 (2005): 538–562.

                                                          DOI: 10.1177/0022002705277548Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          An example of the close attention paid to specific resources and war onset; the authors use an original data set to make their arguments.

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                                                          • Maxted, Julia. “Exploitation of Energy Resources in Africa and the Consequences for Minority Rights.” Journal of Developing Societies 22.1 (2006): 29–37.

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                                                            Maxted provides a thoughtful examination of the role that multinational corporations play in the militarization of energy resources in Africa.

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                                                            • Ross, Michael L. “How Do Natural Resources Influence Civil War? Evidence from Thirteen Cases.” International Organization 58 (2004): 35–67.

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                                                              Ross’s influential study looks at thirteen civil wars to uncover the precise mechanisms that link natural resources to civil war initiation.

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                                                              • Snyder, Richard, and Ravi Bhavnani. “Diamonds, Blood, and Taxes: A Revenue-Centered Framework for Explaining Political Order.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 49.4 (2005): 563–597.

                                                                DOI: 10.1177/0022002705277796Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                Snyder and Bhavnani connect state fiscal strategies to the variation in the effect of lootable resources on civil war.

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                                                                Dynamics of Civil Wars in Africa

                                                                Many scholars have sought to understand the complex dynamics of African civil wars. As an extraordinarily multifaceted phenomenon, civil wars affect almost every aspect of social and political life in countries torn by violence. Scholars have productively looked both at the military dynamics of civil wars as well as the effects of violence on African societies.

                                                                Rebels

                                                                African rebels vary along a number of important dimensions. Scholars have shed light on insurgent organizations, detailing the variation present regarding their structure, behavior, and ideological orientation. Bob 2005 and Weinstein 2007 use a comparative approach to understand the behavior of different groups. Clapham 1998 and Kingston and Spears 2004 adopt a case-oriented approach. Lyons 2004 and Singer 2005 look more closely at the role of women and children within insurgent groups. Global Security’s African Para-Military Groups is a web resource providing detailed information about multiple African insurgencies.

                                                                • Bob, Clifford. The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media and International Activism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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                                                                  Bob’s account of the relationship between insurgents, transnational activists, and modern media outlets provides a window into how insurgents have embraced 21st-century strategies in the conduct of war.

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                                                                  • Branch, Adam, and Zachariah Cherian Mampilly. “Winning the War, But Losing the Peace? The Dilemma of SPLM/A Civil Administration and the Tasks Ahead.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 43.1 (2005): 1–20.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/S0022278X04000588Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    The authors provide a novel analysis of the civilian governance system of an African insurgency, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, focusing on its relationship with the foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that proliferated in South Sudan.

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                                                                    • Clapham, Christopher, ed. African Guerrillas. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1998.

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                                                                      An edited volume that categorizes African insurgent groups across a number of relevant dimensions. Clapham’s work remains influential to this day.

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                                                                      • Global Security. African Para-Military Groups.

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                                                                        Provides brief descriptions of dozens of African insurgent groups, as well as news reports on civil wars across the world (on the main website, GlobalSecurity.org).

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                                                                        • Kingston, Paul W. T., and Ian S. Spears, eds. States-within-States: Incipient Political Entities in the Post-Cold War Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

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                                                                          A novel examination of the political formations created by insurgent organizations in the face of state withdrawal. Multiple African cases are included in this edited volume.

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                                                                          • Lyons, Tanya. Guns and Guerilla Girls: Women in the Zimbabwean National Liberation Struggle. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2004.

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                                                                            Lyons challenges stereotypes of female participation in liberation struggles that treat women as nurturers arguing instead for a vision of “women as warriors.”

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                                                                            • Singer, P. W. Children at War. New York: Pantheon Books, 2005.

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                                                                              An accessible discussion on the differing techniques of military indoctrination of children, demonstrating how children engage with political violence in numerous ways, voluntarily or involuntarily.

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                                                                              • Weinstein, Jeremy. Inside Rebellion: The Politics of Insurgent Violence. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                Drawing on intensive research on four insurgent groups, including two African cases, Weinstein borrows from Paul Collier’s economic model to develop a compelling explanation of rebel group behavior.

