Introduction to International Conflict Resolution
Introduction to International Conflict
Location: TC 215 Rockville Campus
William Primosch, MA
The course provides an introduction to the design, management, theory and analysis of international conflict. It explores the nature of international conflict and the combination of psychological, social, anthropological, political, legal and other strategies (including diplomatic, economic, military and institution-building) that can be used to resolve such conflict.
Assessment levels: EN 101/101A, RD 120. 3 semester hours
Upon completion of the course, students will:
1. Mini-Quizzes on
2. Final Exam
3. Course Paper/Oral Presentation (20%)
4. Class Participation (5% with possibility of
5 bonus points)
January 26-May 4. To obtain credit for the mini-quiz, you must submit to me before each class a short written review identifying four key points in your readings for that class (i.e., at least two-three complete sentences on each key point). If there is more than one reading, the mini-quiz should identify at least one key point in each reading. Late submissions will be penalized. You should submit your mini-quiz on time even if you are unable to attend class. All mini-quizzes must be typed in hard copy or sent by email. Please be sure to include you name, the assignment date and the reading topic(s) on each mini-quiz.
FINAL EXAMINATION: The final exam on May 11 may include multiple choice questions, short Identification answers, and short and medium-length essay questions. It will also include an extra credit question on which you can demonstrate your knowledge of the internal country conflict or international conflict that you have selected to examine in the course.
ORAL PRESENTATION OR ESSAY REQUIREMENT: Students will have the option of either requesting to make an oral presentation on a particular conflict or writing an analytical paper. Five students will have the option, on a first-come first-serve basis, of participating in an oral presentation on a particular conflict. Note that 20 percent of the grade on your report will depend whether you use correct spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and word usage.
· The oral presentation will involve a 40-minute report to the class accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation and a 20-minute period for answering questions from me and your classmates. Students making the oral presentation will also be required to submit a 1 ˝-2 page double-spaced summary of “lessons learned” and a bibliography of sources used in their presentation. Oral presentations will be scheduled on consecutive classes from April 6 through May 4 and must be given on the assigned date.
· Other students will be required to submit a 5-page double-spaced paper on a specific international conflict and a list of sources. At least one full page of your paper should include a discussion of “lessons learned.” The papers are due on April 27. Late submissions will be penalized. Additional information on the oral and written requirements is attached. Note that Wikipedia is not an acceptable source for your bibliography although it may be helpful in providing general background on your topic and specific factual information (e.g., names, dates, etc.).
All students should select their oral presentation or essay topic and clear it with me no later than March 2.
Your attendance is expected at every class. More than one unexcused absence will result in a reduction in your numerical grade. Class participation is an important part of the learning process. The grade for class participation will be based on your active involvement in class discussions and your ability to demonstrate that you have read and reflected on the required readings. Students who consistently participate in class discussions and demonstrate knowledge of the readings will be eligible for up to 5 bonus points on their final course grade.
Grading Scale: A = 90-100
B = 80-89 C = 70-79 D = 60-69
F < 60
Contemporary Conflict Resolution, Oliver Ramsbotham, Tom Woodhouse and Hugh Miall, Polity Press, Malden, Massachusetts, 2005 (reprinted 2006 & 2007), paperback edition
Daily Newspaper: Students are encouraged to read daily the international sections of the New York Times, Financial Times or Washington Post, with a focus on articles related to course subjects and your research topics. Class discussions will draw from current events.
STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Any students with disabilities or any other special needs that are authorized special accommodations should make an appointment to discuss them with me as soon as possible. Please note that you must see the Disability Support Services (Room CB 122) to receive authorization for special accommodations.
If you are a veteran or on active or reserve status and are interested in information regarding opportunities, programs and/or services, please visit the Combat2College website at www.montgomerycollege.edu/combat2colleg/ and/or contact a Veterans Club faculty sponsor on your campus.
will communicate with all students in the class via the
We will use the course website, accessed on MyMC, to post class announcements, study materials (e.g., PowerPoint presentations), course articles and other information of interest. To access the website:
GROUND RULES FOR EXAMS,
PAPERS, ORAL PRESENTATIONS
1. Course papers that are turned in past the deadline will be penalized with a substantial reduction in grade unless there is a compelling reason. All oral presentations must be given on the assigned date.
