Peace and Conflict Studies Academic Program
Units of Study
The Peace and Conflict Studies coursework program includes the Units of Study listed below. Not all units in the program are offered in every calendar year.
For more information on the session details for units of study on offer in 2016, please see the DPACS timetable.
Core and Capstone Units for Students enrolling from 2016
|PACS6911 Key Issues in Peace and Conflict Studies||PACS6904/PACS6905 Dissertation Part 1 and 2|
|PACS6915 Human Rights, Peace and Justice||SCLG6913/SCLG6914 Social Justice Internship Part 1 and 2|
|PACS6931 Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice||
|PACS6921 Peace of Mind: The Psychology of Peace|
PACS 6901 United Nations, Peace and Security
PACS 6902 Reconciliation and Conflict Transformation
PACS 6907 Gender, Peace and Justice
PACS 6909 Cultures of Violence
PACS 6912 Nonviolence: Philosophy and Practice
PACS 6913 Conflict in Organisations
PACS 6914 Conflict-Resolving Media
PACS 6917 Religion, War and Peace
PACS 6921 Peace of Mind: The Psychology of Peace
PACS 6922 Peaceful Conflict Transformation
PACS 6923 The Human Right to Food
PACS 6924 Democracy in the Developing World
PACS 6925 Peace and the Global Compact
PACS 6926 Peace and Conflict in Southeast Asia
PACS 6927 Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding
PACS 6928 Community Mediation, Theory and Practice
PACS 6930 Ethics for a Sustainable Peace
PACS 6934 Conflict-Sensitive Development Practice
ECOP 6019 Political Economy of Conflict and Peace
Core Electives (not currently on offer)
PACS 6903 Peace and the Environment
PACS 6906 Faith, Politics and the Clash of Civilisations
PACS 6908 Interactive Conflict Resolution
PACS 6910 Peace Through Tourism
PACS 6916 Passion, Peace and Poetry
PACS 6918 History and Philosophy of Peace and Conflict
PACS 6926 Peace and Conflict in Southeast Asia
PACS 6929 Information Interventions in Conflict.
PACS 2002 History and Politics of War and Peace (not currently on offer).
KOCR3602 Race, Racism and Indigenous Australia.
This unit will examine the history of the causes of war and the processes and outcomes of peacemaking, with particular emphasis on attempts to limit the frequency and severity of war and the creation of instruments of collective security, notably after the Thirty Years War (Treaty of Westphalia, 1746), the Revolutionary Napoleonic Wars (the Congress of Vienna, 1815), the First World War (the League of Nations, 1919), and the Second World War (the United Nations, 1945).
In this unit students critically examine the role of the United Nations in promoting international peace and security. Contemporary and historical case studies such as Rwanda, Iraq and East Timor are used to analyse the UN's performance in relation to such activities as peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and peace enforcement. We assess the challenges facing the UN in achieving its mandate and implementing reform with a view to attaining peace with justice.
The concepts of apology, forgiveness, reconciliation and justice are explored as they apply to the transformation of conflicts and building of peaceful relationships and societies. Psychological, spiritual, legal, structural and political dimensions of reconciliation are considered in the context of case studies from the local, national and international arenas. Students are challenged to critically assess the reconciliation process between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, and to examine a range of reconciliation and restorative justice mechanisms including truth and reconciliation commissions, youth justice conferencing and indigenous rituals. Case studies include South Africa, Bougainville, East Timor and Rwanda. Students are encouraged to develop their own ideas about reconciliation and conflict transformation through self-awareness, class discussions and role play exercises, and to link their ideas to those of theorists and practitioners in the field.
This unit offers a cross-disciplinary perspective on peace and the environment. Whilst its focus is on new ideas and approaches from peace and conflict studies, it also draws upon overlapping fields of inquiry. These overlapping fields include environmental studies, cultural geography and urban planning, creative arts and design, critical pedagogy and media literacy, feminist studies of violence and environmental issues, Aboriginal studies and questions of relationships to land, and critical futures studies. The major questions that students are invited to reflect on in some depth are: What makes for ‘peaceful environments’? What are the challenges locally and globally? How might such environments be enabled and sustained now and in the future? What rethinking may be necessary?
