2013 Summer School in Comparative Conflict Studies

TransConflict is pleased to announce the 2013 Summer School in Comparative Conflict Studies organised by the Centre for Comparative Conflict Studies (CFCCS) from 1-8 July.

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This year, the Centre is offering 4 courses.

1. The Politics of Land and Identity – States and Minorities in Conflict – Prof. Oren Yiftachel

Course Description

The course will deal with the interactions between states, identities and geographies in the making of ethnic relations. It will be divided into three main parts:

  • First, a review of theories and concepts dealing with minority-majority conflicts in modern states, with a special emphasis on spatial aspects such as land, settlement, borders and development. The lectures and discussions will review the historical and colonial origins of these conflicts, and develop an analytical and conceptual language to help analyze key factors shaping their political geographies.
  • Second, the course will compare and contrast international cases of ethnic conflicts, focusing on ‘ethnocratic’ states, such as Canada, Northern Ireland, Serbia, Cyprus, Lebanon, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Estonia and Malaysia, and draw lessons and insights from such comparisons. It will also draw attention to the growing urbanization of ethnic conflict and their relations to processes of globalization, indigenization and immigration.
  • Third, the course will explore the political geography of Israel/Palestine as a key site for understanding the evolving nature of ethnic conflict. It will examine not only the special circumstances of the struggle between Zionists and Palestinians, but also the manner in which the question of Israel/Palestine has assumed an international status, and now provides a hyper example of conflicts typifying the globalizing world in the 21st Century.

2. International Intervention in a Globalised World – Dr. Maxine David

Course Description

The fundamental organising principle in the international system has long been one of state sovereignty. Thus, states are considered to have authority over a defined and internationally recognised territory, protected from external intervening forces. The associated principle of non-intervention has been challenged in more recent times by successive interventions into the sovereign affairs of states by international organisations, notably the United Nations and NATO, as well as other states. In the early 2000s the international “community” adopted the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), widely debated by reason of the obligations it places on states to protect the wellbeing of their citizens and the vulnerability of states to outside interventions when they fail to protect those citizens. As a result, it is reasonable to ask whether the principle of sovereignty has been superseded by the principle of human rights protection.

In this course, students will be introduced to the underpinning concepts and competing understandings of 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 international intervention and will apply this knowledge to a few of the case studies that have been particularly significant in respect of developing international-level responses to crises.

Course Structure:

  • Introduction to key concepts – Sovereignty, human rights, intervention, responsibility
  • International Relations theories – What do different IR theories have to say about intervention? How much do they help our understanding of what actually happens?
  • Actors I – States and International Organisations
  • Actors II – The Media, Public Opinion
  • Case Studies:
    • a. Northern Iraq 1999-2001.State interests and responsibilities: The role of perception and misperception in legitimising intervention.
    • b. Yugoslavia in the 1990s: “Humanitarian” Interventions?
    • c. Darfur 2005-9: Wherefore the responsibility to protect?
    • d. Burma 2008: Understanding human rights in environmental disasters
    • e. Libya 2011 & Syria 2011-12: The role of the public and media in shaping governmental responses

3. The Role of Social Memory Studies in Conflict Analysis and Transformation – Dr. Orli Fridman

Course Description

This course will explore the role and contribution of Social Memory Studies to the study of Conflict Analysis and Conflict Transformation. The way societies collectively remember and forget is central to the understanding and analysis of dynamics of conflict as well as of post-conflict. The way entire communities (and not only individuals) preserve and remember the past, commemorate it, or deny and obliterate it, can deepen our understanding of peace and conflict studies. Additionally, memory work and the creation of mnemonic communities can shed light on processes in conflict transformation and its practices.

In this course, students will be introduced to some underpinning concepts in social memory studies and in conflict studies. Students will then apply this knowledge to a number of case studies, allowing them to further investigate the role of memory in conflict analysis and conflict transformation. In each of the case studies students will be introduced to current memory work of local activist groups as related to efforts to transform violent pasts.
Course Structure:
  • Theoretical introduction – Social memory studies, Conflict Analysis and Conflict Transformation;
  • Collective Memory and National Calendars – Collective memory, community memory, social organization of national memory, commemorative events
  • Case studies may include:
    • Memory, history and asymmetric power relations: the memory of 1948 in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict;
    • Memory and Denial: the Memory and commemoration of Srebrenica in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina;
    • Memory and Amnesia: the memory of the Spanish Civil War and transition to democracy;
    • Memory and state building processes in Kosovo after 1999

4. From the Discourse of Brotherhood and Unity to the Discourses of EU Integration – the Case of ‘Transition’ in Serbia – Dr. Jelisaveta Blagojević

Course Description

Since the time when Serbia was one of the six republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ), the country has been through very difficult cultural, political and ideological challenges and changes. While the dominant socialist ideology in former Yugoslavia, organized around Tito’s idea of “brotherhood and unity”, helped to pacify and diminish differences between various ethnic and religious groups, Serbian society during the period of the Milošević regime has deployed different ideological patterns characterized by national pride, territorial integrity, and the policy of “all Serbs in one country” politics. These ideas were brought together under the banner of securing national and cultural identity, as well as territorial integrity.

In dominant political and ideological discourses, contemporary Serbian society is most often characterized as a society “in transition”, colloquially referred to as “Serbia after democratic changes”. In such discourses, everything in Serbia in the past 15 years is “in transition”: the justice system, the economy and culture, but also our lives, our freedoms and our rights. Our recent historical trans experience generally refers to the path from communism and socialism to capitalism and liberal democracy, recognized as synonymous with European Union (EU) integration. At the same time, while “transiting” from one ideology to another, Serbian society is carrying the heavy burden of recent historical events: wars, ethnic cleansing, isolation and the collapse of all institutions, among others.

Course themes:

The course will be organized around four concepts:

  • a) community;
  • b) friend/enemy;
  • c) minorities and;
  • d) popular culture.

The aim of this course is to understand the transition from the dominant Yugoslav ideology to what came after in Serbia through the analysis of changes in the discourses that organize the four concepts above. Discussion will focus on Serbia as well as on comparisons with the other successor states of the former Yugoslavia.

Course Structure:

  • 1. Background and introduction to the breakup of Yugoslavia
  • 2. Post-Milosevic Serbia
  • 3. Serbia in transition: community
  • 4. Serbia in transition: concepts of friend/enemy
  • 5. Serbia in transition: minorities
  • 6. Serbia in transition: popular culture


Participation in the 2013 Summer School in Comparative Conflict Studies is open to undergraduate, graduate students, NGO leaders and activists from all countries.

Language instruction in all courses is English. Students who complete the course requirements may transfer the course credit to their home institution (5 ECTS).

Please click here for further information and the application form!

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