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                                                                                Civilian Experiences and Social Condition of War

                                                                                Scholars have increasingly recognized that civilians are not simply victims of civil wars, but rather play a variety of roles, both fueling and undermining insurgent or government forces. Kriger 1992, Lubkemann 2008, and Nordstrom 2004 provide firsthand accounts of civilian perceptions of violence. Mampilly 2011 provides an examination of insurgent governments and their effects on civilian life. While Humphreys and Weinstein 2006 and Mkandawire 2002 both take up the question of how organizational dynamics determine civilian treatment, they arrive at two vastly different conclusions. The websites of Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group combine activist efforts with powerful and up-to-date analysis of civilian conditions.

                                                                                • Human Rights Watch.

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                                                                                  A leading advocacy organization, Human Rights Watch also hosts on its website an extensive number of original in-depth reports on the conditions of civilians on the ground.

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                                                                                  • Humphreys, Macartan, and Jeremy M. Weinstein. “Handling and Manhandling Civilians in Civil War.” American Political Science Review 100.3 (2006): 429–447.

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                                                                                    Significant for its use of a large dataset of ex-combatants from the war in Sierra Leone, this study provides a close look at the organizational dynamics of an African insurgency.

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                                                                                    • International Crisis Group.

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                                                                                      A network of analysts across Africa provide timely and extensive coverage of most African war zones.

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                                                                                      • Kriger, Norma J. Zimbabwe’s Guerrilla War: Peasant Voices. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

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                                                                                        An extraordinary account of the relationship between rebels and civilians during the civil war in Zimbabwe.

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                                                                                        • Lubkemann, Stephen C. Culture in Chaos: An Anthropology of the Social Condition in War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

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                                                                                          The product of over ten years of study in South Africa and Mozambique, this anthropological study examines the different types of violence in civil wars and why they are utilized in differing circumstances.

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                                                                                          • Mampilly, Zachariah Cherian. Rebel Rulers: Insurgent Governance and Civilian Life during War. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                            Drawing on extensive field work behind rebel lines, Mampilly offers an innovative analysis of insurgent governments and their effects on civilians.

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                                                                                            • Mkandawire, Thandika. “The Terrible Toll of Post-Colonial ‘Rebel Movements’ in Africa: Towards an Explanation of the Violence against the Peasantry.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 40.2 (2002): 181–215.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/S0022278X02003889Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              Mkandawire provides a novel argument regarding the urban bias of African insurgencies that directly challenges the resource model of Collier and others.

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                                                                                              • Nordstrom, Carolyn. Shadows of War: Violence, Power, and International Profiteering in the Twenty-First Century. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                Nordstrom has written extensively about African conflicts. In this work, Nordstrom goes behind rebel lines to examine the economic networks that enable conflict to persist.

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                                                                                                Gender Dimensions

                                                                                                Scholarship on gender encompasses a wide variety of methodological approaches, from feminism and other interpretive methodologies to highly empirical inquiries on the position of women in African societies. The edited volume Turshen and Twagiramariya 1998 brings together multiple voices from affected countries, while Daley 2008, Mansfield 2010, Uchendu 2007, and Utas 2005 each examine a particular conflict, using different approaches.

                                                                                                • Daley, Patricia O. Gender and Genocide in Burundi: The Search for Spaces of Peace in the Great Lakes Region. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                  Daley provides a feminist analysis of violence in Central Africa with a focus on Burundi.

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                                                                                                  • Mansfield, Joanna. Sexual Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: Obstacles to Prosecution. Occasional Papers 13. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Institute for African Development, 2010.

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                                                                                                    Drawing on extensive personal interviews, Mansfield examines the difficulties of prosecuting perpetrators of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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                                                                                                    • Turshen, Meredeth, and Clotilde Twagiramariya, ed. What Women Do in Wartime: Gender and Conflict in Africa. London: Zed Books, 1998.

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                                                                                                      Drawing on contributors from affected countries, this book analyzes the social condition of women in African civil wars.

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                                                                                                      • Uchendu, Egodi. Women and Conflict in Nigerian Civil War. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                        The author provides a detailed account of the ways women participated in the Biafran war.

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                                                                                                        • Utas, Mats. “West-African Warscapes: Victimicy, Girlfriending, Soldiering; Tactic Agency in a Young Woman’s Social Navigation of the Liberian War Zone.” Anthropological Quarterly 78.2 (2005): 403–430.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1353/anq.2005.0032Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          This study looks at the different ways women in Liberia participated in, or were affected by, the war in Angola.

