Recent Course Offerings

Below, the courses provided by the Conflict Resolution Program in the 2016-2017 academic year are listed. Required courses are highlighted with as asterix symbol.

Spring 2017 Courses:

Ethnic Politics and Conflict – GOVT-575, Molly Inman

What is ethnic conflict, why does it exist, what is its relationship to ethnic politics and how can we solve it? Despite decades of research, these questions remain open and will be among those this course addresses. Students will develop a thorough understanding of the existing theories regarding the relationship between ethnic politics and conflict as well as the literature on how to prevent and resolve such conflict. Students will critically evaluate the theories, apply the theories to existing ethnic conflicts and identify gaps in theory and empirical knowledge. The course is divided into three parts: the cannon of theory on ethnicity, group formation and mobilization, causes of ethnic violence and possible solutions; more recent empirical research testing these theories and proposing new ones; and ethnic conflict resolution practices. Molly Inman is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the CR MA program, and her research focuses on ethnic politics and political violence. Her current book project focuses on the incentives that federal systems create for internal ethnic political competition and the effect on violent outcomes. She has worked and conducted research in the former Yugoslavia and Indonesia.

Development Responses to Political Violence – GOVT-589, Daniel Weggeland

Policymakers and practitioners generally accept that a lack of development contributes to political instability and violence, particularly internal conflict. This core belief in the relationship between development and conflict—both as problem and solution—informed U.S. and international actions in the recent Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and remains salient today with the renewed concern over violent extremism. 

This course will leverage the recent large-scale U.S. interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq to explore the theory, practice, and evidence associated with development responses to political violence. Significant development resources have been invested in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and it is true that economic and social development indicators have shown positive trends (albeit often starting from very low baselines). Despite these investments and the demonstrable social and economic development improvements that resulted, both conflicts still show high levels of violence and conflict intensity. Why?

The theme of the course is to seek, with a critical eye, answers to two fundamental questions: (1) what were they [primarily U.S. government agencies and their agents] trying to do with the application of development resources for political outcomes and (2) how does one know if it is working?

Conflict Resolution and Development – GOVT-592, Seniha Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana

It is becoming increasingly evident that violent conflict and underdevelopment mutually reinforces each other. For instance, although there is no direct causal relation between conflict and poverty, poor countries are more at risk of conflict. At the same time violent conflict, its threat, and the build-up of arms in many countries have enormous long-term social, political, and economic costs. Conflicts cause significant damage to physical infrastructure, unemployment, lack of rule of law, and collapse of key social institutions. In order to establish sustainable peace, impact of conflicts in terms of human suffering, economic and social dislocation and wasted developmental opportunities must be addressed and this viscous cycle must be broken. This course focuses on the uncanny relationship between conflict, development and peace building. It takes a multidisciplinary approach, which is essential for grasping the complexity of the development process and introduces a range of concepts, theories and approaches raised in this field. The course also explores various concerns and challenges faced by practitioners working in the fields of peace building and development, as well as policy responses that seek solutions to these concerns and challenges. This course also highlights the importance of protecting and managing natural resources, mobilizing domestic resources, coordinating external assistance, fostering good corporate citizenship, and providing adequate and appropriate infrastructure and services within the context of development and peace building.

Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution – GOVT-590, Kenneth Yalowitz

This course examines why in an age of globalization and instant communication diplomacy remains the essential instrument of foreign policy in preventing and resolving conflict. In a seminar-type format, we will examine questions including: What is diplomacy? What are the principal tools and methods of diplomacy and why is it integral to the practice of statecraft? What are “hard” and “soft” power in diplomacy and how and when are they used? There will be a series of case studies and a concluding diplomatic simulation exercise.

Evaluation and Conflict Resolution – GOVT-595, Seniha Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana

Effective monitoring and evaluation are critical for designing successful development projects, conflict resolution interventions as well as building sustainable peace and avoiding harm in the process. Yet assessing the effects of peace building interventions in volatile contexts can be a challenging endeavor. This course aims to provide an overview of the leading organizational, practical and theoretical approaches to the evaluation of conflict resolution initiatives. The course will approach monitoring and evaluation from a reflective perspective and will introduce theories of change, indicators, monitoring, evaluation design, and various tools for reflective practice. The course will focus on applied research; students will meet with leading practitioners, review evaluation frameworks from development, humanitarian and peace building agencies, and submit case studies of evaluation methodology and practice in the organization or project of their choice. At the end of the course students will have a better understanding of key elements of project design, monitoring, evaluation and challenges thereof.

Civil War – GOVT-576, Molly Inman

The number of active internal wars in any given year has shown an upward trend over the past fifty years while the number of interstate wars has remained relatively low and constant. Additionally, many of these civil wars are recurrences of conflicts that had been previously resolved or subsided. Given the increased prevalence of civil wars and the devastation that they wreak on societies, it is essential that students and practitioners of conflict resolution understand the causes, dynamics and consequences of such conflicts to be able to approach resolving them. The course will be divided roughly into three parts: causes of civil war onset; dynamics, duration, the role of civilians, strategies and tactics of civil wars; and termination through intervention, negotiation, victory and stalemate.

