Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2023

Course Description

Why does conflict matter? Because you can make a difference -- in your life, family, work, school, the world. The Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) field looks at conflict, social problems, and violence in the world and examines why things are the way they are, and how we could make them better. This means we focuses on a deep understanding and examination of conflicts and violence (analysis), and also ask the question: What can we do about it? (resolution or transformation). The Applied Peace and Conflict Studies class gives students analytic skills to understand the complexity of conflict in more depth, introduces various processes to resolve or transform conflict and violence, including structural and societal violence, and provides concrete, practical transformation skills you can use in your own life. The class will also explore some of the major debates in PACS including: can or should interveners be neutral? And how do we engage some of the most intractable conflicts? Etc. This class also includes a 16-hour Restorative Justice Mediation lab, with skills and practice sessions, on two, full, weekend days. This means you will leave as a trained mediator – a highly marketable skill set. (For those who have already done the training, you will act as coaches, and, if you wish, co-trainers -- also excellent things to add to a resume!) This class is also a W class, so it will include specific writing skills exercises. You can choose to focus on whatever kind of writing you want to develop, like academic writing, or creative writing, or business writing. There are some similar skills in all of them, which we will explore, like thinking about your audience, using evidence to make your claims effective, and finding ways to get your message across.

Student Outcomes

Students will: 1. Become familiar with the PACS field and major concepts and processes associated with it. 2. Learn and practice strong writing techniques. 3. Practice analyzing conflicts to understand deeper motivations, structural causes, needs, and the effects of different tactics. 4. Be introduced to a spectrum of basic conflict resolution processes, when they should/not be used, and their relative strengths and weaknesses, and think about how they could be applied to real cases, and 5. Learn several practical skills in multiple areas. 6. Practice and apply these skills, and reflect on their potential to impact in real cases. 7. Develop strong voices through using written and oral communication and using reasoned knowledge and evidence.