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                                                                                                          Religious Dimensions

                                                                                                          Religious figures and institutions have played varied roles in different conflicts, both sustaining life and fueling war. Longman 2011 and Prunier 2001 provide close examinations of Christian churches and conflicts in central Africa. Tesfai 2010 looks at the broader relationship between religious figures and African war, while Wlodarczyk 2009 provides an analysis of the relationship between magic and violence.

                                                                                                          • Longman, Timothy. Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda. Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                            During the genocide in Rwanda, churches played a disproportionate role in the violence. Longman casts a discerning eye on the political and historic role of the church and its relationship to political violence.

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                                                                                                            • Prunier, Gérard. “The Catholic Church and the Kivu Conflict.” Journal of Religion in Africa 31.2 (2001): 139–162.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1163/157006601X00103Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Prunier provides a micro-level analysis of the convoluted relationship between the Catholic Church, local civilians, and various militant forces in one of the most contentious regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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                                                                                                              • Tesfai, Yacob. Holy Warriors, Infidels, and Peacemakers in Africa. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1057/9780230110120Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Addressing issues of poverty, wealth, and violence in Africa, Tesfai shows how private interests have manipulated the religious and ethnic affiliations of the citizenry, making conflict more violent.

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                                                                                                                • Wlodarczyk, Nathalie. Magic and Warfare: Appearance and Reality in Contemporary African Conflict and Beyond. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

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                                                                                                                  The author explores the role of magic in African warfare, drawing on the case of Sierra Leone. Wlodarczyk argues that magic is an appropriate and logical response to the conditions produced by war.

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                                                                                                                  Humanitarianism

                                                                                                                  The vast humanitarian response to violence in Africa has brought critical and close examination of the nongovernmental organizations and international agencies that seek to ameliorate conditions for affected civilians. Anderson 1999, de Waal 1997, and Uvin 1998 each provide influential accounts of the often disturbing relationship between humanitarian aid and African violence. Hollenbach 2008 and Lischer 2005 look more closely at the relationship between refugees and international organizations.

                                                                                                                  • Anderson, Mary B. Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace—or War. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1999.

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                                                                                                                    This book investigates the repercussions of humanitarian aid, arguing that aid too often reinforces existing fragmentation in African societies.

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                                                                                                                    • de Waal, Alexander. Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa. Oxford: James Currey, 1997.

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                                                                                                                      A seminal documentation of how international humanitarian groups affect the dynamics of conflict in Africa. De Waal argues that relief aid may even have extended the conflict in Biafra. Published in conjunction with African Rights, the International African Institute and Indiana University Press.

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                                                                                                                      • Hollenbach, David. Refugee Rights: Ethics, Advocacy, and Africa. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                        A comprehensive account of the rights of refugees. The book combines first-person narrative, ethical ruminations, and interdisciplinary academic analyzes in productive ways.

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                                                                                                                        • Lischer, Sarah Kenyon. Dangerous Sanctuaries: Refugee Camps, Civil Wars, and the Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                          Lischer assesses the role that refugees can play in spreading conflict by looking at the role of Rwandan refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo alongside other cases.

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                                                                                                                          • Uvin, Peter. Aiding Violence: The Development Enterprise in Rwanda. West Hartford, CT: Kumarian, 1998.

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                                                                                                                            In this influential and controversial study, Uvin explores the disturbing relationship between aid agencies and the genocide in Rwanda.

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                                                                                                                            Biography and Memoir

                                                                                                                            A number of participants and victims of African civil wars have written memoirs about their experiences, providing intriguing insights. Some, like the memoirs drafted by rebel leaders (Garang 1992, Museveni 1997, Ojukwu 1989, and Akol 2009) provide first-person accounts of the decisions made to go to war and the conduct of war itself. Beah 2007, Deng, et al. 2005, Jal 2009, and Scroggins 2002 provide first-person accounts of individuals caught up in the maelstrom of violence.

                                                                                                                            • Akol, Lam. SPLM/SPLA: Inside an African Revolution. 2d ed. Khartoum: Khartoum University Printing, 2009.

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                                                                                                                              A revealing take on the Sudan war by a key leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

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                                                                                                                              • Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                Beah recounts his experience as a child soldier in Sierra Leone, writing in a powerful and accessible manner. The author faced scrutiny regarding the accuracy of his account.

