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COURSE NAME: "War, Peace, and Conflict Resolution"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Driessen
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 11:30-12:45 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 section 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, as well as what states, international institutions, communities and students, themselves, might do more of, or do 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.


Note: The JCU Library has kindly prepared the following webpage for our course: Link

If you are not familiar with it already, the Library’s Political Science Research Guide is also very helpful: Link



Midterm 25%
Final Exam 30%
Assignments(3)2-3 page Reading Reflections are required following sections I, II, and IV 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 Grievance 1: CHECHNYA and ABKHAZIA

3)      Greed and Grievance 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 and CAMBODIA

6)      Conclusions and getting back to Gandhi: ARGENTINA

Course Calendar

Class 1

Course Introduction

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?

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

Class 4

Defining Peace II: Positive Peace vs. Negative Peace

Read Paulo Freire (1970) The Pedagogy of the Oppressed chapter 1  

Martin Luther King Jr. (1963) Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Class 5

Defining Peace III: Numbers & Typologies

Read Therése Pettersson, Stina Högbladh and Magnus Öberg (2019) “Organized Violence, 1989-2018 and Peace Agreements,” Journal of Peace research 56(4) 589-603


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

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

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

Part II: Why Do Wars Begin?

Class 6

On institutions, imbalances and failed states


Reading Reflection 1 due

Read Halvard Buhaug. 2006. “Relative Capability and Rebel Objective in Civil War,” Journal of Peace Research

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

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 

Case Study: SOMALIA


Class 7

Greed v. Need v. Creed (1)

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

 Lars-Erik Cederman and Manuel Vogt (2017). “Dynamics and Logics of Civil War,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 61(9)



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

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?


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

Class 10

Religious Wars

Read Isak Svensson and Desirée Nilsson (2017) “Disputes over the Divine: Introducing the Religion and Armed Conflict (RELAC) Data, 1975-2015,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 62(5)

Peter Henne (2019) “Terrorism and Religion: An Overview,” Oxford Research Encylopedia, Politics


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,” Practical Matters 5

Case Study: IRAQ

Class 11

Environmental and Criminal Conflicts

Read Theisen, Gleditsch and Buhaug. 2013. “Is Climate Change a Driver of Armed Conflict?Climatic Change 117(3):613-625

Stathis N. Kalyvas. 2015. “How Civil Wars Help Explain Organized Crime- and How They Do Not,” Journal of Conflict Resolution  59(8)


Ore Koren, (2018) “Food Resources and Strategic Conflict,Journal of Peace Research

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

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


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)

Todd Sandler (2017) “International Peacekeeping Operations: Burden Sharing and Effectiveness,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 61(9)

Case Study: BOSNIA

Class 13

Midterm Exam

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

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

Class 15

International Institutions and PeaceEnforcing

Read Bruce Jones. 2016. “The Case for Re-Tooling the UN?s Conflict Management Capacity,” United Nations Challenge Paper

Shawn Robert Woodford (2016) “Manpower and Counterinsurgency,” Small Wars Journal

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

Ramsbotham ch. 7 “Ending Violent Conflict”&

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

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

 Case Study: CONGO



Class 16

Deterrence and Sanctions

Read Richard Betts. 2013. “The Lost Logic of Deterrence,” Foreign Policy

Michael O’Hanlon. 2010. “Is a World Without Nuclear Weapons Really Possible?Brookings Institute.

Case Study: IRAN

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

Class 17

Diplomacy &  Negotiation

Read Daniel Druckman and James A. Wall (2017) “A Treasure Trove of Insights: Sixty Years of JCR Research on Negotiation and Mediation,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 61(9)



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

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)



No Class: Driessen at International Studies Association Conference

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


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


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?

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)


No Class-Easter Monday

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

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

Case Study: CHILE

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

Daniel Druckman and Lynn Wagner (2016) “Justice and Fairness in Negotiation,” Group Decision and Negotiation 26

Geoff Dancy, Hunjoon Kim, and Kric Wiebelhaus-Brahm (2010) “The Turn to Truth: Trends in Truth Commission Experimentation,Journal of Human Rights 9(1)


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

Matthew Osborn, Ben D’Exelle, and Arjan Verschoor (2017) “Truly Reconciled? A Dyadic Analysis of Post-Conflict Social Reintegration in Northern Uganda,Journal of Peace Research 55(1)


April 23

Classes 25-26

Film and Discussion Night: Makeup for March 15 &

Class 27

 Other Perspectives from Anthropology and Feminism

Read  Sara Davies and Jacqui True. 2019. The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Security, chapters 1 & 2

Susanne Schaftenaar (2017) “How (Wo)men Rebel: Exploring the Effect of Gender Equality on Nonviolent nad Armed Conflict Onset,” Journal of Peace Research 64(6)

Recommended: 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


Class 28

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

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