There is an urban environment walk component in the course, and contributions from a number of guest lecturers and panellists, including Dr Ariel Salleh and Dr Mark Diesendorf. Drawing upon both peace education and environmental education, students are encouraged to work cooperatively on a joint presentation on a topic relevant to the course. Students are required to complete three assessment tasks: a group presentation, an essay and a reflection on class participation and learning.
Research and writing toward a dissertation of 12000-15000 words on an approved topic under the supervision of an academic member of staff. MPACS only. Department permission required.
For more information on the requirements for the dissertation capstone, please contact the Dissertation Coordinator.
This unit allows students to examine the notion that a fundamental cleavage exists between ‘Western civilisation’ and other civilisations - especially the ‘Muslim world’. Students are challenged to explore several case study conflicts using both the ‘clash of civilisations’ paradigm of Samuel P. Huntington and the ‘Orientalist’ discourse of Edward Said. The unit enables students to consider whether the conflicts being investigated demonstrate a civilisational clash, as well as to explore sources of conflict beyond civilisational clashes and to consider recent scholarship that challenges the Huntington thesis.
This unit of study explores theories of how 'gender' is understood as a concept and the implications for peace and justice, with particular reference to conflict and post-conflict situations. The unit addresses factors intersecting with gender (such as race, caste, class, sexuality) and encourages students to develop a multidimensional analytical framework. The unit looks at 'real world' case studies of how different approaches to gender manifest in violence against women, international law, peace-building, human rights, transitional justice, development and structural inequality.
This unit builds on the conflict analysis and resolution skills introduced in the core unit. The focus of the unit is on advanced theoretical and practical assessment of various methods of conflict resolution and transformation in a peacebuilding context. Students learn how to analyse conflict situations and to design appropriate intervention strategies, including organising and facilitating workshops, consideration of ethical issues and funding, and follow-up and evaluation. Case studies, role plays and simulations are used to illustrate and develop skills in techniques such as dialogue, training and problem-solving workshops.
This unit studies the cultural contexts, origins, meaning and leading varieties of ‘violence’ in the modern world. How violence has been defined historically, its character and prevalence in different times and places, and changes in public perceptions, media presentation, tolerance, prevention and prosecution are examined. Topics such as violence in the home, sport, public protest, sexual and racial relations, terrorism, torture, genocide, warfare, youth culture and the criminal justice system are considered.
Tourism not only flourishes in peaceful environments but may also contribute to the achievement of peace. Starting with the dichotomy of tourism as an industry versus tourism as a social force, this unit investigates the social science perspective of tourism as a catalyst for peace. Topics covered include equity and justice issues, sustainability, international citizenship, globalisation, education and reconciliation tourism. A close examination of the historical phenomenon of social tourism and the effect of contemporary neo-liberal economic principles on the social value of tourism are undertaken. The unit also assesses the contention of such bodies as the World Tourism Organisation that tourism is a force for peace.
This unit introduces students to theories of peace, conflict and violence. It demonstrates the interdisciplinary character of peace and conflict studies and the application of theories and methods across the spectrum of conflict types from intrapersonal and interpersonal, to community, interethnic and international. Students gain an understanding of the nature of social conflict, causes of violence and the meanings of peace, as well as conflict analysis and resolution and the means of achieving peace with justice in different conflict settings.
Nonviolence is a core concept and practice in peace and conflict studies. This unit offers students the opportunity to assess the relevance of the philosophy, language and skills of nonviolence in contemporary conflicts and to evaluate the record of nonviolence in achieving social change in the cause of peace with justice. Students also learn about group process as a means of comprehending the potential for creative use of nonviolence in social and community development, in education and in ‘politics’. Specific topics include: approaches advocated by Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Aung San Suu Kyi; manifestations of nonviolence in the language of peace negotiations; analysis of how commitments to nonviolence advance understanding of democracy and civil society and thus influence principles of citizenship and human rights; and appraisal of the relevance of nonviolence to questions about national identity and policy priorities in the 21st century.
People spend a large part of their lives dealing with organisations. Organisations require close proximity and communication between people, often under pressure. This unit analyses organisations and diagnoses dysfunctional practices. It explores conflict/consensus theories and organisational politics. Culture and the relevance of peace with justice in the workplace are explored, and theory and skills that lead toward satisfying outcomes are examined and practised. Students will learn to apply tools to resolve conflict in the workplace and achieve peace with justice.