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                                                                                                                                • Deng, Alephonsion, Benson Deng, Benjamin Ajak. They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan. With Judy Bernstein. New York: Public Affairs, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                  Told by two brothers and their cousin, this book details the violence that took place during the Sudanese civil war and their journey from Sudan to the United States.

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                                                                                                                                  • Garang, John. The Call for Democracy in Sudan. 2d ed. London: Kegan Paul International, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                    Written by the late founder of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), this memoir provides insights into the founding and objectives of this long-running insurgent force, poised to make a victorious transition to an independent government.

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                                                                                                                                    • Jal, Emmanuel, and Megan Lloyd Davies. War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story. New York: St. Martin’s, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                      A child soldier in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), Jal was adopted by Emma McCune and has since become an internationally recognized musical artist.

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                                                                                                                                      • Museveni, Yoweri Kaguta. Sowing the Mustard Seed: The Struggle for Freedom and Democracy in Uganda. London: Macmillan Eduation, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                        The autobiography of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, based on his experiences as the leader of the National Resistance Army, which came to power in Uganda in 1986. Museveni, widely hailed for the relative discipline of his forces, provides a clear assessment of his guerrilla strategy.

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                                                                                                                                        • Ojukwu, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu. Because I Am Involved. Ibadan, Nigeria: Spectrum, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                          A defiant memoir by the defeated leader of the Biafran secessionist force.

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                                                                                                                                          • Scroggins, Deborah. Emma’s War. New York: Pantheon, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                            Scroggins’s powerful account of Emma McCune, a British aid worker who married a leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), moving in with him and becoming a spokesperson for his cause before dying tragically in a car accident.

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                                                                                                                                            Conflict Cessation

                                                                                                                                            African wars end in as many ways as they begin: sometimes with an overwhelming victory by government or insurgent forces, but more commonly as the result of third-party mediation. Scholars have made tremendous progress assessing the effects of various third-party interventions into African civil wars, finding merit in some and problems with all. Efforts by international organizations to bring perpetrators to justice have also generated a substantial literature. Scholars have also considered the legacies of civil wars, particularly as societies seek to recover from the trauma of violence.

                                                                                                                                            Third-Party Interventions and Peacekeeping

                                                                                                                                            Africa has been host to the largest number of peacekeeping operations in the world. As a result, a large body of scholarship has been produced, providing in-depth studies of specific interventions as well as comparative works that look at the larger phenomenon. Some interventions have been successful in resolving violent conflict, while many others have failed to achieve their desired outcomes—providing scholars a diverse set of conditions and outcomes to consider. Toft 2010 provides a broad analysis of civil war cessation, while Fortna 2008 looks at the outcome of global peacekeeping operations. Laremont 2002, Lyons and Khadiagala 2008, and Mutwol 2009 examine the phenomenon of third-party interventions in the African context, while Rothchild 1997 and De Maio 2009 focus on interventions into ethnic wars. Adebajo 2002 looks at regional interventions in West Africa. Autesserre 2010 shifts focus to examine the culture of peacebuilding in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

                                                                                                                                            • Adebajo, Adekeye. Building Peace in West Africa: Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                              Focusing on the impact of a regional peacekeeping force, Adebajo’s work is a policy-relevant examination of three separate interventions by Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in West Africa.

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                                                                                                                                              • Autesserre, Séverine. The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                A searing critique of the international peacekeeping effort in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, based on extensive interviews with international diplomats and others involved in peacebuilding in the country.

