GOAL OF THE MINOR
This minor program will improve your understanding of contemporary violent conflicts around the world and your ability to make an analysis of violent conflict and interventions addressing these conflicts. After following this minor you will be able to reflect on questions like: How can we explain ISIS’s capacity to mobilize large numbers of people towards violent action? What is the relationship between nationalist sentiment and violence in Ukraine? Why do the efforts of international actors to promote peace and to foster democracy in war-torn states like Afghanistan often fail?
The minor Conflict Studies has a strong multidisciplinary profile. It aims explicitly to combine the study of theoretical issues with the investigation of case study material from contemporary conflicts around the world. Conflict Studies both examines the local dynamics of conflict (state collapse, the role of political elites, nationalist myth-making, the use of digital techniques by conflict parties, transitions to democracy, governance, ethnicity, identity) and the problems related to international interventions (e.g. by the UN, NATO) directed at the resolution of conflicts and post-conflict reconstruction. The minor also pays attention to other international dimensions of these conflicts, such as the ongoing War on Terror, the role of Diaspora groups, the links between migration and conflict, and the use of drones by international actors like the US in countries such as Somalia.
The minor programme is taught by staff of the Centre for Conflict Studies combining disciplinary backgrounds from political science, anthropology, non-western sociology and social psychology. The staff brings to the classroom a degree of competence that combines a thorough understanding of the relevant theoretical ideas and academic debates with first-hand local fieldwork research experience and policy practice in such different countries as Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Peru, southern Mexico, France, Kosovo, and Uganda.
The minor programme has proven to be of great value for a wide range of students that major in such different disciplines as History, IR, Political Science, Anthropology, International Law, or Development Studies. The minor is taught in English and a substantial amount of places is reserved for external and exchange students. We encourage students from different national and academic backgrounds to work together in assignments, papers and presentations. We use feedback from students to continually improve our courses.
'I enjoyed how current relevant events are discussed during the 'werkgroep' [seminar] and put into context. This shows how we can use the material and apply it to what is happening in today's world.' (student evaluation)
'Wat ik erg sterk vond was het gemak waarmee recente gebeurtenissen gekoppeld werden aan de literatuur en concepten. Hiermee doel ik op de gebeurtenissen in Parijs, maar ook op de IS.' (student evaluation)'
'I loved that we learned through documentaries and films, it makes it easier to remember things.' (student evaluation)
De collegestof was veelzijdig en heel interessant. De werkgroepen sloten hier vaak goed op aan en resulteerden in leuke discussies waar de input van de docent ook heel erg fijn was. De sfeer in de werkgroepen was altijd goed en ontspannen (student evaluation).
If you follow the minor Conflict Studies you will explore theories pertaining to conflict causes, to local dynamics of conflict, and the political processes and wider dynamics brought about by international interventions aimed at conflict management and post-conflict reconstruction.
Every course module is meant to:
* provide you with knowledge and understanding of the academic debates and the analytical vocabulary on a variety of theories that are relevant to understanding conflict dynamics and international interventions in conflicts
* apply this knowledge (particularly the specialized terminology of concepts, and theoretical approaches) when analyzing and accounting for intricate and complex processes found in individual cases of conflict and intervention from around the world
You will be taught to view and treat the individual courses in this minor as integral pieces of an otherwise interconnected analytical and theoretical whole. Seeing the minor study programme in this way will equip you with the skills to analyze complex phenomena in systematic ways, including those ‘closer to home’ and of a less protracted violent nature as well. The course modules include lectures, readings, documentary screenings, individual or group assignments and debate. It is envisaged that you will follow the news on ongoing conflicts so as to be able to apply the course knowledge to current affairs. The courses will be of an interactive nature and you are encouraged to raise questions, promote debate, offer criticisms and contribute to the course contents.
Students who are interested in the subjects addressed in the minor Conflict Studies and who want to deepen their knowledge in the field of conflict studies can apply for the Master’s programme Conflict Studies and Human Rights, for which this minor provides an excellent preparation and is strongly recommended.
The minor Conflict Studies consists of four compulsory course modules (30 EC) and starts in term 1. For more information, see the detailed descriptions of each of the courses below. It is possible to enroll for separate courses.