Capstone Course in Conflict Resolution, GOVT-596, Alan Tidwell *

One of the challenges in the field of conflict resolution, given the diversity of theories and practices, is integrating a broad range of ideas, concepts and practices. In addition, as students near the end of the degree they often see things in a new light, with new insights, questions or interests. Finally, the challenge of integrating “theory and practice” often remains elusive. Professionals often grapple with the nexus between theory and practice. The Capstone Course provides students with an opportunity to reflect upon the theory-practice nexus, fill in gaps in previous learning, and develop new insights in conflict resolution. 

As the culmination of enrollment in the Conflict Resolution Masters Degree, the Capstone Course provides students with an opportunity to both reflect upon what they have learned and to integrate their understanding of the field. Students have enrolled in both the core CR courses and taken a wide array of other courses while at Georgetown. The Capstone offers an opportunity to both integrate individual knowledge as well as share knowledge between students. 

The course is designed to encourage both reflection and sharing. Reflection comes both through classroom discussion as well as a student portfolio. The portfolio brings together student coursework into one annotated volume. Sharing, like reflection, comes from classroom discussion as well as through student presentations. The presentations can be thought of as the learning ‘highlights’ drawn from enrollment in the CR program and applied to a current conflict. Of course, students should through the process of reflection and sharing come to identify areas where further development may be desired.

Applied Negotiations – MGMT-671, Kevin Welber *

This course will focus on helping you to become a better negotiator by deepening your understanding of the bargaining process and by learning more sophisticated techniques for creating mutual gain. On a more personal level, you can explore which negotiation style works best for you and try to overcome what is, for many, a basic discomfort with the interpersonal aspects of negotiating. Because negotiation involves multiple intellectual disciplines, this module will incorporate elements of economics, psychology, sociology, game theory and law. 

Ultimately, however, negotiation is not an abstract field but a tangible skill and, like all skills, proficiency requires repeated practice. Since negotiation is best learned by actually negotiating, simulations will take up a majority of class time. Each negotiation will be deconstructed, giving you a unique opportunity to find out what the other party was thinking. Further, because you will all be doing the same negotiation in parallel groups of two or more, you will have an opportunity to see how other classmates approached the same situation.

Indigenous People, Conflict and Resiliance – ANTH-387, Marjorie Balzer and Bette Jacobs

What is indigeneity? How can we better understand the suffering, survival and resilience behind indigenous peoples’ struggles to be heard? The course is designed to enhance student understanding of multi-disciplinary, practical, ethical and human rights synergies that come together under the rubric of indigenous studies. While focus is on First Nations of the Americas and Asia, students are welcome to choose their own cases for special projects. Each student research project has an “experiential learning” or field dimension component with interviews and active participation in a chosen location – possibly integrating internships. Creative, generative ideas for these come from you working with us. 

Featured course themes build on each other, including: 1. Historical Background – 2. Identity Debates — 3. Education and Religion as critical sites of tension –4. Medical implications – 5. Ecology and struggles over sacred land and water– 6. Legal Rights and standards– 7. Sovereignty issues — 8. Cultural expression and revitalization – 9. Transcending Violence. 

The class is open to undergraduates in Anthropology and SFS, as well as to MA students of the Conflict Resolution studies program. Students from numerous schools, departments and centers are welcome, with no prerequisites, just enthusiasm. Law school students are encouraged, as are students interested in Georgetown’s Diversity initiatives, the Doyle program, and the innovative Global Future(s) initiative.

Conflict Resolution Policy – GOVT-591, Molly Inman

What is conflict resolution policy? How do approaches to CR vary depending on the actors and context? How is conflict resolution policy made and who has influence over it? How can we improve it? These are just some of the questions this course in conflict resolution policy will address. We will read both academic and applied CR policy texts and interact with those involved in crafting CR policy both in the USG and international community. Assignments are oriented to practical, policy-based writings and activities. Molly Inman is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the CR MA program, and her research focuses on ethnic politics and political violence. She has experience in both academia and the policy worlds.

Multiculturalism, Democracy, and Intergroup Relations – PSYC-498, Fathali Moghaddam *

This seminar involves a critical examination and integration of three areas of psychological research and their policy implications in national and international context. The research areas concern, first, intergroup relations; second, perceived distributive, interactional and procedural justice; third, changing trends in cultural and linguistic diversity. A central theme in discussions concerns the psychological conditions for democracy and meritocracy.