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                                                                                                                                                • De Maio, Jennifer L. Confronting Ethnic Conflict: The Role of Third Parties in Managing Africa’s Civil Wars. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                  A useful study of the role of external interventions in managing selected ethnic conflicts in Africa, with clear policy recommendations on how to improve such interventions.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Fortna, Virginia Page. Does Peacekeeping Work? Shaping Belligerents’ Choices after Civil War. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                    A comprehensive study of the outcomes of global peacekeeping efforts based on an original dataset compiled by the author.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Laremont, Ricardo René, ed. The Causes of War and the Consequences of Peacekeeping in Africa. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                      An edited volume that explores various peacekeeping initiatives and their successes or failures at maintaining peace. Case studies include Sudan, Somalia, Angola, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Lyons, Terrence, and Gilbert M. Khadiagala, eds. Conflict Management and African Politics: Ripeness, Bargaining, and Mediation. London: Routledge, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                        Contributors to this volume analyze various strategies of conflict resolution in relation to multiple recent and contemporary African conflicts.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Mutwol, Julius. Peace Agreements and Civil Wars in Africa: Insurgent Motivations, State Responses, and Third-Party Peacemaking in Liberia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                          A comparative study that examines why peace agreements are signed in certain conflict situations, and why implementing peace agreements sometimes does not lead to the end of conflict.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Rothchild, Donald S. Managing Ethnic Conflict in Africa: Pressures and Incentives for Cooperation. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                            By juxtaposing multiple attempts at conflict resolution in various Africa nations, a longtime Africa observer analyzes commonalities between different ethnic conflicts.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Toft, Monica Duffy. Securing the Peace: The Durable Settlement of Civil Wars. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                              Toft proposes a new approach to conflict resolution by demonstrating that the key elements necessary to achieve a prolonged peace primarily concern the security sector instead of the military, as is often assumed.

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                                                                                                                                                              International Justice

                                                                                                                                                              The 2000s witnessed a dramatic increase in transnational efforts to bring perpetrators of war crimes to justice. With the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002, Africa became the major testing ground for these new global institutions. Mutua 2002 questions the very basis of human rights, while Branch 2011 and Mamdani 2009 critique the focus and structure of the ICC. Peskin 2008 provides an account of previous efforts to establish mechanisms of international justice, and contributors to Black and Williams 2009 situate these debates within the international relations literature. Global Witness provides regular reports on the trade in natural resources and how it fuels contemporary African conflicts.

                                                                                                                                                              • Black, David R., and Paul D. Williams, eds. The International Politics of Mass Atrocities: The Case of Darfur. London: Routledge, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                The scholars in this volume draw on international relations theory to examine core concepts surrounding the reaction of the international community to mass atrocities.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Branch, Adam. Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Drawing on extensive field work in Northern Uganda, Branch demonstrates how the good intentions of the International Criminal Court were insufficient to prevent it from being manipulated by the Ugandan government.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Global Witness.

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                                                                                                                                                                    An activist organization that seeks to highlight resource exploitation in Africa, Global Witness provides extensively detailed reports and links to other news sources on the subject.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Mamdani, Mahmood. Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror. New York: Pantheon, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                      The value in Mamdani’s book is less the alternate history of Sudan he provides and more his scathing critique of the international dimension of the Darfur war.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Mutua, Makau. Human Rights: A Political and Cultural Critique. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                        A critical examination of human rights discourses that challenges the Western notion of rights and urges a more multicultural approach.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Peskin, Victor A. International Justice in Rwanda and the Balkans: Virtual Trials and the Struggle for State Cooperation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511790584Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          Peskin looks at the performance of international tribunals by casting a close eye on Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Post-Conflict Transitions and Reconstruction

                                                                                                                                                                          Transitioning from war to peace is never a straightforward process. It is always messy, often involving high levels of recidivism to violence. Peace alone is rarely a sufficient condition for resolving long-running disputes unless accompanied by a robust and strategic reconstruction process. For better or worse, Africa has been a laboratory for observing efforts at reconstruction in multiple contexts, providing a considerable literature on the subject. Several of the books below, like Chingono 1996 and Tripp 2000, are single-authored studies of a single case. Wood 2000, Adedeji 1999, and Villa-Vicencio 2009 provide comparative studies of two or more cases. Berdal and Ucko 2009 and de Zeeuw 2008 focus on the reintegration of armed groups after fighting ceases. Contributors to Sikainga and Alidou 2006 look more broadly at the subject of reconstruction.

