2017 INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL IN COMPARATIVE CONFLICT STUDIES 

June 25 to July 2, 2017
Center for Comparative Conflict Studies at the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK),
Singidunum University, Belgrade

The Center for Comparative Conflict Studies (CFCCS) at the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK), Singidunum University invites you to apply for the 8th International Summer School in Comparative Conflict Studies. The 2017 Summer School will take place at the Faculty of Media and Communications in Belgrade, from June 25 to July 2, 2017.

The Summer School in Comparative Conflict Studies provides a learning opportunity for students interested in the study and analysis of societies in and post-conflict. Interdisciplinary in its nature, drawing from the fields of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, History, Philosophy, Anthropology, Education, Law and International Relations, the Summer School in Comparative Conflict Studies provides students with an interactive learning experience utilizing frontal lectures and class discussions focusing on comparative conflict analysis of different case studies.

Language of instruction for all courses is English

Students who complete the course requirements may transfer the course credit to their home institution (5 ECTS).

(Applicants can attend only one course from this list)

 


 

Rethinking Peace Education: The Work of Identity and Culture in Conflict Ridden Societies

Dr. Zvi Bekerman

Course Description

The course offers a critique of Western positivist paradigmatic perspectives that currently guide peace education, maintaining that one of the primary weaknesses of current bilingual and multicultural approaches to peace education is their failure to account for the primacy of the political framework of the nation state and the psychologized educational perspectives that guide their educational work. It does so by revealing the complex practices implemented, in educational contexts in areas of enduring conflict, while negotiating identity and culture.

The course presents critical theorizations and conceptualizations of identity, culture, conflict, and other foundational concepts derived from a long-term ethnographic study of the integrated bilingual Palestinian-Jewish schools in Israel. These schools' main goal is to offer a new egalitarian, bilingual, multicultural educational option to facilitate the growth of youth who can acknowledge and respect "others" while maintaining loyalty to their respective identitarian and cultural traditions.

Change, it will be argued, will only occur after the Western positivist paradigmatic perspectives that currently guide peace education are abandoned, a step which entails critically reviewing present understandings of the individual, of identity and culture, and of the learning process.

In order to do this, we will first learn about the paradigms and conceptual frameworks which guide our understanding of conflict and multicultural/peace education as they develop in different conflictual, political and geographical contexts and identify a variety of approaches related to various dimensions of peace education. The course will familiarize participants with the complexities of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, with an emphasis on the present situation within its internationally recognized borders. The course will then critically examine sociological, psychological, and anthropological approaches to identity and culture and discuss matters relating to the place of culture and identity in the world of education in general and peace education in particular. Lastly, we will apply the concepts and theories learned to the analysis of data gathered in educational contexts confronting intractable conflicts such as the cases of Israel and Cyprus.

 


 

Religion and Conflict: The Balkans’ Explorations vs. Explorations of the Balkans

Dr. Dino Abazović

Course Description and Objectives

This course will explore the processes of how political and ethnic conflict can become “religious”, on the one hand, and how religion can itself generate conflict, on the other. During the course, students will learn about the nature of conflict in general and specifically about religious conflict. The course inquires into various interactions between religious and ethno-national identity, with special attention paid to inter-relations among different religions in the Balkans. The relationship between religion and ethnicity, politicized aspects of religious conflicts, and the place of religion in relation to questions of nationalism and hegemony will also be explored during the course.

It will begin with an examination of the complexities of conflict and related academic theories of conflict and religion, as well as the nature of the violence which often follows conflict. Students will gain an understanding of the role of religious communities (Jewish and Islamic) and churches (Catholic and Orthodox) in Balkans at the end of 20th and beginning of 21st century, as well as during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1991-1995).

In addition, students will be able to “unpack” different religious interpretations of sacred texts, understanding how these texts can be the foundation for either violence or peace.

Finally, the course will offer some solutions – how religion and its spirituality, theologies, and methodologies can be used in the process of conflict transformation and peace-building. This will be observed from Jewish, Christian and Muslim perspectives.

