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COURSE NAME: "War, Peace, and Conflict Resolution"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Driessen
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 1:30-2:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: PL 209; Recommended PL 223
OFFICE HOURS: MW 3-4pm and by appointment

This course is an introduction to the study of War, Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies. The course will draw on classical and contemporary global political theory and introduce students to the methods, cases, data, and major theoretical debates that structure the study of war and peace in global politics.

The course is divided into five major sections designed to accompany students to the major phases of armed conflicts. During each section, the student will be introduced to the major scholars, practitioners, ideas and theoretical works which have attempted to respond to them. The first sections begins with an introduction to the various approaches to war and peace in the political science tradition and defines various ways of both understanding and measuring political conflict and peace. The second section considers why wars begin and whether global politics offers any suggestions to preventing armed conflicts. The third section explores why wars last, and what factors, including religious, ethnic, institutional and economic vulnerabilities, impact the length and intensity of wars. The fourth section asks what practitioners and political scientists can teach us about ending wars, including through the use of force, negotiation, education, consciousness-raising, international institutions, non-governmental and religious groups, exhaustion and peace-enforcing. The final section explores strategies to recreate peace, including truth and reconciliation processes, war tribunals and post-conflict reconstruction.


My pedagogical hope is that students will finish this course able to understand the major causes and consequences of war and how states, international institutions, communities and students themselves might do more or do things more effectively to prevent and resolve conflicts in the future. The course also aims to introduce students to the rich methodological and statistical opus produced by peace scholars over the last fifty years and their various strategies to objectively measure and analyze the roots of global conflicts.


Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Managing Conflict in a World AdriftChester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, Pamela R. AallUnited States Institute of Peace978-1601272225  
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Contemporary Conflict ResolutionOliver Ramsbotham.Polity 978-0-7456-8721-6  
Approaches to Peace: A reader. David BarashOxford978-0199949151  

Midterm 25%
Final Exam 30%
Assignments(4)2-page Reading Reflections are required following sections I, II, IV and V 20%
ParticipationAttendance and Presence of Mind are mandatory for this class. The goal here is to advance towards the art of asking good questions. Quality, not quantity of participation is what counts, although some quantity is better than no quality. Students will be allowed 2 unexcused absences. Each unexcused absence thereafter will result in the lowering of the attendance grade by 1/3rd a letter grade. More than 12 unexcused absences will result in a failure to pass the course.10%
Conflict Mapping Case StudyEach Student will be assigned to write a 7 pg Conflict Mapping Report following Ramsbotham et al. pg. 89-90 and present it to the class 15%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Course Outline:

Part I: What is War? What is Peace?

1)      International Relations Theories

2)      Positive Peace & Negative Peace

3)      Numbers

Part II: Why Do Wars Begin?


1)      Failed States: SOMALIA

2)      Greed and Greivance 1: CHECHNYA and ABKHAZIA

3)      Greed and Greivance 2: TIMOR LESTE and PHILLIPINES

Part III: Why do Wars Last?

1)      Ethnic Wars: NIGERIA and CYPRUS

2)      Religious Wars: IRAQ

3)      Environmental and Criminal Conflicts: MEXICO and COLOMBIA

4)      Peacekeeping in Wartime: BOSNIA

Part IV: How do Wars End?

1)      Humanitarian Military Interventions: KOSOVO and RWANDA

2)      UN PeaceEnforcing: CONGO

3)      Sanctions: IRAN

4)      Negotiations and Diplomacy: OSLO ACCORDS

5)      Soft Power and Other Forms of Negotiation: MOZAMBIQUE and EL SALVADOR

6)      Non-Violence and Just Peace: MYANMAR

7)      Exhaustion: DARFUR

Part V: How do you recreate Peace?

1)      Post Conflict Reconstruction: NORTHERN IRELAND

2)      Democracy Building: CHILE

3)      War Tribunals: SIERRA LEONE

4)      Reconciliation and Truth Commissions: SOUTH AFRICA

5)      Comprehensive Peacebuilding: AFGHANISTAN

6)      Can we end all wars? CAMBODIA

7)      Conclusions and getting back to Gandhi: ARGENTINA



Course Calendar


August 28


Class 1


Course Introduction


August 30


Class 2


Origins and Contemporary Issues of Conflict Resolution

Read Crocker, Hampson and Aall, “The Center Cannot Hold: Conflict Management in an Era of Diffusion,” Chapter 1 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift


Part I: What is War? What is Peace?


