Fall 2020 Courses

Conflict Resolution Theory, GOVT 580, Professor Desha Girod, 3-credit seminar, Mondays 11AM – 1:30 PM, Car Barn 208

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, post-structural 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.

Applied Negotiations, GOVT 519, Professor Kathleen Coogan, 1.5-credit seminar, Tuesdays 6:30 – 9:00 PM, Car Barn 172

Section 01- September 01 through October 14

Section 02 – October 20 through December 1

Practicum II, GOVT 522, 1.5-credit seminar, Fridays 11 AM -12:15 PM

Human Security, GOVT 509, Professor Katy Collin, Mondays 2:00 – 4:30 PM, Car Barn 170

Human Rights & Conflict Resolution, GOVT 573, Professor Molly Inman, Mondays 5:30 – 8:00 PM, Car Barn 172

Corruption, Conflict & Security, GOVT 577, Professor Frank Vogl, Tuesdays 11 AM – 1:30 PM, ICC 116

Introduction to Conflict Resolution Skills, GOVT 581, Professor Alysson Oakley, Friday 08/28 6 8:30 PM, Sa & Su 09/11&12 10 AM – 4:15 PM, Sa & Su 11/7 – 8 10 AM – 4:15 PM, Car Barn 300

Transitional Justice, GOVT 587, Professor Charles Villa-Vicencio, Wednesdays 11 AM – 1:30 PM, Car Barn suite 110 conference room (via Zoom from South Africa)

Development Responses to Political Violence, GOVT 589, Professor Daniel Weggeland, Wednesdays 6 8:30 PM, Car Barn 309

Africa: Conflict Management Challenge, GOVT 594, Professor Charles Villa-Vicencio, Thursdays 11 AM – 1:30 PM, Car Barn suite 110 conference room (via Zoom from South Africa)

Environment & Conflict Resolution, GOVT 597, Professor William Hall, Thursdays 5 – 7:30 PM, ICC 202

Peace Processes & Post-conflict Latin America, GOVT 599, Professor Michael Reed-Hurtado, Fridays 12:30 – 3 PM, Car Barn 317

Social Movements & Non-violent Resistance, GOVT 617, Professor Chantal Berman, Wednesdays 2 – 4:30 PM, Car Barn 214

Gender & Terrorism, GOVT 513-02, Professor Mehreen Farooq, Mondays 5 – 7:30 PM, ICC 203

Terrorism, GOVT 674, Professor Laia Balcells, Thursdays 1:45 – 4:15 PM

Gender & Security Toolbox, GOVT 536-02, Professor Carla Koppell, Thursdays 5 – 7:30, Walsh 495

Social Entrepreneurship & Social Change, GOVX 508, Professor Craig Zelzer, Sa & Su October 3-4, 10 AM – 4:15 PM, ICC 213

Over the past two decades the field of social entrepreneurship has increasingly grown in scope and impact. This highly practical and interactive skills course will provide students with the core skills and knowledge to understand market-based solutions to addressing complex social challenges. Students will explore the field of social entrepreneurship, the challenges, opportunities and relevance for the complex social, economic and political issues in the 21st century. We will go beyond the trendiness of social entrepreneurship to explore the opportunities, the challenges, and how we can get beyond the worship of innovation to a clearer perspective on the long-hard slog of facilitating change. There will also be substantial discussion of failures (and of course successes) in the field. Students will complete the course with a clear understanding of social entrepreneurship, a wealth of tools, skills and resources to advance one’s work in this area, and ability to navigate its ecosystem (whether starting one’s own initiative or seeking to build a career in this space). Course meets 10:00 am – 4:15 pm on Saturday, 10/3 and Sunday, 10/4 only.

Skills for Fieldwork, GOVX 509, Professor Julie Steiger, Sa & Su, October 24-25, 10 AM – 4:15 PM, ICC 213

Practical Routes to Resolving Conflict: The Middle East, GOVX 514, Professor Mara Rudman, Sa & Su, October 17-18, 10 AM – 4:15 PM, ICC 213

This will be run as a simulation exercise, focused on the role of practical institution building work/efforts between Israelis, Palestinians, and international actors in public and private sectors across key areas that affect peoples’ lives such as — water, energy, and related economic development. Participating students may gain a perspective on the impact on resolving, mitigating, or exacerbating conflict that such work may have, depending on how it is handled. This dynamic should be applicable to other conflict situations.

