Teaching Demographic Security: Jennifer Sciubba on Explaining Population’s Conflict Links to UndergradsOctober 7, 2009 By Wilson Center Staff
For students, looking at national security through the lens of demography can be challenging and frustrating, says Jennifer Dabbs Sciubba, a Mellon Environmental Fellow and professor at Rhodes College. “You really have to start at the beginning and explain the fundamentals of, ‘What is population in the first place?’” she told ECSP Director Geoff Dabelko of her undergraduate courses on population-environment and population-security connections.However, Sciubba says her students seem equally interested in the courses’ demographic themes, including migration, youth, the demographic dividend, ageing, and urbanization. To her surprise, one of the most popular topics was population age structure.
Military audiences are quicker to understand the connections between population, peace, and conflict, says Sciubba. “You can assume a level of knowledge about demography that the undergraduates have not had,” she explains.