2. With respect to exams,
there will be no make-up unless there is a legitimate excuse for having missed
3. Neither cheating nor plagiarism will be tolerated. The penalty for cheating is a failing grade for the course. Plagiarism includes copying word-for-word text from other sources to use in your paper and submitting the writing of others as your own. Plagiarism, which most instructors can easily detect, will result in an automatic failing grade for the assignment.
Review of Course Requirements, Format and Grading
Segment 1—Introduction to Conflict Resolution Studies and Basic Concepts
Key issues for discussion: Evolution of international conflict resolution studies in the 20th century, with focus shifting from interstate conflicts to ethnic and civil conflicts within states; goals of “conflict resolution” studies; assumptions and biases of conflict resolution studies; innovations in theoretical tools, including game theory, graduated reciprocation in tension reduction (GRIT) theory, psycho-social analysis and peace movements; overview of contemporary conflict resolution theory, including mediation tools and stages of conflict resolution; and discussion of basic concepts in conflict resolution theory and strategies.
Reading: Chapter 1 “Introduction to Conflict Resolution: Concepts and Definitions” in Contemporary Conflict Resolution, Ramsbotham et al., p. 3-31; and “The Conflict Resolution Field” in Peacemaking in International Conflict: Methods & Techniques, editor, I. William Zartman, p. 34-40 (To be provided)
Segment 2--The Historical Evolution of International Conflict and Current Trends
Key issues for discussion: How international conflict
evolved over the 20th century; the impact of
Segment 3--Strategies for Preventing Conflict
Key issues for discussion: Domestic and international structural causes of conflict; preventive diplomacy and pre-conflict mediation
5 “Preventing Violent Conflict”, p. 106-130 in Contemporary Conflict Resolution, Oliver Ramsbotham et al.; and
Executive Summary of “The UN Secretary
General’s Report on the Prevention of Armed Conflict,”
Segment 4--Tools for Managing Conflicts—Bilateral and Multilateral Diplomacy and Economic Sanctions and Incentives
Key issues for discussion: Examination of how third-party and multilateral diplomacy is used to resolve conflicts; review of other tools used to encourage agreement among parties in conflict, including economic sanctions and incentives.
Reading: “Sanctions and Stability Pacts: The Economic Tools of Peacemaking” by David Cortwright, p. 385-91 and 396-406 in Peacemaking in International Conflict: Methods & Techniques, editor, I. William Zartman (To be provided)
Segment 5--Interstate Conflict
Keys issues for discussion: Causes of inter-state conflict, including territorial
issues and secession; major inter-state conflicts since 1945; consequences of
war; how interstate wars were finally settled
Segment 6--Case Study of Inter-State Conflict and Outcomes—Ethiopia-Eritrea War (1998-2000)
Key issues for discussion: Historical origins of conflict, how the war began, issues in dispute, role of the UN and mediators, and resolution to date
Reading: “Secession and Its Aftermath: Eritrea” by Sandra F. Joireman, p. 176-187 in Managing and Settling Ethnic Conflict, editors Ulrich Schenkener et al. (to be provided)
Segment 7--Ethnic Conflict–Nature and Causes
Key issues for discussion: Causes of ethnic conflicts and types of conflicts that have occurred in recent years
Reading: Chapter 4 “Understanding Contemporary Conflict
(section on “Edward Azar’s Theory of Protracted Social Conflict (
Segment 8—Case Study of War in
Reading: To End a War, Richard Holbrooke, 1998, p. 21-33 and other material (to be provided)
Segment 9--Introduction to Managing/Settling Ethnic Conflict
Key issues for discussion: Overview of range of incentive-based and coercive approaches to managing and settling ethnic conflicts
Segment 10—Positive Approaches to Managing or Settling Ethnic Conflict: Democratic Governance; Power-Sharing and “Consociational” Arrangements; Federalism; and Secession
Case Study of Successful Settlement of Conflict in South Tyrol Region of
Key issues for discussion: Analysis of positive approaches taken to stop ethnic violence and establish a long-term framework for peace and stability, and outcomes.
p. 57-70 in Managing and Settling Ethnic Conflicts Ulrich Schneckener et al (to be provided
Segment 11— Approaches to Managing Ethnic Conflict Based on Controls, Coercion and “Co-optation”
Key issues for discussion: How control policies and “co-optation” can help manage ethnic conflicts and the negative aspects of such policies.