                                                                                                                                                                          • Adedeji, Adebayo, ed. Comprehending and Mastering African Conflicts: The Search for Sustainable Peace and Good Governance. London: Zed Books, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Adedeji seeks to understand African conflict through comparative and empirical approaches, providing policy-relevant suggestions on how to improve third-party interventions. Published in association with African Centre for Development and Strategic Studies.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Berdal, Mats, and David H. Ucko, eds. Reintegrating Armed Groups after Conflict: Politics, Violence and Transition. London: Routledge, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                              The contributors to this volume scrutinize the process by which armed groups become politically reintegrated after civil wars, often as competitive political parties.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Chingono, Mark. The State, Violence and Development: The Political Economy of War in Mozambique, 1975–1992. Aldershot, UK: Avebury, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                An influential study that examines the relationship between violence and development in the context of the Mozambican civil war.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • de Zeeuw, Jeroen, ed. From Soldiers to Politicians: Transforming Rebel Movements after Civil War. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Contributors examine the process of incorporating former rebel groups into democratic political arrangements. Though focused globally, the volume includes several African case studies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sikainga, Ahmad A., and Ousseina Alidou, eds. Postconflict Reconstruction in Africa. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Sikainga and Alidou bring together contributors to examine reconstruction efforts, including those focused on gender issues, cultural issues, the rehabilitation of child soldiers, and the demobilization of combatants.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Tripp, Aili Mari. Women and Politics in Uganda. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Tripp provides a careful examination of the role women played in the politics of Uganda after the victory of the National Resistance Movement in 1986.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Villa-Vicencio, Charles. Walk with Us and Listen: Political Reconciliation in Africa. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Villa-Vicencio’s work emphasizes reconciliation, compromise, and trust building between combatants over more punitive methods for pursuing justice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Wood, Elisabeth Jean. Forging Democracy from Below: Insurgent Transitions in South Africa and El Salvador. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Wood’s close examination of post-conflict transitions in South African and El Salvador stands as a model of engaged and careful scholarship.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Regions

