Spring 2015 - 61155 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Conflict Management

This course examines the theory and practice of conflict management by international actors in internal conflicts.  It focuses on the prospect for mainly peaceful international intervention at three moments in the life-cycle of such conflicts: (1) to prevent the conflict from becoming violent; (2) to mitigate violence after it breaks out; (3) to resolve the conflict so as to terminate violence.

During the first half of the semester, the course will critically analyze the theoretical literature to assess what is known (and with what level of confidence) about the above topics.  During the second half of the semester, students will write an in-depth research paper (25 pages), employing a rigorous theory-testing methodology, and present their interim findings in class.  Each paper will examine a distinct instance of attempted conflict management that succeeded or failed in order to test or illustrate some aspect of the theoretical literature.  The topic and research design of each paper must be approved in advance by the professor, typically requiring students to revise their proposals several times.