Everyone will have an assigned role – the instructor will make the assignments at the beginning of the first session. Students will be provided with sufficient background material, and opportunity to absorb it, and briefing in class, to step into roles in real time. Students will be expected to turn in a brief memo (3-4 pages double-spaced), in the voice of assigned roles, as a follow up to the exercise.

Project Design, GOVX 538, Professor Elisabeth Kvitashvili, Saturday, November 14 & Saturday, November 21, 10 AM – 4:15 PM, ICC 213

Facilitation II, GOVX 533, Professor Maria Jessop, Sunday, November 22 & Saturday, November 28, 10 AM – 4:15 PM. Pre-requisite: Facilitation.

The effectiveness of a dialogue process depends much on how well the facilitators and conveners prepare the ground and tailor the process to the particular context, needs and goals of the stakeholders, while remaining adaptable. This course builds on the basic group facilitation skills covered in the Facilitation I course and delves into the skill of process design. Students will analyze different approaches, theories of change, and process options through readings, presentations, and case study discussions. Finally, students will apply process design skills to addressing a particular problem or conflict. (Pre-requisite: GOVX 523-01: Facilitation)

Calendar of Assignments:

November 15:  In preparation for day one of the course, students will be assigned readings and asked to prepare a five to ten-minute presentation.

November 21: In preparation for day two of the course, students will be assigned readings and group work related to designing a facilitated dialogue process to address a particular problem or conflict. 

December 14: Students will submit their revised and completed process designs that they began in class. This will be a five to eight page document. 

Human Security, GOVT 509, Professor Katy Collin, Mondays 2:00 – 4:30 PM, Car Barn 170

This course examines the intersection of traditional security issues–the actions of militaries, state-sanctioned paramilitaries, and foreign policy establishments–with issues that directly concern the wellbeing of communities and individuals. Possible topics include such issue areas as famine, crime, forced migration, human trafficking, environmental change, and sexualized violence, among others. Students will have a chance to engage with the scholarly literature on these topics as well as policy-relevant research and debates touching on these vital areas in countries around the world.

Human Rights & Conflict Resolution, GOVT 573, Professor Molly Inman, Mondays 5:30 – 8:00 PM, Car Barn 172

What is the relationship between human rights, conflict and its resolution?  While there is a general assumption that respect for human rights is a net social good that contributes to the positive peace of the global community, it is also true that greater awareness of human rights norms among repressed populations has also at times led to violent conflict.  This course will explore this tension between human rights and conflict resolution, addressing such topics as group versus individual rights, indigenous rights, religious freedom in secular democracy, post-conflict justice for human rights violations and reconciliation, refugee issues and host nation requirements, property rights and land reform in post-conflict and post-communist societies, and tensions between political, economic and social and environmental rights.  Through exploration of these topics and others, students will develop a critical understand of the tensions between the different approaches the fields of human rights and conflict resolution take and the possibilities for their integration.

Corruption, Conflict & Security, GOVT 577, Professor Frank Vogl, Tuesdays 11 AM – 1:30 PM, ICC 116

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.

This course will therefore cover means of understanding, preventing and responding to corruption within the broad context of conflict and security (geo-political, economic and human security). In sum, the course consists of:

· An introduction to corruption across the world and its relationships to conflict, crime and security.

· Consideration, discussion and case studies of corruption and poverty; corruption and business (notably natural resources, finance, defense); corruption and justice; kleptocracy and money laundering; as well as the anti-corruption roles of civil society and investigative journalism.

· Discussion of existing tools to analyze corruption among different types of countries, differing political systems and economies.

· Assignments that seek to explore policy options and approaches that can build on current understanding and research.

· Review of how to integrate a conflict sensitive approach with traditional security responses.

