JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "War, Peace, and Conflict Resolution"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2016

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Driessen
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 11:30 AM 12:45 PM
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 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 Adriftcrocker, hampson, aallUSIP978-1601272225 Please send to the Almost Corner Bookstore
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
contemporary conflict resolutionRamsbotham, woodhouse and miallpolity9780745649740  

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 and ABKHAZIA

3)      Conflict Prevention: TIMOR LESTE and PHILLIPINES

Part III: Why do Wars Last?

1)      Interstate Wars: CYPRUS

2)      Ethnic Wars: NIGERIA and IRAQ

3)      Religious Wars: 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: MOZAMBIQUE and EL SALVADOR

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)      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 (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 18

Class 1

Course Introduction

January 20

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?

January 25

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

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

January 27

Class 4

Defining Peace II: Positive Peace vs. Negative Peace

Read Paulo Freire The Pedagogy of the Oppressed chapter 1 : https://libcom.org/files/FreirePedagogyoftheOppressed.pdf

& Martin Luther King Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail


February 1

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?

February 3

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

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


Case Study: SOMALIA

February 8

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 http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/3488799.pdf?acceptTC=true


February 10

Class 8

Greed v. Need v. Creed (2)

Cederman, Weidman and Gleditsch, “Horizontal Inequalities and Ethnonationalist Civil War,” The American Political Science Review (2011): http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/41480853.pdf

Recommended: 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  & R. Scott Appleby (2012) "Religious Violence,” http://practicalmattersjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Appleby-Religious-Violence.pdf

Ramsbotham, ch. 5, “Preventing Violent Conflict”


Part III: Why do Wars Last?

February 15

Class 9

Just War Theory & Conflict Prevention

Reading Reflection 2 due

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

Stares, “The Future of Conflict Prevention,” Chapter 27 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift

Case Study: CYPRUS

February 17

Class 10

Ethnic & Religious 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 &

Monica Toft and Yuri Zhukov, “Islamists and Nationalist: Rebel Motivation and Counterinsurgency in Russia’s North Caucasus,” (2015) American Political Science Review: http://search.proquest.com.jcu.idm.oclc.org/docview/1675033414/fulltext/C6968C44F70F443CPQ/1?accountid=130118


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 and IRAQ

February 22

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


February 26
(Make up for February 24 Cancellation

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) http://search.proquest.com/docview/1626126101?pq-origsite=gscholar

Barnett and Fang, “The U.N. Reviewed its Peacekeeping. It Ignored the 3 Things that Most Needed Change,” The Monkey Cage,( 2015) https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/10/14/the-u-n-reviewed-its-peacekeeping-practices-its-report-ignored-these-3-things-that-most-need-to-change/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_cage

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

February 29

Class 13

Midterm Exam

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

March 2

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


Recommended: Luttwark, “Give War a Chance,”(1999) Foreign Affairs http://www.jstor.org/stable/20049362?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

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, “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 and RWANDA

March 4th

Friday Make-up for April 25th

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 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/26/opinion/with-syria-diplomacy-needs-force.html

 Case Study: CONGO

March 7

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 Pratical Tools for Today’s Extremist States,” Chapters 25 & 26 in in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift

Case Study: IRAN

March 9

Class 17

Diplomacy, Negotiation and other forms of Mediation

Read Hampson and Zartman, “The Tools of Negotiation,” & Crocker, “The Diplomacy of Engagement in Transitional Polities,” Chapter 22 in Managing Conflict in a World Adrift

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

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 14

Class 18

Soft Power

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


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


March 16

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

March 21

Class 20

Exhaustion and low-level violence

Read: Fisher, “Political Science says Syrian War will probably last at least another decade,” Monkey Cage https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/10/23/political-science-says-syrias-civil-war-will-probably-last-at-least-another-decade/

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/


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

Case Study: DARFUR

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

March 23

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) http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/world_politics/v053/53.3varshney.html


April 4

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

April 6

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


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


April 11

Class 24

Reconciliation and Truth Commissions


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



Recommended: Portraits of Reconciliation New York Times Magazine


April 13

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


April 18

Class 26

Other Perspectives from Anthropology and Feminism

Read Douglas P. Fry “Life with War” http://peaceispatriotic.org/articles/PeaceRelatedStructures.18May2012.pdf  & 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

April 20

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,” http://www.mkgandhi.org/amabrothers/chap04.htm



April 27

Class 28

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

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 &

Gleditsch et al., “The Decline of War,” International Studies Review (2013) Read here

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

Reading Reflection 4 due