September 4


Class 3


Defining Peace I: War (and its absence) according to Realism, Liberalism and the Constructivists

Read John Mearsheimer, (1994) “The False Promise of International Institutions” International Security 19(3)

Recommended: Gordon and Johnson, “US Power in a G-0 World,” Chapter 3 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift


September 6


Class 4


Defining Peace II: Positive Peace vs. Negative Peace

Read Paulo Freire The Pedagogy of the Oppressed chapter 1  

& Martin Luther King Jr. 

Letter from a Birmingham Jail



September 11


Class 5


Defining Peace III: Numbers & Typologies

Read Welch, “The Shifting Landscape of Conflict Management” Chapter 2 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift

Recommended: Ramsbotham ch. 3: “The Statistics of Deadly Quarrels and the Measurement of Peace”


Part II: Why Do Wars Begin?


September 13


Class 6


On institutions, imbalances and failed states


Reading Reflection 1 due

Read Jack Synder et al., “A Not So Great Awakening: Early Elections, Weak Institutions and the Risk of Violence,” Chapter 11 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift  

Recommended: Michael Mazarr, “The Rise and Fall of the Failed State Paradigm,”  Foreign Affairs (2014)

Case Study: SOMALIA


September 18


Class 7


Greed v. Need v. Creed (1)

Read  Brown and Stewart, “Economic and Political Causes of Conflict: An Overview and Some Policy Consequences,” Chapter 12 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift  

Collier and Hoeffler, “Greed and Grievance in Civil War,” (2004) Oxford University Papers



September 20


Class 8


Greed v. Need v. Creed (2)

Read  Cederman, Weidman and Gleditsch, “Horizontal Inequalities and Ethnonationalist Civil War,The American Political Science Review (2011) read pp.s 478-483 and the conclusions


Recommended: James Fearon and David Laitin, “Ethnicity, Insurgency and Civil WarAmerican Political Science Review (97) 1. 2003

Ramsbotham, ch. 5, “Preventing Violent Conflict”



Part III: Why do Wars Last?


September 22

(Make Up Class for November 1 Holiday)


Class 9


Ethnic Wars

Reading Reflection 2 due

Read  Fearon  (2004) “Why do some Civil Wars last so much longer than others?Journal of Peace Research pp.s 275-284, 285-291

Wimmer, Cederman and Min (2009), “Ethnic Politics and Armed Conflict,” American Sociological Review pp.s 316-328


William Easterly, “Can Institutions Solve Ethnic Conflicts” (2001) Economic Development and Cultural Change

Case Study: NIGERIA and CYPRUS


September 25


Class 10


Religious Wars

Read Monica Toft and Yuri Zhukov, “Islamists and Nationalist: Rebel Motivation and Counterinsurgency in Russia’s North Caucasus,” (2015) American Political Science Review:


R. Scott Appleby (2012) "Religious Violence,”

Case Study: IRAQ


September 27


Class 11


Environmental and Criminal Conflicts

Read Gleditsch “Climate Change, Environmental Stress, and Conflict,” &

 “Crime-War Battlefields,” Chapters 9 and 13 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift



October 2


Class 12


On the dilemmas of International Peacekeeping

Read Hultman, Kathman and Shannon, “Beyond Keeping Peace: United Nations Effectiveness in the Midst of Fighting,” American Political Science Review (2014) pp.s 737-745 & 748-751

Barnett and Fang, “The U.N. Reviewed its Peacekeeping. It Ignored the 3 Things that Most Needed Change,” The Monkey Cage,( 2015)

Recommended: J. Page Fortna, “Does Peacekeeping Keep Peace?” International Intervention and the Duration of Peace after Civil War,” International Studies Quarterly (2004)

Case Study: BOSNIA


October 4


Class 13


Midterm Exam


Part IV: How do Wars End? Are There Strategies to Manage Conflict?


October 9


Class 14


Victory, Force, and Humanitarian Military Interventions

Read O’Hanlon and Singer, “The Humanitarian Transformation: Expanding Global Intervention Capacity,” Brookings Institute (2004)


Luttwak, “Give War a Chance,”(1999) Foreign Affairs

Recommended: Roy Licklider, “The Consequences of Negotiated Settlements in Civil Wars,American Political Science Review (1995)

Alan Kuperman, “Rwanda in Retrospect,” (2000) Foreign Affairs

Joshua Goldstein, “Humanitarian Intervention Comes of Age,” Foreign Affairs

Case Study: KOSOVO and RWANDA


October 11


Class 15


International Institutions and PeaceEnforcing

Read Jones, “The UN Security Council and Crisis Management: Still Central after all these years,” Chapter 18 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift

James Quinlivan, “Force Requirements in Stability Operations,” Parameters  (1995)

Recommended: Ramsbotham ch. 7 “Ending Violent Conflict”&

Michael Ignatieff, “With Syria Diplomacy Needs Force,” New York Times, Feb. 25th, 2014