                                                                                                                                                                                          Though ostensibly domestic in nature, most African civil wars have important regional dynamics. As a result, though no two African conflicts are the same, there are distinctive characteristics that define the nature of conflict within various regions in sub-Saharan Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Central Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                          Central Africa most directly demonstrates the interlinked nature of contemporary African civil wars. Scholars have traced the connections linking the wars in the Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Newbury 1993, Scherrer 2002, Prunier 1997, Strauss 2006, and Mamdani 2001 provide nuanced takes on the Rwandan situation, highlighting different dynamics that led to violence. Reyntjens 2009 and Clark 2002 examine the conflict in the Congo, with particular attention paid to its links to other Central African conflicts. Romkema and Vlassenroot 2002 and Tull 2005 provide on-the-ground portraits of the violence in eastern Congo.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Clark, John, ed. The African Stakes of the Congo War. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1057/9781403982445Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            A collection of analysts provide a uniquely comprehensive take on the regional dynamics fueling the Congolese war.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mamdani, Mahmood. When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Mamdani examines the Rwandan genocide, demonstrating the role that the colonially constructed racial “otherness” of the Tutsi contributed to the ferocity of the violence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Newbury, Catherine. The Cohesion of Oppression: Clientship and Ethnicity in Rwanda 1860–1960. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                In this influential work, Newbury provides an extensive social history of Rwanda that traces the recurring cycles of violence in Rwanda to colonial policies favoring the Tutsi community as agents of the colonial administration at the expense of the majority Hutus. First published 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Prunier, Gérard. The Rwanda Crisis. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  A meticulously researched and documented account of the Rwandan war, produced by a long-term observer of the region. First published 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Reyntjens, Filip. The Great African War: Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996–2006. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511596698Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    A comprehensive account of the regional dimensions of the Congo war by a long-time observer of the region.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Romkema, Hans, and Koen Vlassenroot. “The Emergence of a New Order? Resources and War in Eastern Congo.” Journal of Humanitarian Assistance (October 2002).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Two knowledgeable observers, Romkema and Vlassenroot, look at the politico-economic formations that came into being in eastern Congo as a result of the expropriation of natural resources.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Scherrer, Christian P. Genocide and Crisis in Central Africa: Conflict Roots, Mass Violence, and Regional War. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Scherrer looks at the genocide, war, and conflicts surrounding ethnic identity in Rwanda and Burundi.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Strauss, Scott. The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          A knowledgeable account of the Rwandan genocide that also provides important insights into the study of genocide itself.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Tull, Denis M. The Reconfiguration of Political Order in Africa: A Case Study from North Kivu (DR Congo). Hamburg: Institute for African Affairs, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            An extraordinary study based on the author’s extensive field research within the Congolese war zone.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            East Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                                            East Africa is perhaps the least conflict-torn region in sub-Saharan Africa, but the countries of the region have played multiple roles in the conflicts of neighboring regions. Uganda has faced several severe insurgencies over the past three decades, as documented by Kasfir 2005 and the contributors to Allen and Vlassenroot 2010. Branch 2009 looks at the Mau Mau anticolonial war in Kenya.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Allen, Tim, and Koen Vlassenroot, eds. The Lord’s Resistance Army: Myth and Reality. London: Zed Books, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Contributors consider the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the most authoritative account of the group’s dynamics, from child soldiers to its relationship with the Ugandan government. An interview with reclusive LRA leader Joseph Kony is included, along with other information not widely available.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Branch, Daniel. Defeating Mau Mau, Creating Kenya: Counterinsurgency, Civil War, and Decolonization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Branch investigates the intricacies of the Mau Mau civil war fought during the 1950s and its legacies on modern Kenyan politics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kasfir, Nelson. “Guerrillas and Civilian Participation: The National Resistance Army in Uganda, 1981–1986.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 43.2 (2005): 271–296.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/S0022278X05000832Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A powerful examination of the relationship between the National Resistance Army and the civilians it came into contact with during the war in Uganda.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  West Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A region torn apart by multiple linked wars in the early 1990s, West Africa became the paradigmatic examples of the resource-conflict nexus. The brief yet furious fighting in Liberia and Sierra Leone eventually dragged several other countries into the conflict. Even the region’s economic powerhouse, Ivory Coast, eventually succumbed to warfare. Abdullah 2004 and Gberie 2005 provide intimate accounts of the violence in Sierra Leone, while Olinisakin 2010 looks at the international peacekeeping effort. Huband 1998 and Moran 2006 examine different dimensions regarding the violence in Liberia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Abdullah, Ibrahim, ed. Between Democracy and Terror: The Sierra Leone Civil War. Dakar, Senegal: Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A comprehensive study of the civil war in Sierra Leone; Abdullah seeks to explain the origins of the crisis as well as the multiple peace initiatives.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Gberie, Lansana. A Dirty War in West Africa: The RUF and the Destruction of Sierra Leone. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gberie draws on her experience as a journalist in Sierra Leone to consider the role of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in the conflict, including the allegations of rape and mutilation against the group.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Huband, Mark. The Liberian Civil War. London: F. Cass, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Huband draws from his personal experiences living with fighters in Liberia’s civil war to construct a detailed account of the legacies of violence in the country.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Moran, Mary H. Liberia: The Violence of Democracy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Moran examines issues of democracy and popular participation in Liberia to challenge conventional narratives that treat democracy and violence as antithetical.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Olonisakin, ’Funmi. Peacekeeping in Sierra Leone: The Story of UNAMSIL. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A close study of the UN peacekeeping efforts in Sierra Leone, one of the more successful interventions in the region.