The potential of the media to prevent or moderate violence begs to be discussed, evaluated and mobilised. This unit examines media representations of conflict and the influence of the media on the behaviour of those involved. It introduces creative ways for journalists, media development workers and media activists to apply principles of conflict resolution. Students diagnose ‘war journalism’ and ‘peace journalism’, and analyse conflict in a journalism context. Theories of news and concepts of objectivity and responsibility are critically explored. Students gain practical skills in peace journalism and media activism as well as devising media interventions in conflict-affected areas that could contribute to transformation of that conflict.
This unit explores the philosophy and development of the idea of human rights and the international human rights regime as a means of promoting peace with justice through understanding and attaining human rights. Legal instruments and mechanisms, political strategies, humanitarian challenges and moral imperatives for implementing human rights locally and internationally are identified and discussed. Debates considered include those surrounding the universality and indivisibility of human rights, existence of group rights, ethics of humanitarian intervention and specific rights such as those of refugees, minorities and indigenous peoples.
In governments’ deliberations about ending conflicts and in the UN representatives’ conduct of peacebuilding, the influence of poets and poetry is left mostly unacknowledged. This unit explores how the message of anti-war poets, from diverse cultures and traditions, expresses the meaning of peace and non-violence including protection of the environment. It identifies ways in which peace negotiators – such as former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarsjköld – were inspired by poets. The unit focuses on poetry but also encourages students to tap other literature that has explored the meanings of peace and thereby inspired individuals and social movements.
Religion has been blamed as a source of conflict and yet religions are also a source of philosophies and practices of peace. In this unit students gain an appreciation of the peace traditions, attitudes towards violence, and peacebuilding practice in the world’s major religions, focusing on Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The role of religion in determining ethical boundaries of human behaviour is explored in relation to pacifism, nonviolence, just war and humanitarian intervention. Case studies of religious wars and peacemaking are drawn from history as well as contemporary examples.
This unit explores the meaning and origins of theoretical frameworks of peace and conflict studies, in the history of ideas and philosophy. Topics covered include the philosophies behind such normative concepts as sovereignty, rights and duties, democracy, cosmopolitanism, international law and human rights, just war, transitional justice, conflict containment and resolution. Students learn to recognise and critique political theories and ethical notions connected to the promotion of international peace, such as liberalism, republicanism, universalism, cultural relativism and postmodernism.
Peace psychology plays a vital role in understanding violence – from domestic abuse and community violence to war and genocide. This unit examines how psychological processes, both cognitive and emotional, individual and collective, combine with external factors such as socioeconomic injustice and discrimination in causing violence. We explore how these psychological insights can help prevent and resolve violent conflicts, by developing approaches to peacemaking which address psychological needs and fears which focus on attaining “peace of mind”.
This unit of study examines the dynamics of conflict employing scientific and mathematical formulae and principles. We consider the application of these principles: to micro-conflicts, within and between individuals; meso-conflicts, within societies; macro-conflicts, among states and nations; and mega-conflicts, among regions and civilizations. There will be an examination of 'deep culture' and 'deep structure', the underlying dynamics which predispose societies, states, nations and regions to particular forms of response to conflict issues.
Participants in this course should gain an understanding of recent developments relating to the human right to adequate food, and also develop skill in applying it in specific contexts. Goals include learning about the nature of rights systems generally; the content and character of the international human rights system, in the framework of international law; the historical foundations of the human right to adequate food; the meaning of the human right to adequate food as it has been clarified since the World Food Summit of 1996; the application of the human right to adequate food in various contexts, e.g., in specific countries, and in relation to refugees, infants, drinking water, prisons, etc. With these foundations, participants should become capable of working with others to enhance our shared understanding of the meaning and uses of the right to food. This work should also build skills in formulating proposals for policy and legislation to assure realisation of the human right to adequate food in specific contexts.
Comparative consideration of different concepts of democratisation and development, including criteria for compiling country development indices and typologies of democracy. Experiences of implanting and/or imposing democracy – Japan, Iraq and others. The Pan-Pacific model of development, and the pros and cons of using authoritarian means to achieve it - Indonesia under Suharto, Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew. Relationships between development, conflict and poverty. Do elections lead to more democracy? More development? Or allow authoritarian winners to institutionalise their power?
