GOAL OF THE MINOR
Why do Houthi rebels rebel in Yemen? And what effects do the airstrikes conducted by Saudi Arabia and its Western allies have on Yemeni civilians? How did ISIS govern in the cities that they ruled? And who will govern those cities now they have been defeated? Why do the efforts of international actors to promote peace and to foster democracy in war-torn states like Mali and Afghanistan often fail?
If you are interested in these types of questions, the minor conflict studies is the right programme for you. This minor examines conflicts from all around the world, both ‘far away’ and ‘closer to home’, such as the civil war in South Sudan, the coalition bombings in Syria and Iraq, and urban violence and terrorist attacks in France.
The minor has a strong multidisciplinary character. It aims explicitly to combine the study of theoretical issues with the investigation of evidence-based case study material from contemporary violent conflicts. 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 precision airstrikes and drones.
After completing this minor, you will be armed with the critical analytical skills and knowledge to be able to answer questions like these: Why does violent conflict emerge? How are these conflicts organized, how do they transform, and why and how do conflicts become protracted? What are differences and similarities between violent conflicts? What are the promises and pitfalls of international actors that seek to promote peace?
The minor programme is taught by staff drawing on a diversity of disciplinary backgrounds including political science, anthropology, non-western sociology, and social psychology. The teaching staff bring to the classroom subject-matter expertise that combines a thorough understanding of theoretical and academic debates with first-hand experience as fieldwork-researchers and policy-practitioners in such diverse settings as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, 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 a variety of academic disciplines, such as History, International Relations Political Science, Anthropology, International Law, and Development Studies. The programme is taught in English, and a number of places is reserved for exchange students from other Dutch universities or from abroad. We encourage students from different national and academic backgrounds to work together in class assignments and presentations. We use feedback from students to continually improve our courses.
'I enjoyed how current relevant events are discussed during the seminar and put into context. This shows how we can use the material and apply it to what is happening in today's world.'
'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.'
'I loved that we learned through documentaries and films, it makes it easier to remember things.'
'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.'
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
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 consists of four compulsory course modules (30 EC) and starts in term 1. While it is recommended to start the programme in term 1 and to follow the other courses in the next three terms, you are permitted to start the minor with any of the four courses, and to follow the courses in the sequence that fits your schedule. For more information, see the detailed descriptions of each of the courses below. It is also possible to enrol for separate courses.