Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice
SSC529, Fall 2010
Tuesday/Thursday 10:00-11:20 ; Dalrymple 34
Office: Dalrymple 27
Office Hours, Wednesday 8:30-10:30
Course Description: This class will introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of conflict resolution. Students will read some of the formative texts in the field and study the basics of negotiation, mediation, dialogue, track II diplomacy, and interpersonal conflict resolution methods, as well as exploring some of the emerging and complicated issues within the field regarding Gender, the environment, culture, and the ethics of war and peace. Conflict resolution is a field that has exploded in recent years and extended its influence throughout a number of practical fields, including business, law, and public administration. Through class discussion and in-class simulations students will learn useful skills both for their personal lives and for their future careers. This will be an introductory course and no prior experience or knowledge of conflict resolution is necessary. However, students will be expected to be prepared to read interdisciplinary theoretical and practical literature on the dynamics of social conflict, and to investigate conflicts of all levels of significance and intensity, from latent personal disagreements to violent international confrontations.
Format: Class meetings will generally combine informal lecture with class discussion of the readings. However, where applicable, demonstrations of conflict resolutions skills, such as mediation, negotiation, assertion, or problem solving, will be simulated. As a class the readings will be investigated and critiqued and students must come to class prepared to communicate clearly about the literature.
Class Participation Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 10%
As a discussion class of this nature functions best when everyone participates and contributes, class attendance is mandatory and active participation will be graded. Participation grades will reflect thoughtful comments regarding the readings and your peerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ideas and thoughts. It is expected that all communication will be respectful and attentive to the thoughts of others, while clearly expressing your ideas and opinions to the class as a whole. Students are allowed 3 absences throughout the semester. Each additional absence will result in a 2% drop in the overall final course grade unless there are extreme circumstances (death in the family, extreme sickness, etc.)
Forum Posts Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 10%
For each class there is a forum on the courses website. As a part of class participation each student must submit a 250 (two paragraphs) word post by 5pm the day before the class for which the reading is assigned. These posts will allow me to see where the class stands in relation to the readings, how you feel or think about them, or what questions you might have or critiques you might voice, and then to respond to those during the informal lecture portion of the next class. They will also allow each of you to respond to your classmates and engage in debate about readings you might feel passionate about. As with in class communication, it is expected that all online communication will be cordial and respectful.
Reflection Papers Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 10%
Five times during the semester students are responsible for a 700 wordÃ‚Â reflection on one or more of the assigned class readings. Reading reflections can relate the reading to personal experiences, to readings from other classes, to other readings or discussions in class, or to the student's own final papers. They should be well thought out and express ideas clearly and concisely. A reading reflection should not simply summarize a class reading but should analyze and critique its meaning or significance, take issue with its contents, compare and contrast it with another piece, or clearly relate that reading to ones own final paper. The choice of what readings to reflect upon, or when in the semester to begin submitting reflection papers is up to the individual student, however, I strongly advice an early start.
Coser Proposition Presentations Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 10%
We will be reading Lewis CoserÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Functions of Social ConflictÃ¢â‚¬Â throughout the semester. The book describes 16 propositions which describe conflicts function within and among social groups. These 16 propositions will be divided among students and each will briefly present the meaning of the proposition to the class on the day it is due. These presentations will be short and concise, but should summarize CoserÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s message and relate the idea to the class in a clearly understandable way.
Paper Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 60%
There is one large paper due for this class. However, throughout the semester the paper will be constructed through 5 smaller assignments, each accounting for a small portion of the full 60%. This will allow each student to break the task into manageable pieces and complete the task on time. The paper must be an analysis of an ongoing conflict, of any size, level, or intensity that the student wishes to study. This analysis must include a description of the parties, the intensity, the historical/structural or individual reasons for the conflict, and any previous attempts to find peace or intervene in the conflict. In addition, the paper must describe the studentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s proposed solution or intervention and why this choice can succeed where others have failed. The paper must make use of, and correctly cite, at least 4 books or scholarly articles in addition to any class readings that might be used.
The graded portions of the paper project are as follows;
300 word abstract - Due on September 16th - 5%
The abstract is designed to make you start thinking of a conflict, about the elements of the conflict, and how you can go about studying it in depth. The Abstract must have the following components. You must briefly describe the conflict you wish to study. This includes a description of the parties, the setting, the history, and current intensity of the conflict. You must then explain briefly what data you will examine to understand the conflict, put another way, tell me how you will find out the details about the conflict. If you already know other information, you can choose to include or not to include it. This is due by e-mail prior to 10 am on Thursday the 16th.