Introduction to Conflict Resolution Skills, GOVT 581, Professor Alysson Oakley, Friday 08/28 6 8:30 PM, Sa & Su 09/11&12 10 AM – 4:15 PM, Sa & Su 11/7 – 8 10 AM – 4:15 PM, Car Barn 300

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, GOVT 587, Professor Charles Villa-Vicencio, Wednesdays 11 AM – 1:30 PM, Car Barn suite 110 conference room (via Zoom from South Africa)

Transitional justice refers to the processes and mechanisms which enable a state to move from a situation of massive human rights violations and undemocratic rule to the beginning of the rule of law and participatory democracy. Central to this process is the need to ensure both peace and justice in fragile states living at the interregnum between the past and the future. Which comes first – justice or peace? A related question concerns the relationship between justice and reconciliation? What is meant by political reconciliation? How is this distinguishable from personal reconciliation?

Those who prioritize justice argue that the promotion of international law, through mechanisms such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), is imperative to prevent impunity, as an act of deterrence and to provide a basis for the establishment of the rule of law in an emerging new society.

Those who prioritize peace and reconciliation emphasize the need for political and other moral trade-offs that may be required to ensure peace. Under what circumstances, if at all, does this require the suspension of the demands of international law regarding genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes?

Are there situations where restorative and distributive justice should take precedence over the demands of retributive justice? Is it possible to have both?

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.

The International Criminal Court is considered in relation to the challenges of its effectiveness coming from the African Union and other quarters.

Development Responses to Political Violence, GOVT 589, Professor Daniel Weggeland, Wednesdays 6 8:30 PM, Car Barn 309

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?

Africa: Conflict Management Challenge, GOVT 594, Professor Charles Villa-Vicencio, Thursdays 11 AM – 1:30 PM, Car Barn suite 110 conference room (via Zoom from South Africa)

There is a growing restlessness in Africa not seen since the collapse of colonialism. Jihad militancy is a part of this.  This militancy and its impact on the continent and global peace is underestimated by the West, not least because of its preoccupation with Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. 

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. 

These are groups that have emerged from a long history of the ‘Africanization of Islam and the Islamization of Africa’.  Their defining characteristics are typified in a devotion to fundamentalist, apocalyptic religious belief and a commitment to armed struggle. 

Considered against the background of the Africa Renaissance, revitalized by the birth of democracy in South Africa, and the Afro-Arab Spring epitomized in the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, attention is given in the course to the particularities of the groups under review. The impact of the West on African states, including its support for some oppressive regimes against which rebel groups are fighting, is considered.  Attention is also given to the influence of western-based Christian fundamentalist groups operative in some African countries, which need to be understood against a strident Arab perspective on the Christian crusades.  Having endured for 200 years, some see the crusades as continuing in mutated form.  A pause of 800 years is more than a distant memory, if the fight is for the purity of an Islamic world order, within which defeat is not an option. This partly explains what the West interprets as the medievalism of the Islamic State.   These and other reasons for the support of rebel groups in the Islamic world and different parts of Africa are investigated and — viewed from a conflict resolution perspective — questions are asked concerning realistic options (military, political, socio-economic, cultural-religious and theological) for countering the violence and organized terror of extremism in Africa?

Environment & Conflict Resolution, GOVT 597, Professor William Hall, Thursdays 5 – 7:30 PM, ICC 202

Environmental conflict occurs at all levels of society, from local or regional disagreements about watershed management to national debates about managing nuclear waste to international disputes about how to address climate change. Understanding the sources of environmental conflict and adopting effective resolution techniques are critical to achieving an appropriate balance between the natural world and humanity in the 21st century. This course offers students the opportunity to explore the multifaceted relationship between the environment and social conflict from both theoretical and practical perspectives, with an emphasis on the scholarly literature and real-world cases.

Topics we will cover include transboundary water conflict, climate change, environment and war, environment and peace, and international environmental negotiations. Approximately half of the course will be devoted to contemporary environmental conflict resolution (ECR) practice, including situation assessments, public involvement, negotiation, and environmental mediation, and how ECR practitioners assist stakeholders in navigating challenges posed by organizational dynamics, the policy setting, and scientific and technical complexity.

Peace Processes & Post-conflict Latin America, GOVT 599, Professor Michael Reed-Hurtado, Fridays 12:30 – 3 PM, Car Barn 317

At a time when nations are challenged by failing economies, troubling security concerns, extremism, formidable social problems, and strained intergroup relations, youth are not productively engaged in society are often viewed as agents of conflict and instability. However, fostering opportunities for youth to be engaged in preventing and ending conflict, as well as active agents of positive social change is essential for any country seeking to build a more stable future. This class will explore key practical and theoretical foundations for advancing the role of youth in creating peace and building more resilient societies. Students will also receive practical training in designing and implementing youth-led ventures for social change and peacebuilding.