 


 

From Intervention to Non-Intervention: The Triumph of State Sovereignty over Human Rights?

Dr. Maxine David

Course Description

The fundamental organising principle in the international system has long been one of state sovereignty, whereby states are considered to have authority over a defined and internationally recognised territory, protected from external intervening forces. Thus, inextricably linked to sovereignty has been the further principle of non-intervention. In 1991, George Bush Senior spoke of a ‘New World Order’, one in which the United Nations would now be free to fulfil its founders’ visions. As a result, for much of the post-Cold War period, the principle of non-intervention was challenged by successive interventions into the sovereign affairs of states by international organisations, notably the United Nations and NATO, as well as some states. As if in acceptance of this new world order in which human rights protection could – would – be privileged over traditional understandings of sovereignty, in 2005 the international “community” adopted the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). R2P has since been widely debated by reason of the emphasis it places on achieving justice for people, placing obligations on states to protect the wellbeing of their citizens and to face the possibility of an outside intervention when they fail to do so. However, following the so-called Arab Spring, successive states in North Africa and the Middle East have experienced instability and/or intrastate conflict, leading to enormous loss of life, injury and displacement of people. After a speedy intervention in Libya in 2011, western states particularly have apparently lost all appetite for intervention, as the Syrian people have discovered since the start of the intrastate conflict that has engulfed their own state.

In November 2015, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs spoke of this war “that has cost an estimated 250,000 people their lives, given rise to extremist and terrorist groups, and reduced much of the country, a middle-income country, to rubble”. He estimated that 13.5 million Syrian people were now in need of humanitarian assistance, while more than 4 million had become refugees. Despite these figures, it was not until Syria’s conflict was brought to the streets of France through the Paris attacks in November 2015 that European states began to reconsider their non-interventionist stance. Thus, just 10 years after R2P, circumstances are suggestive of a limited and certainly wavering commitment to the principle of rights protection and therefore to the vision of a New World Order.

In this course, students will be introduced to the underpinning concepts and competing understandings of (non-)intervention in situations of conflict, state collapse, humanitarian and human rights emergencies. Students will learn to identify and deliver a critical analysis of those factors that shape crisis, international intervention and non-intervention. Emphasis is then placed on the application of concepts and theories to real-life scenarios, examining a few of the case studies that have been particularly significant in respect of developing international-level responses to crises. Ultimately, students will be required to deliver well-evidenced verdicts on whether human rights have been relegated to the second tier of principles to be defended by the United Nations and its signatories.

Course themes

Throughout the course, students will be asked to consider the causes and effects of events and actions in relation to conflict and crisis in the international arena. Four core themes in the study of Intervention will sit at the heart of our studies: Sovereignty, Legitimacy, Legality, Human Rights. The course aims to help students understand the arguments for and against intervention: what motivates actors to intervene, what constrains them, the inherent costs and dangers of their choices. Through study of a number of interventions, students will debate the choices available to actors in order to achieve an understanding of the context in which difficult decisions are made and the consequences of those decisions. Finally, they will have to consider whether and how those decisions shape the wider international order.

 


 

Memory and Conflict: Remembering and Forgetting in Divided Societies

Dr. Orli Fridman

Course Description


This course invites students to explore the study of conflict analysis and conflict transformation through a journey in the field of social memory studies. The course will focus on the role of social memory studies for peace and conflict studies scholars and allow students to delve into the analysis of internal dynamics of societies in or after conflict and the ways in which they negotiate their pasts, presents and futures in the aftermath of war, conflict, repression, dictatorship, genocide and mass atrocities.

The course will explore dynamics and frameworks enabling the social organization of memory, and modes in which entire communities (and not only individuals) preserve remember and forget the past, commemorate it, deny or obliterate it.  Finally the course will highlight practices related to memory work and memory activism in spaces of mnemonic conflicts over the narratives and representations of the past.