1000 word sketch - Due on September 30th - 5%
The 1000 word sketch of your ideas for the final paper is intended as a bridge between the 300 word abstract and the half draft due November 2nd. It is intended both to inspire your early investigation of your conflict and as a way for me to ensure that everyone is moving in the right direction towards completing a successful paper. I expect to see four things included in these short papers.
First, I expect you to briefly summarize any readings you have completed on your chosen conflict or potential intervention strategy.
Second, I expect you to discuss the new ideas you have had regarding the conflict, or how the ideas expressed in your abstract have evolved and been refined.
Third, I expect you to describe the next steps you will take in investigating your conflict, articles or books you plan to read, people you plan to interview, newspaper or magazine articles you will read, documentaries you will watch, etc. In addition, you should describe what you expect to learn in these new materials and how they will help your investigation of the conflict.
And fourth, I hope that each of you will also provide a brief suggestion of whatÃ‚Â conflict interventionÃ‚Â you are currently considering. These do not need to be final, but should show that you have been thinking of possibleÃ‚Â intervention methodsÃ‚Â and also about class material and how it might be applied to your conflict.
These papers are due prior to class on Thursday morning. I expect them all to be turned in on time.
Annotated bibliography - Due on October 14th - 5%
An annotated Bibliography is a list of citations followed by a short 150 to 200 word description of the importance or relevance of the work cited. For some basic information go to: http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/skill28.htm.
For this particular project I expect each annotated bibliography to include sources relevent to your project and for your annotations to describe why each given source will help you complete your project. I expect to see that each of you has put significant effort into the project thus far, so each annotated bibliography should include at least 5 significant scholarly articles, or 5 significant pieces of such length, wether they be book chapters, reports, legal documents, court transcripts, e-mail exchanges, etc.
One book will not suffice. If you have read an entire book I expect that to be supplemented even at this early point with at least 2 other significant pieces. If your investigation of your subject has been primarily through newspaper articles your annotated bibliography should include the number of citations that would be similar in lengthÃ‚Â and significance to 5 scholarly journals.
Remember please that this is a fully graded assignment. If it is not on time the rules for late grades apply. This assignment is designed not only to grade a piece of paper turned in, but to grade your progress in investigating yourÃ‚Â chosen conflict and interventionÃ‚Â thus far. Please try to show, in your annotations, that you have read these pieces and have thought clearly about how they apply to your subject. I expect all assignments to be turned in on time.
2500 word draft - Due on November 2nd - 5%
5000 word draft - Due on November 18th - 10%
5000-6000 word final paper - Due on December 7th - 30%
Paper Formats: All assignments in this class can be e-mailed to me at Gmillar@marlboro.edu. There is no reason to print and hand in physical copies. I will return comments similarly by e-mail, with tracked changes style comments.
Learning Differences: This class will honor all necessary accommodations for students with documented learning differences. If you have a learning difference or believe you may have a learning difference that requires specific accommodation, please contact Megan Littlehales, Coordinator of Disability Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Megan will let me know what accommodations would be appropriate.
Academic Integrity: Students in this class will abide by MarlboroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commitment to academic integrity (see http://www.marlboro.edu/resources/handbook/academic/disciplinary_action/). As members of an academic community we each have a responsibility to cite all ideas and words that are not our own. Any student caught plagiarizing in my class will receive a failing grade. If you are unsure what does and does not need to be cited, please ask me or make an appointment with the WriterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Block to ask for assistance. You can read more on the subject at http://abacus.bates.edu/pubs/Plagiarism/plagiarism.html. In addition, for the final paper students must follow the citation guidelines provided at http://akbar.marlboro.edu/~jsheehy/sources/, which describe how to cite, and provides examples of citing various kinds of materials. Examples of how to cite interviews, personal letters and court transcripts are not included. Therefore, if you use any of these sources please cite them as follows. Pretending, for example, thatÃ‚Â you are citing a letter, interview, or court transcriptsÃ‚Â with your teacher, the citation and bibliography for that source would look like this:
Ã‚Â Gearoid said "I hate plagiarism" (Millar, 2009).
Millar, Gearoid (2009) Telephone interview, August 4th
Gearoid wrote "Always cite primary sources" (Millar, 2010).
Millar, Gearoid (2010) Personal letter, August 4th
Gearoid responded "No I did not commit plagiary" (Millar, 2011)
Millar, Gearoid (2011) 1st District Court Hearing, Brattleboro, August 4th
Late Work: Because I try to provide feedback on each assignment and maintain an ongoing assessment of each studentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s coursework, I cannot allow students to turn in late work. Deadlines for all class assignments are, therefore, non-negotiable, barring extreme circumstances similar to those noted above under Attendance and Class Participation. If you regularly run over deadlines, please set yourself deadlines for class work in advance of the official class deadline. Assignment grades will be lowered by 5% for each day they are late.