MSFS-582 Identity and Conflict
Fall for 2013-2014
This course will introduce students to the concept of identity and its various components – racial, ethnic, religious, national – and explore how and why issues of identity often are at the core of contemporary international conflicts. We also will investigate the unique challenges that face negotiators and mediators when trying to manage identity-based conflicts.
We will define conflict very broadly, looking not only at the role of identity in violent or potentially violent conflicts (such as the Balkans, India-Pakistan, Cyprus, and Israeli-Palestinian situations) but also in other types of international interaction (such as the debate over Turkey’s accession to the EU, immigration and migration, and even international commercial transactions).
The goal will be for the student to come away with a better understanding of the role that issues of identity play, even if indirectly, in many contemporary international conflicts, and to be better equipped to recognize and assess identity issues when they are present. Although parts of the course will be theoretical, the thrust is practical, reflecting the fact that identity issues are real, volatile, and have a pronounced impact on the way in which international conflicts unfold. The role of identity in international interaction shows no signs of lessening.
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