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COURSE NAME: "War, Peace, and Conflict Resolution"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2015

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Driessen
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 3:00PM 4:15PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: PL 209; Recommended PL 223



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 that 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
Approaches to Peace: A reader. 3rd edDavid BarashOxford University Press9780199949151  
Contemporary Conflict ResolutionOliver RamsbothamPolity9780745649740  
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided SocietiesJohn Paul LederachUnited States Institute of Peace978-1878379733  
Leashing the Dogs of WarChester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, Pamela R. AallUnited States Institute of Peace978-1-929223-96-1   

Midterm 25%
Final ExamTake Home Exam (10 pages)25%
Assignments(4)2-page Reading Reflections are required following sections I, II, IV and V 25%
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)      Creed, Need and Greed: CHECHNYA

3)      Conflict Prevention: RWANDA


Part III: Why do Wars Last?

1)      Interstate Wars: CYPRUS

2)      Ethnic Wars: NIGERIA

3)      Religious Wars: IRAQ

4)      Peacekeeping in Wartime: BOSNIA


Part IV: How do Wars End?

1)      Humanitarian Military Interventions: KOSOVO

2)      UN PeaceEnforcing: CONGO

3)      Sanctions: IRAN

4)      Negotiations: MOZAMBIQUE

5)      Soft Power: OSLO ACCORDS

6)      Non-Violence: MYANMAR

7)      Exhaustion: DARFUR


Part V: How do you recreate Peace?

1)      Post Conflict Reconstruction: NORTHERN IRELAND

2)      War Tribunals: SIERRA LEONE

3)      Democracy Building: CHILE

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 (Please note that this is not the final syllabus. A finalized schedule of readings, assignments and office hours will be distributed to students at the beginning of the semester).


January 19

Class 1

Course Introduction

January 21

Class 2

Methods and Sources: What is Peace Studies? Where did it come from?

Read Ramsbotham ch. 2, “Conflict Resolution: Origins, Foundations and Development of the Field”

Part I: What is War? What is Peace?

January 26

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) http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu/pdfs/A0021.pdf

January 28

Class 4

Defining Peace II: Positive Peace vs. Negative Peace

Read Paulo Freire The Pedagogy of the Oppressed & Martin Luther King Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail (Barash ch. 4)

February 2

Class 5

Defining Peace III: Numbers & Typologies

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

Part II: Why Do Wars Begin?

February 4

Class 6

On institutions, imbalances and failed states

Reading Reflection 1 due

Read Jack Levy, “International Sources of Interstate and Intrastate Violence” (2007)  http://fas-polisci.rutgers.edu/levy/2007%20USIP%20review%20essay.pdf [Leashing the Dogs]

& Robert Rotberg, “When States Fail: Causes and Consequences,” (2003) http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s7666.pdf


James Fearon and David Laitin, “Ethnicity, Insurgency and Civil War” American Political Science Review (97) 1. 2003: http://iis-db.stanford.edu/pubs/21459/fearlait.pdf

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


Case Study: SOMALIA


February 9

Class 7

Greed v. Need v. Creed

Read  Collier et al. “Beyond Greed and Grievance,” http://economics.ouls.ox.ac.uk/13630/1/uuidcb923804-9624-4346-977b-00cd2c1db83e-ATTACHMENT01.pdf [Leashing the Dogs]

Recommended: William I. Zartman, “Ethnic Politics: Mediating Conflicts of Need, Greed and Creed,”  http://archives.cerium.ca/IMG/pdf/Zartman_Mediating_Conflicts_of_Need_Greed_and_Creed-2.pdf [Leashing the Dogs]

Case Study:  CHECHNYA

February 11

Class 8

Just War Theory & Conflict Prevention

Read Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, (1977) excerpts from ch.s 4, 5 & 6: http://philosophyfaculty.ucsd.edu/faculty/rarneson/Courses/Walzerchapter4.pdf

Ramsbotham, ch. 5, “Preventing Violent Conflict”

Case Study: RWANDA 1994

Part III: Why do Wars Last?

February 16

Class 9

Inter-state Wars

Reading Reflection 2 due

 Read Sarkees et al, “Inter-state, Intra-State and Extra-State Wars” http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/71639/1468-2478.4701003.pdf [Leashing the Dogs]

Case Study: CYPRUS

February 18

Class 10

Ethnic Wars

Read Fearon  (2004) “Why do some Civil Wars last so much longer than others?” Journal of Peace Research http://www.uky.edu/~clthyn2/PS439G/readings/fearon_2004.pdf

The Economist, “How to stop fighting, Sometimes,” http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21589431-bringing-end-conflicts-within-states-vexatious-history-provides-guide

Recommended: Wimmer, Cederman and Min (2009), “Ethnic Politics and Armed Conflict,” American Sociological Review http://www.jstor.org/stable/27736063?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

William Easterly, “Can Institutions Solve Ethnic Conflicts” (2001) Economic Development and Cultural Change http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/452521.pdf?acceptTC=true

Case Study: NIGERIA

February 23

Class 11

Religious Wars

Read Monica Toft, “Religion, Civil War and International Order” (2006) http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/toft_2006_03_updated_web.pdf

Case Study: IRAQ

February 25

Class 12

On the dilemmas of International Peacekeeping

Read Ramsbotham ch. 6, “Containing Violent Conflict: Peacekeeping”