Segment 12—Case Review of Israeli
Policies Toward Ethnic Arabs in
No Class. Spring Recess March 16-21
Segment 12--Psychological, Social and Political Dimensions of Ethnic Conflict and Resolution
Key issues for discussion: Theoretical analysis of how psychological, social and political dynamics affect the nature of ethnic conflicts and prospects for peaceful resolution
Segment 12A—Class Exercise Part
I—Small Group Discussions on New Initiative to Resolve Conflict in Darfur (
Key Issue for discussion: The class will break up into
groups to discuss the conflict in
Segment 14--Principles of International Conflict Mediation
Key issues for discussion:
Requirements for effect mediation of international conflicts, drawing on
the success of the
Reading: Chapter 7 “Ending Violent Conflict: Peacemaking” (section on “Challenge of Ending Violent Conflict”) p. 160-176 in Contemporary Conflict Resolution, Oliver Ramsbotham et al.;: “Northern Ireland: The Good Friday Solution” by Colm McKeogh in New Zealand International Review, 1998 (7 pages); and “Building a Negotiating Strategy” p. 96-115 only in Taming Intractable Conflicts: Mediation in the Hardest Cases by Chester Crocker et al. 2002 (to be provided)
Segment 15—Class Exercise Part
II—Panel Debates on New Initiative to Resolve Conflict in Darfur (
Key Issues for Discussion: The four groups will present their case to each other to see whether there is common ground for a path toward resolution.
Segment 16—Peacekeeping--Role of UN Missions in Limiting Conflict and
Promoting Conflict Resolution and
Key issues for discussion: review of the different kinds of
UN peacekeeping missions that have been employed to resolve conflicts; the
challenges of organizing peacekeeping missions and making them effective; the
limitation of UN peacekeeping missions; case study of failed UN peacekeeping
Student Presentation #1
Segment 17—Peace Enforcement--Assessing Military Intervention in International Conflicts—Key issues for discussion: Examination of when military intervention is necessary and appropriate under international law and norms; review of the kinds of military intervention that have been used; consideration of how intervention often leads to unexpected consequences; the moral dilemma of conforming with international legal norms and the ethical need to stop mass violence; case study of NATO intervention in Bosnia (1995-96).
Segment 18--Review of
Student Presentation #2
Segment 19- Peacebuilding--Review of Post-War Reconstruction Issues
Key issues for discussion: examination of challenges in ensuring a lasting peace after the violence is halted, including maintenance of security, strengthening the democratic process, institution building, economic reconstruction and protection of ethnic rights.