Fall 2016 Courses:

Corruption, Conflict, and Security – GOVT-577, Frank Vogl

This course seeks to enhance understanding of the manifold connections between corruption, conflict and security, as well as considering diverse approaches to reducing corruption. Central to this course are examinations of the serious risks to international stability and economic progress posed today by corruption in politics, the public and private business sectors – as a contributing cause of civil wars and international conflicts, human insecurity and economic dislocation. At the same time, this course will highlight recent and current research and actions by governments, business and civil society that to a greater extent than ever before are seeking to understand the challenges of corruption and to find pragmatic ways to turn the tide toward transparent and accountable government.

Conflict Resolution: Former USSR  – GOVT 578, Kenneth Yalowitz

The USSR broke up in December, 1991 in a largely peaceful fashion. An important exception was the South Caucasus where the three states, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, experienced  ethno-territorial conflicts which have defied solution and retarded political and economic progress. Moldova experienced a similar pattern.  Georgia and Russia fought a brief but politically significant war in 2008 and more recently, Russia has annexed Crimea from Ukraine and supported a strong separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine. The course will examine why the USSR broke up, what contributed to peaceful resolution of most issues among the successor states and why conflict developed in the South Caucasus, Moldova and later Ukraine. Readings on conflict resolution will be included.  Case studies will include the Nagorno-Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the separatist wars of Georgia with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the 2008 Georgian-Russian war, Moldova and the current Ukraine conflict. The course will conclude with a simulation exercise in which the class will be given a hypothetical, but realistic, potential conflict situation in the South Caucasus and then asked to resolve the problem before the outbreak of hostilities.

The course aims to provide students with in-depth knowledge of these conflicts and to apply CR theory and methods to see what is most useful and practical in the former USSR. The simulation exercise will seek to develop skills in negotiation, teamwork, and diplomatic writing style.

Research Design & Conflict Resolution – GOVT 579, Molly Inman *

The ability to design sound and methodologically rigorous research is essential to answering questions in the conflict resolution field and to evaluating the research of others. This course will give students a strong foundation in research design skills to be able to apply in a number of different contexts including academic research, policy research, proposal writing and report writing. Students will also learn about the variety of methods available to researchers and how to choose the ones most appropriate for testing their theories and hypotheses. Additionally, students will learn how to evaluate critically the research design and methods used in the research of others.

Conflict Resolution Theory – GOVT 580, Seniha Ayse Orellana*

This course will explore “Peace” and “Conflict Resolution”; what they mean for different people and different approaches to “resolving conflicts” and establishing a “peaceful” world. The objective of the course is to provide a broad understanding of central peace and conflict resolution theories including positivist theories such as realist conflict resolution theory, liberal peace theory, and human needs theory and post-positivist theories including critical theories, poststructural theories of peace and conflict resolution. Course will explore ontological, epistemological and methodological differences between these theories and discuss how each theory defines the core concepts of the field such as “conflict”, “violence”, “peace”, “power”, among others; explains sources of conflict and violence; and how each theory envisions resolution of conflicts and requirements of establishing peace. The course will also look at the practical application of these theories in real-life contexts and discuss strengths and limitations of each theory.

Intro to Conflict Resolution Skills – GOVT 581, Alan Tidwell *

In order to pursue a career in conflict resolution, whether as a researcher, scholar or practitioner, a strong foundation in conflict resolution skills and processes such as conflict analysis and assessment, communication, cross-cultural facilitation, and dialogue are necessary. The course focuses on practical and experiential learning through exercises, simulations, films, case studies, discussions and interaction with experts in the field. Since many individuals pursuing careers in conflict resolution will find employment in diverse roles in related sectors, this course will also address how mainstream and market conflict resolution expertise.

Transitional Justice: Trials, Purges and Truth Commissions – GOVT 587, Charles Villa-Vicencio

This course considers mechanisms of transitional justice in different historical and political contexts. These range from the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials in the 1940s, to the supra-national criminal tribunals of Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well as the emergence and proliferation of truth commissions in different situations of conflict. Attention is given to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission as an example of what truth commissions can and cannot achieve.

Criminal Law/Conflict Resolution – GOVT 588, Brian Kritz

Within criminal law, there are three major players in the search for conflict resolution: victims, witness, and defendants. This course will consist of a combination of theoretical and hands-on clinical explorations of domestic and international justice systems from the perspective of these three groups, with the goal of better understanding how criminal court processes impact the resolution of conflict. Included in the course will be meetings with and interviews of victims of crime and survivors of genocide and other mass atrocities, as well as discussions with and about the professional players in the criminal justice system, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and law enforcement members. The course will include a visit to D.C. Superior Court to view a criminal trial, and culminates in a mock trial where students will portray criminal prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges engaged in the search for truth and justice.

Militias and Rebel Groups:Africa – GOVT 594, Charles Villa-Vicencio

This course gives attention to the identity of al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, Boko Haram in North-eastern Nigeria, al-Shabaab in Somalia, the Mulathameen Brigade (the “Masked Ones”) in Algeria, Ansar al-Dine in Mali, Séléka in the Central African Republic and Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia.

* Required course

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