Social Movements & Non-violent Resistance, GOVT 617, Professor Chantal Berman, Wednesdays 2 – 4:30 PM, Car Barn 214

Gender & Terrorism, GOVT 636, Professor Mehreen Farooq, Mondays 5 – 7:30 PM, ICC 203

Gender, Terrorism, & Preventing Violent Extremism 
From women of the Provisional Irish Republican Army to the all-female suicide bombing units of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers, women have played critical roles in terrorist organizations across the globe for decades. Despite their prevalence, the gendered differential approaches to recruitment, processes of radicalization, and the roles that women can play in promoting peace and security is less understood. From theoretical foundations to policy implications, this course will address pressing threats to national and international security with an often-overlooked gender lens. We will explore, from a policymaker and practitioner’s perspective, how violent actors manipulate social, economic, political, ideological, or psychological factors to recruit both men and women. The course will also examine women’s role in stabilization efforts in fragile, or violent extremism affected environments. We will consider toxic masculinity, constructive male engagement, and capacity building measures to strengthen women’s roles in preventing violent extremism.

Terrorism, GOVT 674, Professor Laia Balcells, Thursdays 1:45 – 4:15 PM

In this class, we will study terrorism from a comparative perspective. The goal of the course is to understand the causes, dynamics, and consequences of this type of political violence. We will explore the phenomenon both theoretically and empirically, and through the lens of political economy and political psychology. The course will analyze a number of historical and contemporary cases of domestic (i.e. IRA, ETA, Red Brigades, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram) and international (i.e. Al-Qaeda, ISIS, PLO) terrorism. We will start the semester exploring the causes of the emergence of terrorism around the world, and its relationship with other forms of political violence such as civil wars and non-violent protest. We will study terrorism as a strategy, as well as the characteristics of terrorist organizations. We will analyze the determinants of recruitment into terrorist organizations, considering not only domestic fighters but also foreign fighters. We will look into the emotional and psychological determinants of the onset and prevalence of terrorism. In addition, we will explore the differences between revolutionary terrorism and nationalist terrorism, and we will dig into Jihadist terrorism, the most prominent type of transnational terrorism. We will then study the political and economic impact of terrorism, and we will explore counterterrorism and other forms to combat terrorism. We will finish the semester by looking at non-violent political movements, which contrast with terrorism in their tactics and also in their effectiveness.

Gender & Security Toolbox, GOVT 736, Professor Carla Koppell, Thursdays 5 – 7:30, Walsh 495

Advancing Gender in Security and Development: Skills and Tools 
Many development and peace organizations are now required to have a gender-sensitive approach in order to receive funding from agencies such as USAID, DfiD, and OECD. Graduates who have a robust understanding of these issues may be more desirable applicants for future positions in security, diplomacy, or development both abroad and in the United States. This advanced seminar will teach you concrete skills for ensuring gender is considered in peacebuilding, security, and development fields. The course will explore critical skills – from gender mainstreaming and gender analysis to gender-sensitive budgeting, research, monitoring & evaluation, and advocacy. The course will enable students to capably serve as gender focal points and learn how practitioners have successfully advanced gender in their diplomacy, development, and defense work.

Over the past two decades the field of social entrepreneurship has increasingly grown in scope and impact. This highly practical and interactive skills course will provide students with the core skills and knowledge to understand and implement market-based solutions to addressing complex social challenges. The course will explore how business-based approaches are being integrated with social change and ethical approaches to facilitating change.

Students will explore the field of social entrepreneurship, the challenges and opportunities and relevance for the complex social, economic and political issues in the 21st century. A core part of the course will be students developing a concept for a potential social enterprise initiative, from nuts to bolts including need, context, mapping the existing gaps, competition, a clear revenue plan, etc.

Students will complete the course with a clear understanding of social entrepreneurship, a wealth of tools, skills and resources to advance one’s work in this area, and ability to navigate the ecosystem.