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

March 2

Class 13

Midterm Exam

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

March 4

Class 14

Victory, Force, and Humanitarian Military Interventions

Read O’Hanlon and Singer, “The Humanitarian Transformation: Expanding Global Intervention Capacity,” http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/articles/2004/3/spring%20humanrights%20ohanlon/20040304.pdf [Leashing the Dogs]

Recommended: Roy Licklider, “The Consequences of Negotiated Settlements in Civil Wars,” American Political Science Review (1995) http://www.jstor.org/stable/2082982?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

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


Joshua Goldstein, Winning the War on War (2011) ch. 1

http://www.winningthewaronwar.com/winch1.pdf & “Humanitarian Intervention Comes of Age,” Foreign Affairs http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136502/jon-western-and-joshua-s-goldstein/humanitarian-intervention-comes-of-age

Case Study: KOSOVO

March 9

Class 15

International Institutions and PeaceEnforcing

Read Mingst and Karns, “The United Nations and Conflict Management,” in Crocker et al. Leashing the Dogs of War ch.s 28

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


Recommended: Ramsbotham ch. 7 “Ending Violent Conflict” pp-s 177-188

Michael Ignatieff, “With Syria Diplomacy Needs Force,” New York Times, Feb. 25th, 2014 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/26/opinion/with-syria-diplomacy-needs-force.html

 Case Study: CONGO

March 11

Class 16

Diplomacy and Sanctions

Read Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, “Economic Sanctions and International Peace and Security,” (Crocker et al. Chapter 19) http://transatlantic.sais-jhu.edu/publications/articles/oudraatsanctions07isa.w.cover.pdf [Leashing the Dogs]

Case Study: IRAN

March 16

Class 17

Negotiations and other forms of Mediation

Read Richard Jackson, “Internal War, International Mediation, and Non-Official Diplomacy,” Journal of Conflict Studies (2005) http://journals.hil.unb.ca/index.php/jcs/article/view/194/338

William Zartman, “The Timing of Peace Initiatives: Hurting Stalemates and Ripe Moments,” The Global Review of Ethnopolitics (2001) http://peacemaker.un.org/sites/peacemaker.un.org/files/TimingofPeaceInitiatives_Zartman2001.pdf


March 18

Class 18


Soft Power

Read Joseph Nye, “Public Diplomacy and Soft Power” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 2008

http://www.jstor.org/stable/25097996?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents [Leashing the Dogs]


“Redefining the National Interest,” Foreign Affairs 1999



March 23

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)


 Thoreau “Civil Disobedience,” & Tolstoy, “Letter to Ernest Howard Crosby,” (Barash, Ch.s 5.1 & 5.2)

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

March 25

Class 20

Exhaustion and low-level violence

Read: Amnesty International “Lebanon/Israel: Out of all proportion, Civilians bear the brunt of Civil War” ch.s 1 & 4-6 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/21_11_06_amnesty.pdf

Patrick Cockburn, “Will Exhaustion end the Syrian Civil War,” (2014) Counterpunch http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/09/will-exhaustion-end-the-syrian-civil-war/

Case Study: DARFUR

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

March 30

Class 21

Post-conflict Reconstruction

Reading Reflection 3 due

Read Ramsbotham chapter 8, “Postwar Reconstruction”

Recommended: Arutosh Varshney, “Ethnic Conflict and Civil Society: India and Beyond,” World Politics (2001) http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/world_politics/v053/53.3varshney.html


April 1

Class 22

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 http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/3558953.pdf


April 13

Class 23

Democracy and the Rule of Law

Read Marina Ottaway, “Is Democracy the Answer?” (Crocker et al. ch.s 32) http://www.boell.de/sites/default/files/assets/boell.de/images/download_de/demokratie/Is_democracy_the_answer_Ottaway_en.pdf [Leashing the Dogs]

Case Study: CHILE

April 15

Class 24

Reconciliation and Truth Commissions

Read Desmond Tutu, “No Future without Forgiveness,” (Barash ch. 6)

James Gibson, (2006) “The Contributions of Truth to Reconciliation: Lessons from South Africa,” Journal of Conflict Resolution  http://www.arts.yorku.ca/politics/ncanefe/courses/pols4255/pdf/Week%209%20Gibson.pdf

"Can an Evil Man Change? The Repentence of Eugene de Kock" Antjie Krog, New York Times March 15th, 2015 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/14/opinion/sunday/the-repentance-of-eugene-de-kock-apartheid-assassin.html?ref=world

Portraits of Reconciliation New York Times Magazine http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/04/06/magazine/06-pieter-hugo-rwanda-portraits.html?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=MG_POR_20140404&bicmp=AD&bicmlukp=WT.mc_id&bicmst=1388552400000&bicmet=1420088400000&_r=4


April 20

Class 25

Comprehensive Peacebuilding

Read Hampson and Mendeloff, “Intervention and the Nation-Building Debate,” & Richard Falk, “Humane Governance” (Barash ch. 6)


April 22

Class 26

How to end all wars & other strategies for reforming the international system

Read Douglas P. Fry “Life without War” & David Barash, “World Governmentt?” (Barash ch. 2)

Case Study: CAMBODIA 

April 27

Class 27

What would Gandhi have to say about that?

Read M.K. Gandhi, “The Gospel of Non-violence” http://www.mkgandhi.org/nonviolence/phil1.htm

&  “Ahimsa, or the Way of Nonviolence,” in Barash Ch. 5


April 29

Class 28

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

Ramsbotham ch. 20 “Conflict Resolution and the Future,”

Reading Reflection 4 due






Final Exam