In order to do so, students will be introduced to some underpinning concepts in social memory studies and in conflict studies. Students will then apply this theoretical knowledge to a number of case studies, allowing them to further investigate the role of memory and memory activism in conflict analysis, and think comparatively about processes in conflict and post-conflict transformation.

Course Structure

  • Theoretical introduction to social memory studies, conflict analysis and Conflict Transformation;
  • Collective Memory and National Calendars: collective memory, community memory, social organization of national memory, commemorative events, memory laws;
  • Memory work and memory activism in and after conflict.

Case studies may include

  • Revisiting 1948: Mnemonic Socializations & Memory Activism among Israelis & Palestinians;
  • Remembering the Wars of the 1990s? From Anti-War Activism to Memory Activism in Serbia;

 


 

Orientalism, Balkanism, Occidentalism: Thinking through discourses of "Othering" and Conflict

Dr. Jelena Tošić

Course description

This course will explore different processes and patterns of imagining and constructing “the Other” with a special focus on the way these relate to (violent) conflict, discrimination and marginalisation. The discourses of Orientalism and Balkanism – originally strongly grounded in travelogues and art – figure as hegemonic cognitive patterns of constructing the “other” up to the present. Moreover, as explored in the seminal work of Edward Said (1995 [1978]) and Maria Todorova (2009), the very self-image of the “West”/the “Occident“ is crucially based on the construction of the „Orient“, respectively the „Balkans“. The analysis of occidental discourses (e.g. Carrier 2003) of imagining “the West” also reveals analogous and intertwined patterns of “othering”.

Apart from a thorough theoretical assessment, this course will pay special attention to relevant contemporary socio-political developments and conflicts from a comparative perspective. Namely, particularly after the break-out of violent conflicts in the Balkans, the attacks of 9/11, as well as in the course of EU-Enlargement (Turkey, Eastern Enlargement), the aggravation of the migration policies (xenophobia, debates of “honour killings”, Islamophobia etc.) and the most recent interface of the rise of militant groups in the Middle East and European security policies, the pronounced strength of orientalist, balkanist, and occidentalist patterns of thought and the necessity of their critical assessment by social sciences has become more than apparent.

Grounded on close readings of key and contemporary texts from a transdisciplinary perspective the course will offer the students the framework for comparatively exploring different forms of “Othering” in relation to cases of conflict, discrimination and marginalization. Furthermore this course will provide the setting for a systematic and interdisciplinary (re)assessment of crucial notions such as: the construction of the „other“, forms of identity grammars, boundary-making, “integration”, postcolonialism, essentialisation, exotisation, “fundamentalism”, terrorism etc.

 


 

Re-thinking Europe: Multiple Positions and Minoritarian Perspectives

Dr. Jelisaveta Blagojević

Course Description

This course critically engages with the dominant narratives of defining Europe. What is Europe and what does its name stand for? Who are the proper Europeans? How is the notion of European-ness constructed? These are the questions that have haunted every European political project so far.
 
However, while one could argue that Europe has many, very different political faces, the current European political imagery seems to show almost only the ugly ones; those associated with the name of Europe and its self-centered hunger for power deeply entangled in its colonial, racist, fascist, violent, conservative and patriarchal past.
 
This course aims to critically engage in deconstructing those (majoritarian) meta-narratives, while opening a space for the multiplicity of other voices and histories, a space for “becoming minoritarian" (Deleuze and Guattari), a non-dominant, non-normative, non-canonical conceptualization of possible political futures.
 
This course is designed for students interested in Peace and Conflict Studies and/or Comparative Conflict Studies, and will offer a critical analysis of some of the structural mechanisms surrounding conflicts, as well as open possible alternative perspectives of social relations driven by different notions of the “political”, defying the request to learn how to practice power in pre-defined realm of politics, in which conflicts are inherently inscribed.
 

 

Our courses are offered to graduate students, advanced undergraduate students and professionals working in related fields.

All courses are in English.

 For all questions and information please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


 

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