Current Courses (Spring 2018)

Core Courses

735 Peace and Conflict Studies

26:735:523 Comparative and International Education: Development in Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights, Jamie Lew
Th 5:30-8:10


This course provides an overview of the history, theories, and current trends in comparative and international education focusing on peace, conflict and human rights. The readings and discussions will be framed by historical and contemporary theories of comparative and international education development: colonial and post-colonial theories, economic theories of modernization, neoliberal economic expansion, international migration, and globalization. Using various case studies, it will explore and critically analyze the social production of mass schooling, nation-building, cross national trends in implementing human rights, and emergency education in conflict and post-conflict zones.

Fulfills Social and Cultural Bases of Conflict and Cooperation Requirement

26:735:527 Religion, Violence, and Reconciliation, Chris Duncan
Tu 2:30-5:30

The nature of the relationship between religion, violence, and peace is a contentious one in academia. Some argue that religion has little to do with violence and is simply a façade that hides the political and economic motivations of elite actors, while others argue that religions are inherently violent. Others take more nuanced positions, such as arguing that analysts need to pay more attention to the role and meaning given to religion by participants in violent conflicts. These approaches raise a number of questions: Is religion a source of violence or is it simply a tool used by the elite to manipulate the masses? Can religion and politics be separated? Is religion also a resource for peace and reconciliation? The course explores how various scholars from a variety of disciplines (anthropology, sociology, political science, and religious studies) have looked at the connection or lack there of, between religion, violence and peace. The course begins with an analysis of key concepts in understanding the role of religion in the world today, including secularism, fundamentalism, religious freedom, reconciliation, and the very idea of religion as a category. The second half of the course will focus on case studies, including Indonesia, the Middle East and Thailand.

Fulfills Social and Cultural Bases of Conflict and Cooperation Requirement

Approved Electives

478 Global Affairs


26:478:516 Human Security Seminar (3 credits), Rick O'Meara

Wednesdays 1:00-3:40pm


26:478:598 Genocide (3 credits), Alexander Hinton

Mondays 1:00-3:40pm


790 Political Science

26:790:535 Global Environmental Issues (3 credits),  Gabriella Kutting

Tuesdays 2:00-4:40


977 Urban Systems

26:977:624 Special Topics in Urban Systems: Ethnographic Methods (3 credits),  Sean Mitchell

Wednesdays 5:30-8:10pm

This course is a graduate level introduction to studying and writing about the world ethnographically. Because it relies on the method of “participant observation,” ethnography may appear to be an easy task. We spend our whole lives embedded in and thinking about our social worlds; how hard can it be to participate and observe? But, while the work of ethnography relies on our basic abilities as social beings, it has broader aims that require theoretical and methodological understanding, as well as practice: to understand how human communities work, and to translate and make those communities comprehensible both to ourselves and to others who stand outside those communities.

Ethnography may seek to answer very specific questions—how, for instance, students of a specific Newark High School experience racism, or why financial analysts at a particular firm rely on unrealistic models of risk—or ethnography may seek to illuminate entire social worlds. Whatever kinds of questions ethnographic research seeks to answer, it is always a circular process: questions are first developed through anticipatory research, then become reformulated as the researcher enters the field of study, learns more, and further refines both the questions and underlying theories. If your questions do not change as you carry out your ethnography you are probably doing it poorly; if you find only what you expected to find, you are definitely doing it poorly. Additionally, because ethnography involves our participation in people's lives, often involving complex relations of inequality and often privacy, our ethical practice is also fundamentally important.

In this seminar, we will read classic and more recent ethnography, as well as texts in ethnographic theory, methods, and ethics, and we will learn how ethnographers: design research projects and questions; carry out their research through participant observation, interviews, and other techniques; write fieldnotes; analyze and understand the data collected; and render their results intelligible through ethnographic writing.

Over the course of the semester, each student will design and write a proposal for ethnographic research, with ongoing feedback from me and your colleagues in the class. For those students preparing a proposal for dissertation research, the proposal may be tailored to your individual project. The intention is to produce proposals of sufficient quality to qualify you for research in your academic program, to win support from external funding agencies—another crucial part of ethnographic practice—and to conduct high-quality research.

26:977:624 Special Topics in Urban Systems: Applied Quantitative Methods (3 credits),  Nicole Kraus

Mondays, Wednesdays,  10:00-11:20am


Fulfills Methods Requirement

New Brunswick, Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

34:833:572 Negotiation, Law, and Policy: Managing Conflict in Public Context (3 credits),  Stanford Jaffe and Linda Stamato

Tuesdays,  1:10-3:50pm

Gaining agreement on public policy issues is often difficult, indeed, more often than not, the policy-making process is fraught with such contentiousness that considerable amounts of time and energy are invested in reaching decisions and managing conflicts that arise in respect of them. The court system is clogged with litigation over a myriad of governmental regulatory and civil matters; administrative agencies, federal and state, are burdened with disputes; the development and implementation of regulatory policy is mired in legalistic and adversarial rule-making processes. Objectives can be lost in the process.

The last several decades has witnessed the growth of less costly and time-consuming ways to deal with disputes in order to reduce their incidence, and, to improve decision-making. These initiatives rest on consensual rather than adversarial models. In the public policy arena, negotiation, mediation and facilitated collaboration predominate as processes that can produce stable, practical and lasting solutions to policy needs.

The basic purpose of this course is to acquaint students with these developments, loosely referred to as “conflict resolution,” and their relationship to planning and policy-making. Understanding the legal context is critical to recognizing the value of alternatives to litigation. Accordingly, students will come to understand that context, the relationship of law to policy, the limits of law and legal process, and the place that negotiation and conflict resolution occupy in that universe. Students are introduced to problem-solving scholarship and case studies that illustrate collaborative, creative and responsive methods for meeting public needs.

Practitioners of conflict resolution use analytical and intervention skills to address organizational, policy and legislative concerns in areas as diverse as the workplace, the community, government regulatory practice and international relations. Increasingly, they build on innovations in negotiation, mediation, organizational development and communication to design systems to improve decision-making and to manage conflict. Accordingly, the focus of the course is also experiential; emphasizing the construction of knowledge and skill development, it provides students with opportunities to apply concepts and practice negotiation and intervention skills in hypothetical and factual policy and planning contexts.

Fulfills Nonviolence and Recovery from Violence Requirement