 Case Study: CONGO


October 16


Class 16


Deterrence and Sanctions

Read Betts, “Deterrence Gone Astray: Choices in Coercion for Conflict Management,” &

O’Hanlon, “Dealing with Proliferation: The Nuclear Abolition Vision versus Practical Tools for Today’s Extremist States,” Chapters 25 & 26 in in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift

Case Study: IRAN


October 18


Class 17


Diplomacy &  Negotiation

Read Aall, “Building Interests, Relationships, and Capacity: Three Roads to Conflict Management,” Chapter 24 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift &

Crocker, “The Diplomacy of Engagement in Transitional Polities,” Chapter 23 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift


Recommended  Hampson and Zartman, “The Tools of Negotiation,” Chapter 22 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift  

William Zartman, “The Timing of Peace Initiatives: Hurting Stalemates and Ripe Moments,The Global Review of Ethnopolitics (2001)




October 23


Class 18


Soft Power and other forms of Mediation

Read  Richard Jackson, “Internal War, International Mediation, and Non-Official Diplomacy,” Journal of Conflict Studies (2005) &

Joseph Nye, “Public Diplomacy and Soft PowerAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 2008



October 25


Class 19


Traditions of non-Violence and Just Peace

Read Stephan and Chenoweth, “Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict,” International Security (2008)

Recommended, Pruitt, (2010) “Creating a Musical Dialogue for Peace,” The International Journal of Peace Studies

Ramsbotham ch. 16 “Conflict Resolution in Art and Popular Culture”

Case Study: MYANMAR


October 30


Class 20


Exhaustion and low-level violence

Read: Fisher, “Political Science says Syrian War will probably last at least another decade,” Monkey Cage

Patrick Cockburn, “Will Exhaustion end the Syrian Civil War,” (2014) Counterpunch


Amnesty International Lebanon/Israel: Out of all proportion, Civilians bear the brunt of Civil War” ch.s 1 & 4-6

Case Study: DARFUR


Part V: How do you (re)Create Peace?


November 6


Class 21


Post-conflict Reconstruction

Reading Reflection 3 due

Read Tschirgi, “Rebuilding War-Torn Societies: A Critical Review of International Approaches,” Chapter 28 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift

Recommended: Arutosh Varshney, “Ethnic Conflict and Civil Society: India and Beyond,World Politics (2001)



November 8


Class 22


Democracy and the Rule of Law

Read Doyle, “Postbellum Peacebuilding: Law, Justice and Democratic Peacebuilding,” Chapters 31 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift

Recommended: Suhrke, “The Long Decade of Statebuilding,” Chapters 32 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift

Case Study: CHILE


November 13


Class 23


War Tribunals

Read Jeremy Sarkin (2001), “The Tension between Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda: Politics, Human Rights, Due Process and the Role of the Gacaca Courts in Dealing with the Genocide” Journal of African Law


Stromseth, “Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice: The Road Ahead” Chapter 33 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift



November 15


Class 24


Reconciliation and Truth Commissions


James Gibson, (2006) “The Contributions of Truth to Reconciliation: Lessons from South Africa,” Journal of Conflict Resolution  


"Can an Evil Man Change? The Repentence of Eugene de Kock" Antjie Krog, New York Times March 15th, 2015


Recommended: Portraits of Reconciliation New York Times Magazine



November 20


Class 25


Post Conflict Norms and the Problem of Sovereignty

Read Williams, “The Changing Normative Environment for Conflict Management,” &

Lake, “Practical Sovereignty and Postconflict Governance,”Chapters 5 & 17 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift



November 22


Class 26


Other Perspectives from Anthropology and Feminism

Read Douglas P. Fry “Life with WarScience (2012) &

Jonge Oudraat and Kuehnast,“Peace and Security in the Twenty-First Century: Understanding the Gendered Nature of Power,” Chapter 21 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift

Case Study: CAMBODIA


November 27


Class 27


What would Gandhi have to say about that?

Read M.K. Gandhi (1960), “The Gospel of Non-violence” &  “Ahimsa




November 29


Class 28


Conclusions: On the future of global peace and what you can do about it

Goldstein, Fortna, Mearsheimer and Levy (2013) “Has Violence Declined in World Politics?” A Debate. Perspectives on Politics

Goldstein link: https://polisci.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/content/pdfs/Publications/Fortna/Journal%20Articles/Goldstein%20symposium%20PoP%202013.pdf

Sagarin, “Learning from the Octopus: What Nature Can Tell Us about Adapting to a Changing World,” Chapter 34 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift


The Economist, “How to stop fighting, Sometimes,” (2015)

Reading Reflection 4 due