In-depth critical exploration of the context, concept and development of the UN Global Compact for business. Examination of theoretical underpinnings of the notion of corporate social responsibility and the role business can and should play in pursuit of peace and justice. Human rights principles; labour rights principles and environmental principles - where do they come from and how can they be applied in different situations? The role of business in zones of conflict and enabling economies of peace. All considered in light of up-to-date case studies and experience.
The course is on development, conflict and democratisation in Southeast Asia. It provides theoretical frameworks (tools of analysis) on development, conflict, and democratisation. The core component consists of an introduction to the region’s environment, history and patterns of development, conflict, and democratisation; a country by country and a regional and global analysis of these issues. Southeast Asia: Development, Conflict, and Democratisation is an opportunity for students to gain an understanding of a region particularly relevant to Australia’s future. It is organized to help students question the meaning and direction of change and better understand the changing human landscape. It is structured to develop students creative genius regarding the meaning of power, development, democracy, conflict and peace, and delivered to stimulate their interests and advance their pursuit of knowledge.
Transitional justice is a rapidly emerging interdisciplinary field of study focussing on processes dealing with past human rights violations and the transition to a more peaceful and democratic state. This unit examines the evolution of transitional justice theory and practice, including truth commissions, trials and traditional practices, in such contexts as post-apartheid South Africa and post-genocide Cambodia and Rwanda. Issues discussed include the various types of justice, accountability, truth, reconciliation and reparations, and the challenges of balancing justice and peace.
This unit of study will focus on the theory and practical application of facilitation, communication and conflict resolution skills in a community mediation context. Students will learn about various models of community mediation and will become skilled in the stages of community mediation through role-plays and simulation exercises. Successful completion of this unit of study will equip students for possible accreditation as a community mediator in Australia, as well as providing students with transferable skills and knowledge about mediation.
This unit of study will focus on the theory and practical application of intervention in conflict and conflict-affected societies in the domains of information and communication. Different and, in some cases, competing theories will be critically reviewed, including ‘modernisation’ and the ‘information society’ model, along with the notion of a ‘new world information and communication order’; the emerging field of Communication For Social Change; the dependencia school and critical pedagogy as a means of training for information and communication actors in conflict.
PACS 6930 provides participants with an understanding of key ethical challenges presented by the culture of violence and of ethical principles for guiding a response to these challenges. To that end, they will learn to apply a framework consisting of these ethical principles to 1) assess social conditions and events that obstruct the achievement of a culture of sustainable peace and 2) incorporate the ethical dimension into planning for such a culture.
This unit of study introduces students to the theory and practice of conflict analysis and resolution. Students will gain an understanding of the various methods of conflict management, resolution and transformation, and will learn skills that can be applied across the spectrum of conflict types from interpersonal, family and community, to inter-ethnic and international.
Work intensively in a peace-focused domestic or international organisation, to gain a working knowledge of practical applications of peace with justice. Supervised by the organisation, students will undertake a specific focused task and work with faculty to draw links with theoretical issues of peace with justice. MPACS only. Department permission required.
For more information on the internship capstone, please contact the Internship Coordinator.
International aid efforts operating in a conflict-affected context sometimes feed conflict rather than alleviate it. This unit is designed as a practical, skills-based intensive course on conflict-sensitive approaches, nowadays a core operating principle among international peacebuilding, development and humanitarian organisations. Incorporating the latest and best international practices, including the groundbreaking 'Do No Harm' methodology, this course is taught in a collaborative seminar format and is suitable for professionals or advanced postgraduate students wishing to engage in field-based work.
Work intensively in Australia on a peace-focused project of advocacy or activism. Supervised by faculty, students will organise and publicise a discrete action or series of actions, then write a reflective article drawing links with theoretical issues of peace with justice. MPACS only. Department permission required.
For more information on the advocacy and activism capstone, please contact the Advocacy and Activism Coordinator
Co-offered and co-taught with the department of Political Economy.
This unit will examine the economic bases of conflict in society at large. It will consider sources of conflict in the relations between market and state; capital and labour, and between national economies in the context of current processes of globalisation. Students will analyse issues of conflict as evidenced in industrial relations, crime, terrorism and war. They will consider economic and political drivers predisposing societies toward violent, or non-violent responses respectively. They will study how to enhance the prospects for peace with justice, by such means as regulation of market economies, corporate social responsibility, and mediation between the interests of stakeholders in economic activities.