This course focuses on how humans react during and after conflict has occurred. It introduces students to the causes and effects of violent conflict and the strategies used during the conflict and its aftermath to resolve and transform the dispute(s). We will organize ourselves into 3 thematic groupings (international/global conflict; local/communal/inter-group conflict; individuals in conflict and 6 sub-themes (memory/narrative; education; gender; nonviolence; culture and values; and reconciliation) on a rotating basis throughout the semester.

This course’s underlying premise is that in-depth study of historical cases of conflict can inform our understanding of and reaction to current conflicts and the ways we attempt to resolve and transform them. We will make explicit comparisons of the effects of conflict and conflict transformation on humans, nations, institutions, etc. in different geographical and political settings.

Our methods of learning and evaluation consist of: lectures; films; guest lectures; small group discussions; larger group discussions; problem solving and inquiry-based learning; reading, thinking, and writing critically; individual and small group presentations; individual research; and a final in-class written exam that is cumulative. The readings and assignments are structured so that knowledge is accumulated collaboratively as the term progresses, as we synthesize and analyse our continued learning at the individual, small group, and larger group level (tutorial and/or class).

Some of the questions we will consider: How have major conflicts since the Second World War been resolved and how have organizations worked to transform individuals, communities, regions, nations, and the world? How are memories of violent conflict passed down to subsequent generations and what are the implications for conflict transformation?