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Conflict Studies Major & Minor

Course Catalog

Conflict Studies

Conflict Studies is a major that brings together a number of academic disciplines that focus on conflict as one of their organizing concepts. Because of its ubiquity and significance in human life, the study of the process and resolution of conflict is increasingly claiming a central place in the study of development in general and peaceful change in particular.


Requirements for a major

Conflict Studies

Total courses required Eleven
Core courses CFT 100, CFT 295, CFT 430. CFT 100 must be completed by the fourth semester of study or at the latest the semester following the declaration of major. Students majoring in Conflict Studies are required to participate in workshops that are designed to help them integrate conflict theory and knowledge of practice.
Other required courses Additional courses that may be chosen for the major are: ANTH 151, ANTH 253, ANTH 255, ANTH 256, ANTH 290*, ANTH 390*, COMM 223, COMM 224, COMM 227, COMM 327, COMM 401*, ECON 250, ECON 262, ECON 290*, ECON 320, ECON 390*, EDUC 300, EDUC 320, EDUC 362, EDUC 425*, HIST 105*, HIST 109, HIST 110, HIST 206, HIST 256, HIST 257, HIST 263, HIST 264, HIST 265, HIST 275, HIST 290*, HIST 300*, HIS 351, HIST 355, HIST 358, HIST 364, HIST 367, HIST 368, HIST 385, HIST 490*, HONR 101*, PHIL 230, PHIL 233, PHIL 234, PHIL 342, POLS 130, POLS 150, POLS 170, POLS 235, POLS 324, POLS 335 POLS 352, POLS 360, POLS 370, POLS 374, POLS 382, POLS 384, POLS 390*, POLS 450*, PSY 246*, PSY 346*, PSY 352, REL 132, REL 252, REL 263, REL 269, REL 290*, REL 340*, REL 370*, SOC 197S*, SOC 210, SOC 222, SOC 225, SOC 237, SOC 249, SOC 301*, SOC 303, SOC 320, SOC 323, SOC 334, SOC 337, SOC 410*, WS 140, WS 270, WS 340, WS 370*.
(*if approved topic)

This list of courses that satisfy CFT requirements for credit toward the major is not exhaustive. Other courses may be awarded CFT credit in the context of a given theme. Additional required courses will be determined in consultation with the student's Conflict Studies advisor.

Number 300 and 400 level courses Five
Senior requirement and capstone experience All seniors must take CFT 430. Content of the senior seminar in Conflict Studies will invariably reflect the area of expertise of the instructor. Topics, therefore, range widely and may include: topical concentrations (e.g., globalization, war and peace), geographical foci (e.g., Latin America, Middle East / North Africa), and conflict typology (i.e., value conflicts, issue conflicts, interest conflicts). The senior seminar may emphasize conflict analysis (i.e., origins, processes and dynamics), conflict intervention (e.g., conflict transformation, post conflict peacebuilding), or the implications of analysis for third party practice. A research project is always a significant dimension of the capstone experience.
Additional information Majors will develop a learning contract, required by week six of the second semester, sophomore year (or at least one month after major declaration), structured around two thematic tracks (e.g., Identity Based Conflict, International Diplomacy and Conflict, Organizational Conflict, Peace/War, etc.). The terms of the contract specify the substantive nature of the chosen tracks, including relevant courses. Majors must take at least four courses at the 300-400 level; two in each track. Each track must consist of at least three courses, but no more than five courses can be credited to a single track.
Writing in the Major

Writing is critically important to Conflict Studies. Whether the enterprise is mapping a conflict or post-conflict environment, planning an intervention, or assessing the merits of a program of conflict transformation, the author must be able to think through highly complex problems and present often difficult to understand conflict dynamics to audiences of varying levels of expertise. Indeed the target audience for conflict analysis is often a non-specialist one. For these reasons it is becoming increasingly standard to expect those writing in the (inter)discipline to write in a clear, jargon-free manner that is accessible to academics as well to as peace activists and conflict resolution practitioners.

CFT students develop field-appropriate writing in two major ways: through a 'framing project', which begins in CFT 295 and culminates in the Senior Seminar, and through an iterative writing assignment in CFT 295.

CFT 295 challenges students to build on the basic theoretical and practical knowledge gained in earlier course work and to engage both elements at a deeper and more critical level of analysis and understanding. The major, in-depth case study research assignment incorporates three separate papers, each of which build on the other, ending in a major paper composed of all three components.

In the framing project majors articulate their place in relation to the field of Conflict Studies. All Conflict Studies majors face a challenge: how to explain to parents, friends, potential employers, and graduate schools exactly what they studied and what they now know because they chose this area of study. Although most people are now familiar with the terms nonviolence, mediation, and arbitration, many are not familiar with the theories and analytic tools of the field, nor the skills and capacities associated with it. The framing paper therefore focuses on two questions: What is Conflict Studies? What analytical skills and practical abilities have been gained from this study?

Writing and re-writing those answers will both help students know what they know and articulate it to various audiences. Early CFT 295 class students will be asked to write a short paper reflecting on these concepts. Late in the Senior Seminar they will be asked to do so again, reflecting on how their understanding has developed over time.


Requirements for a minor

Conflict Studies

Total courses required Five
Core courses CFT 100
Other required courses Also required are two 200-level courses and two 300-level courses, to be selected in consultation with the coordinator of conflict studies, from two academic disciplines.
Number 300 and 400 level courses Two