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Horn of Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Horn of Africa has been home to several of Africa’s most intractable conflicts. Whether considering the dissolution of the state in Somalia, the prolonged wars in Sudan, or ethnic skirmishes in Ethiopia, the region has been beset with multiple linked crises since the 1980s. Deng 1995, Johnson 2003, James 2007, and Jok 2001 discuss differing dynamics of the war between North and South Sudan. De Waal and Flint 2008 focuses on the history of the Darfur crisis. Menkhaus 2006–2007 provides an introduction to the conflict in Somalia. Takere 2009 looks back at the Ethiopian war, and Pool 2001 focuses on the emergence of Eritrea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Deng, Francis. War of Visions: Conflicts of Identities in the Sudan. Washington, DC: Brooking Institution Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A seminal history of the conflict in Sudan by a longtime participant and close observer of the struggle.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • de Waal, Alexander, and Julie Flint. Darfur: A New History of a Long War. Rev. ed. African Arguments. London: Zed Books, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A comprehensive and accessible history of the Darfur crisis by two longtime Sudan observers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • James, Wendy. War and Survival in Sudan’s Frontierlands: Voices from the Blue Nile. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A thoughtful exposition on the effects of political violence on a specific community in South Sudan. This third volume completes James’s ethnographic study of the Uduk-speaking people.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Johnson, Douglas H. The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A meticulous documentation of the political and historical factors contributing to Sudan’s prolonged crisis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Jok, Jok Madut. War and Slavery in Sudan. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An ethnographic approach to the practice of slavery in Sudan; Jok situates modern-day slavery within its broader historical context.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Menkhaus, Kenneth John. “Governance without Government in Somalia: Spoilers, State Building, and the Politics of Coping.” International Security 31.3 (2006–2007): 74–106.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        An important examination of the rise of nonstate political formations within the boundaries of the former Somali state, Menkhaus’s work challenges assumptions of anarchy in the face of state collapse.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Pool, David. From Guerrillas to Government: The Eritrean People’s Liberation Front. Oxford: James Currey, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pool traces the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) from its involvement in the Ethiopian civil war to its successful yet troubled transformation to ruling party of independent Ethiopia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Rolandsen, Øystein H. Guerrilla Government: Political Changes in the Southern Sudan During the 1990s. Uppsala, Sweden: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Rolandsen provides an analysis of the civilian governance system developed by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Takere, Gebru. The Ethiopian Revolution: War in the Horn of Africa. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Takere’s work is a look back on the Ethiopian civil war. Drawing on archival material and personal interviews, the author provides a comprehensive military history of the war and its lingering impacts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Southern Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Though once a vast battlefield, Southern Africa has been mostly at peace since the convulsions triggered by the end of apartheid in South Africa. Without the apartheid regime fomenting trouble in the region, only Zimbabwe has faced continued civic unrest, though far short of a full civil war. Stedman 1991 provides a positive account of international peacemaking efforts in Zimbabwe. Minter 1994 looks at international support for the insurgencies in Mozambique and Angola during the Cold War. Brittain 1998, Dinerman 2006, and Schafer 2007 look back on different aspects of both wars in Portuguese Southern Africa. Cock 1991 provides a gendered analysis of the South African conflict.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Cock, Jacklyn. Colonels and Cadres: War and Gender in South Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cock provides a gendered analysis of the South African conflict, looking at the experiences of women in both government and insurgent forces, and finding commonality between the two.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Brittain, Victoria. Death of Dignity: Angola’s Civil War. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The author draws from her own experiences in Angola to provide an intimate portrait of the violence that plagued this nation through the 1990s.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Dinerman, Alice. Revolution, Counter-Revolution and Revisionism in Postcolonial Africa: The Case of Mozambique, 1975–1994. London: Routledge, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The author explores core themes in the study of social memory as they relate to post-apartheid South Africa, specifically addressing the relationship between the popular and official national memory discourses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Minter, William. Apartheid’s Contras: An Inquiry into the Roots of War in Angola and Mozambique. Johannesburg, South Africa: Witwatersrand University Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A close examination of the strategies of UNITA and RENAMO, the two primary insurgent forces in Angola and Mozambique.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Schafer, Jessica. Soldiers at Peace: Veterans of the Civil War in Mozambique. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Schafer’s study examines the demobilization of combatants in Mozambique’s civil war by focusing on the lives of veterans.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Stedman, Stephen John. Peacemaking in Civil War: International Mediation in Zimbabwe, 1974–1980. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Using Zimbabwe as a case study, Stedman assesses the impact of international mediation, finding that the efforts contributed to resolving the conflict.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fictional Accounts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          African civil wars have been beautifully and powerfully rendered by fiction writers from the continent and beyond. Adichie 2006 and Akpan 2008 are works by young African novelists who are making their presence felt on the international stage. Farah 2004 is a powerful example of the celebrated Somali novelist’s work. Eggers 2007 is a hybrid novel/memoir based on the life of a Sudanese child soldier. Philip Caputo unleashes his formidable storytelling skills to recount the war in Sudan in his Acts of Faith (Caputo 2005).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Half of a Yellow Sun. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A powerful and disturbing account of the effects of the Nigerian civil war on the lives of a small group of educated Biafrans.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Akpan, Uwem. Say You’re One of Them. New York: Little, Brown, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A disturbing fictionalized account of being a child soldier. Vividly rendered and critically hailed, the book came in for criticism for trafficking in stereotypes of African child soldiers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Caputo, Philip. Acts of Faith. New York: Knopf, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                An extraordinary account of the southern Sudanese war that brings to life all of the different actors involved in vivid detail. Many of the fictional characters are based on real-life participants in the war.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Eggers, Dave. What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng: A Novel. New York: Vintage, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A unique fictionalized account of a true story, based on the life of a former Lost Boy from Sudan who settles in the United States.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Farah, Nuruddin. Links. New York: Riverhead Books, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Farah’s fiction documents Somalia’s descent into chaos and the lingering effects of civil strife on the psyche of Somalis struggling to come to terms with lives in exile.

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