Conflict and Reconciliation in Africa: Rethinking International Intervention and the Nuremberg Model

Course Description


Framed by recent events in South Sudan, Nigeria and Central Africa Republic, this course will introduce students to recent debates among academics, policy-makers and activists on both how we should understand the causes and structural terms of large-scale violence in Africa and on the main contemporary models for reconciliation and transitional justice.  The predominating Nuremberg model of transitional justice—structured around international military intervention and trials based in international criminal courts—will be contrasted with other models, especially the South Africa model, that shift the focus onto the question of how best to effect long lasting political reconciliation for formerly divided communities.  The necessity of a deep understanding of global, regional and local historical and structural contexts will be examined with respect to case studies covering South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Sudan and Darfur, South Sudan, Nigeria and CAR, and as well as comparative discussions on historical violence in Armenia, Nazi Germany, Cambodia, and the former Yugoslavia. Class material will include readings by Hannah Arendt, Adam Branch, Mahmood Mamdani, Thabo Mbeki, Samantha Power, and John Prendergast, as well as the film Hannah Arendt (2013), documentaries (Saving South Sudan), videos of debates, and activist films (Kony2012).



Course Readings


The following books have been ordered at the University Bookstore.  All readings other will be available on-line or posted for you in PDF format on the class Courseworks site:


Adam Branch, Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda, 2013.

Samantha Power, “A Problem from Hell:” America in the Age of Genocide, 2013.



Course Requirements


Grading will be determined according to the following criteria: 


    2 Short Take-Home Exams

        Mid-term exam (35%)

        Final exam (35%)

    Class participation (20%) 

    Full attendance, fully prepared on the readings, and engaged in class discussions. 

    Lead class discussion (10%)

        Each student will sign up to introduce the week’s readings and lead class                 discussion twice during the term.  Introductions should be 5-10 min. and discuss             the reading for that class by reviewing the most important points raised by the                 author and then concluding with a few brief critical comments. The goal will be                 to show you understood the readings and ensure that the rest of us do as well.

        Fully prepared on the readings, and engaged in class discussions. 



Course Policies


Class participation and preparation: Parts of this course will be based on seminar-style discussion on the readings. As such, it will emphasize each student’s active collaboration in class discussions based upon careful and sustained critical attention to the readings. This will put a premium on class preparation, attendance and participation. 


Attendance: Attendance is required. Students, however, may be absent from one class, but absence from any further classes will require the permission of the instructor. 


Plagiarism: For purposes of the Stanford University Honor Code, plagiarism is defined as the use, without giving reasonable and appropriate credit to or acknowledging the author or source, of another person's original work, whether such work is made up of code, formulas, ideas, language, research, strategies, writing or other form(s). If you have questions, please see the Stanford University Plagiarism policy at:




Course Schedule




Part I:  Rethinking the Nuremberg Model for Africa:  International Intervention and Trials



Tuesday, June 24:  Course Introduction:  Rethinking the Nuremberg Legacy for Africa


    Video documentary, “Saving South Sudan”, Robert Young Pelton Dir., 2014.


Thursday, June 26:  The South African Model:  Peace, Inclusion and the Democratic Transition


    Mahmood Mamdani, “The Logic of Nuremberg,” LRB, Nov. 7 2013 (Courseworks).


Tuesday, July 1:  Africa, the African Union and Intervention


    Thabo Mbeki, “Reflections on Peacemaking, State Sovereignty and Democratic    Governance in     Africa.” Dullah Omar Eighth Memorial Lecture, UWC, Feb. 16, 2012 (Courseworks).



Part II:  Case Study I:  Uganda and the Lords Resistance Army (LRA)



Thursday, July 3:  Uganda and the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) 1


    Adam Branch, Displacing Human Rights, Introduction, Ch. 1, 8.


    Film: Kony2012, Jason Russell, Dir. 2012.


Tuesday, July 8:  Uganda and the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) 2


    Branch, Displacing Human Rights, Ch. 2-3.


Thursday, July 10: Uganda and the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) 3


    Branch, Displacing Human Rights, Ch. 4-5.


Tuesday, July 15: Uganda, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) 4


    Branch, Displacing Human Rights, Ch. 6-7.    


Thursday, July 17: Review of Part I for Midterm



******Take-Home MID-TERM EXAM:  Due (by email), Sunday, July 20 at midnight******



Part III:  Nuremberg Model:  The Case for Intl. Intervention and Trials:  Samantha Power 



Tuesday, July 22:  WWI, the Ottoman Empire, and the Armenian Genocide


    Samantha Power, A Problem from Hell: Preface, Ch. 1-2.


Thursday, July 24:  WWII, Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust


    Power, Problem from Hell: Ch. 3-4.


    Film:  Hannah Arendt (Margarethe von Trotta, Director), 2013.


Tuesday, July 29:  Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge


    Power, A Problem from Hell: Ch.  6.


Thursday, July 31:  End of the Cold War and Breakup of Yugoslavia (Bosnia, Srebrenica, Kosovo)


    Power, A Problem from Hell:  9 (optional: 11-12).


    Hannah Arendt on Minorities and the Stateless (selections)


Tuesday, August 5:  Rwanda


    Power, A Problem from Hell: Ch.  10.


    Mamdani, When Victims Become Killers (selections).


Part IV:  Rethinking Nuremberg in Africa:  Case Studies


Thursday, August 7:  Sudan and Darfur


    Reading tba


    Video: Darfur Debate: Mahmood Mamdani and John Prendergast, Columbia U., April 14, 2009.


Tuesday, August 12:  South Sudan


    Mamdani, “The Way Forward for South Sudan, “ Al Jazeera, January 6, 2014.


    Video:  John Prendergast and George Clooney on South Sudan independence.


Thursday, August 14:  Nigeria Central and African Republic


    Reading tba



******Take-Home FINAL EXAM:  Due (by email) Monday, August 18 at midnight ******


  • International Intervention
  • Uganda
  • Nuremberg


University Affiliation: