Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsHello. I'm Mike Spagat from Royal Holloway University of London. If I walk a mere 415 steps from my house, there's a memorial to people from my village who died during World War I and World War II. It mainly just lists their names. There are similar monuments all over the UK and indeed around the world. Some of these are names carved in stone. Some of them are electronic on computers. Why are they there? Why do such memorials so often take the form of a list of names? What can we learn from these records? These are some of the questions we'll be addressing together in this course.
Skip to 0 minutes and 47 secondsWe also see some big newspaper headlines or headlines online-- 1 million people killed in Iraq, 5.4 million dead in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Two decades ago headlines blared that 100,000 men were unaccounted for in Kosovo, probably dead. Later, this number was quietly revised downward to around 13,500. This last figure turns out to be one of the most solid war death figures we have. But where do these numbers actually come from? How are they derived? Are they reliable? What are their weaknesses? How can we separate fact from fiction? These are also the kinds of questions we'll ask in the course. We'll develop knowledge of the evidence on war deaths from a few relatively recent wars.
Skip to 1 minute and 44 secondsBut more importantly, we'll develop a basis for understanding how such numbers are generated. By the end of the course you'll be a sophisticated and critical consumer of war death information. I'm looking forward to working with you. See you soon.