2016 International SUMMER SCHOOL IN COMPARATIVE CONFLICT STUDIES 

June 27 to July 4, 2016
Center for Comparative Conflict Studies at the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK),

Singidunum University, Belgrade

 

The 7th International Summer School in Comparative Conflict Studies provides a learning opportunity for students interested in 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, 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. 

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

Deadline to submit applications: March 25, 2016.

We are now receiving applications for the following five courses:

(Applicants can attend only one course from this list)

 

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.

 


 

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.

 


 

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 way 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.

The Bosnia-Hercegovina Case Study will be taught by Dr. Nicolas Moll, who will join the course as a guest lecturer.

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;
  • Memory Politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Nothing but Ethnonationalism and Divisions? This case study will be taught by Dr. Nicolas Moll.

 


 

From Brotherhood and Unity to EU Integration: The shades of politics in Serbia

Dr. Jelisaveta Blagojević

Course Description

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

  • Background and introduction to the breakup of Yugoslavia
  • Post-Milosevic Serbia
  • Serbia in transition: community
  • Serbia in transition: concepts of friend/enemy
  • Serbia in transition: minorities
  • Serbia in transition: popular culture

 


 

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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