Reading: Chapter 9 “Peacebuilding” p. 215-230 in Contemporary Conflict Resolution by Oliver Ramsbotham et al; and “Relating Human Rights, Minority Rights and Self-determination to Minority Protection” by Kristin Henrard p. 51-54 only (Beginning with “Self Determination Reconsidered) in Managing and Settling Ethnic Conflict ed. Ulrich Schnekener et al (latter article to be provided)
Segment 20—Case Review of
“Interim Notions of Statehood in Bosnia-Herzegovina” by Mark Baskin p. 277-286 in Interim Governments: Institutional Bridges to Peace & Democracy? Karen Guttieri and Jessica Piombo, editors, 2007 (to be provided)
Student Presentation #3
Class essays due on April 27
Segment 21—Reconciliation--Long-Term Structural Changes to Promote Peace
Key issues for discussion: Social, political, economic and security changes needed to ensure fundamental reconciliation and long-term peace and stability; strategies for fostering these changes, including confidence-building measures, community empowerment, more equitable distribution of economic benefits, “truth commissions”, trials of war criminals and reparations
Student Presentation #4
Student Presentation #5
Segment 22--Lessons Learned from Managing International Conflicts and Strategies for the Future
Key issues for discussion: Addressing the security dilemma, assessing control policies, considering the role of military force, devising an incentive-based participatory framework and implementing a broad post-conflict peacemaking and reconciliation strategy
Reading: “Future Directions: Towards Cosmopolitan Conflict Resolution” (Starting with “International Intervention”) p. 324-331, in Contemporary Conflict Resolution by Oliver Ramsbotham et al.; “Managing and Settling Ethnic Conflicts: the Context-Design Nexus” p. 271-284 in Managing and Settling Ethnic Conflicts by Ulrich Schneckener et al. (latter article to be provided)
Note: The scheduled time for the final exam is 7:15-9:15 pm
PS 250 Introduction to International Conflict Resolution
Students writing an essay for the course should select a conflict from one of those listed below. Please pre-clear the topic with me so that we don’t have more than one student researching the same topic. The essay should be 5 double-spaced pages in length and include a bibliography on a separate page. See the attached style sheet for further guidance on format and editing. The deadline for submitting the essay is our class on Monday, April 26. Late submissions will receive a minimum reduction of one letter grade. Note that 20 percent of the essay grade will depend on whether
Essays should address the following questions to the extent they are relevant to the particular conflict:
The essays will be graded for both your presentation of factual knowledge and your ability to analyze relevant issues. Grammar and correctness of spelling and punctuation will also be considered so you should proofread you essays carefully. Students who have difficulty writing essays or are still learning English as a second language should take advantage of the MC Writing Center to get help. Remember that improving your writing and oral communications skills is also an important course objective.
Plagiarism will result in an automatic failing grade for the assignment. Plagiarism includes copying material directly from sources and submitting the work of others as your own. Most instructors can easily detect plagiarism because they can compare your writing style in quizzes and exams with that of your essay.
You should submit your essay topic to me for approval no later than March 2. Please arrange a time to meet outside of class if you would like to discuss your topic in more detail or need help in finding sources of information.
PS 250 Introduction to International Conflict Resolution
Oral Presentation Requirements
Five students will have the opportunity to make an oral presentation to the class in place of an essay. The presentations will be made in the five consecutive classes beginning on April 6 and ending May 4. If more than five students are interested, a selection will be made by lot.
Students making an oral presentation should select a conflict from one of those listed below. Please pre-clear the topic with me no later than March 2 so that we don’t have more than one student speaking on the same topic. The oral presentation should be approximately 40 minutes in length and include a Microsoft PowerPoint slide show that highlights key points. (Montgomery College computers all have Microsoft PowerPoint software installed so you can type your presentation here at the campus if you do not have PowerPoint software in your computer at home.) After the oral presentation, the presenter will answer questions from the class on their topic for about 20 minutes.
In addition to preparing the PowerPoint presentations, students must submit after the class a 1 ˝-to-2 page essay on “lessons learned” from the case study that might be applicable to resolving other international conflicts. Students must also submit with this summary a bibliography of sources used for the report.
The presentation should address the following questions to the extent they are relevant to the particular conflict:
List of Conflicts for Student Essays and Oral Presentations
Other international conflicts may be analyzed if they are relevant to our analysis and receive prior approval.
Sample Research Paper Cover Page
TITLE OF PAPER
Introduction to International Conflict Resolution
FORMAT FOR YOUR BIBLIOGRAPHY
alphabetical order by last name of author. Use this exact format—
Use this style with books
Goldstein, Joshua (2007). International relations, 8th Ed. New York: Pearson Longman.
Use this style with articles
Huntington, Samuel (1988). The U.S.—Decline or renewal. Foreign Affairs. 67(2),76-92. (Last numbers are the volume of the journal and page numbers)
NOTE: Wikipedia is not an acceptable bibliographic source for a research paper.
· Contact me well before the due date to discuss your ideas if you are having difficulty selecting a specific topic and writing your analysis.