Elective Graduate Courses

This description refers to the PSU Bulletin through 2018-2019

Electives: Three Recommended Areas of Emphasis

 

Graduate students are to select at least 12 credits of electives from one of the following recommended tracks and 4 credits of electives from any other area of emphasis following consultation with the student’s program advisor.

 

In exceptional cases, there will be some flexibility for students to select a combination of electives that is different from the set guidelines of the degree map. However, students may do so following consultation and permission by their advisor.  

Track 1: Violence prevention and conflict transformation

This area of emphasis focuses on interpersonal and community dynamics of violence prevention and conflict transformation, with particular attention to the processes and skills that may foster constructive resolution.  Dialogue, as a specific form of group engagement, is studied from the perspective of addressing trauma, and human needs, while developing relevant facilitation skills.  Issues related to gender are also examined, ranging from the social construction of gender to power dynamics, conflict and resolution.  Mediation processes specifically focusing on family and peer group conflict prevention and transformation are studied with a particular emphasis on practical skills. Additionally, studies of non-profit NGOs provide relevant knowledge of professional organizations working in the area of violence prevention, conflict transformation and resolution.

Recommended Courses for Track 1
 

CR 523 Dialogue Across Differences (4)
An exploration of the theory and practice of dialogue to address conflict. Dialogue includes intention, purpose, process dimensions and outcomes and is utilized in various dimensions of peace and conflict resolution efforts. Dialogue crosses disciplines, creating a common thread through the many dimensions of peace work.

CR 545 Gender and Conflict Resolution (4)
Explores the social construction of gender and its impact on conflict. Psychological theories, violence and aggression, communication styles, culture, societal structures, conflict resolution paradigms and war and peacebuilding are analyzed. Examines micro and macro issues connected to gender, peace, conflict and violence.

CR 539 Family Mediation (2)
In cases of divorce and custody Oregon State Law encourages/mandates the use of mediation. Particular concerns around power balancing, domestic violence, child-focused parenting, and other family issues will be explored. Specific training and ethical standards will be evaluated in relationships to the general practice of mediation.

CR 540 Peer Mediation (2) 
Overview of programs in the schools where youth serve as mediators to resolve conflict between other students. Focus will be on successes and challenges as well as other approaches schools undertake to respond to student conflict. Opportunity to practice conflict resolution skills and analyze conflict dynamics of race and oppression.

CR 542 Peace Education (4) 
A theoretical and practical introduction to the field of Peace Education.  Explores the philosophical, cultural, pedagogical and curricular elements of Peace Education. Develops understanding of the theory and practice of effective conflict resolution education. 

CR 517 Nonviolence (4)
Designed to acquaint students with the theories and history of nonviolence from ancient times to the present, with some speculation as to future use.

CR 547 NGOs and Civil Society (4)
Post-Cold War, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have emerged as important actors in the management and resolution of conflicts at all layers of society. Their participation enables individuals and groups to become well-informed pro-active citizens. This course will explore the multi-faceted role of non-state actors in helping societies experiencing strife, rebuild and prevent conflict.

 

The learning outcomes of this area of focus include:

  • competence in communication, facilitation and mediation skills and perspectives
  • ability to identify root causes of conflict; capacity to engage in constructive dialogue processes
  • ability to explore assumptions and stereotypes related to gender
  • knowledge of gender theories; understanding of theory and practice of conflict transformation through typologies of nonviolent social movements
  • competence in identifying successful and failed strategies of civil resistance
  • knowledge of perspectives and basic principles of peace education
  • understanding the functions and operations of civil society organizations engaged in violence prevention and conflict transformation.

Professional areas of prospective employment include:

  • Group process facilitator in professional and community, settings
  • leadership and program development positions in civil society organization working in the areas of peace and justice
  • equity focused career working in advocacy groups focusing on gender issues
  • leadership and strategy positions in organizations engaged in social movements focusing on peace and justice
  • working in research and development in the aforementioned professional areas.

 

Track 2: Justice and Healing

This area of emphasis focuses on intergroup conflict dynamics entailing injustice and violations that require healing and transformation as a prerequisite for building sustainable peace. Particular attention is given to the phenomenon of “evil” and “hate,” and the stereotypes that emerge from them, as well as to the transitional dynamics of forgiveness.  Storytelling and sharing of pain and suffering between current and former adversaries is also studied as an inter-group, community process of acknowledging the violations and injuries committed as a contributor to healing, reconciliation and restoration. Moreover, peace education and transitional processes serving justice are examined as vital factors in sustainable peacebuilding. 

 

Recommended Courses for Track 2
 

CR 516 Evil and Hate (4)
Explores the breakdown in dialog surrounding the stereotyping and dehumanization of those who we view as "evil doers." Challenges unreflective use of the terms, "hatred" and "evil" in political rhetoric, creating a dangerous "us and them" dichotomy and making reconciliation across cultures and viewpoints nearly impossible.

CR 519 Forgiveness and Atonement (4) 
Explores both the theoretical and practical advantages and difficulties with forgiveness and atonement. Emphasis on how forgiveness and atonement inform conflict resolution practices.

CR 510 Topics in Restorative Justice (4)
Seminar course explores topics in restorative justice of particular salience to participants including theory, restorative practices in schools, community led restorative initiatives, institutional hybrids and partnerships with restorative justice in juvenile and criminal justice settings. 

CR 548 Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding
Transitional justice is a powerful tool for helping societies cope with tragedies and human rights violations. This course will explore the plethora of legal and non-legal initiatives including trials and reparations for victims, to bring closure, healing, and foster reconciliation in societies experiencing political and social strife.

CR 541 Storytelling and Conflict Resolution (4) 
Storytelling plays a role in limiting, creating and sustaining creative conflict resolution. Critical thinking and deliberate analysis, used to deconstruct the grand narratives of dominant discourse, explore counter narratives emerging from the margins, and examine how resolution-and social change-has surfaced as a result.

CR 510 Love and CR: What's Love Got to Do With it? (4)  
This course explores the understanding of love as something more robust than merely a greeting card sentiment, and more substantive than a sexualized or romanticized commodity. Delving into the practical and mystical world of love, we recognize love as the very work of conflict resolution: encouraging engagement, fostering connection, and bridging differences.

 

The learning outcomes of this area of focus include:

  • ability to identify the conditions that give rise to acts of hate and cruelty
  • understanding the impact of direct or institutional violence and the trauma that results from it
  • competence in addressing the needs of trauma victims; ability to design, manage and implement processes of healing and transformation
  • capacity to building peace through processes fostering transitional and restorative justice

Professional areas of prospective employment include:

  • organizations engaged in truth and reconciliation initiatives
  • restorative practice and restorative justice work in institutional settings such as family, schools, juvenile or adult incarceration, probation and parole, re-entry, transition programming and community justice
  • local and international organizations involved in trauma-informed and trauma-healing work
  • working in research and development in the aforementioned professional areas

 

Track 3: Structural Peacebuilding and Development

This area of emphasis focuses on intra-state and international peace and conflict studies with a view on the range of perspectives, instruments and institutions of conflict transformation and peacebuilding. The phenomenon of nationalism as a historical driver of violent revolution, identity conflict and ethnic cleansing is critically examined. The dynamics of globalization and the challenges they pose to nations and societies are also examined from the perspective of peace and conflict. Moreover, Human Rights as a foundation and a framework for conflict resolution is examined in relation to both intra-state and international peacebuilding.  The study of dialogue as a constructive process of addressing trauma, grievances and vital human needs furnishes relevant skills and perspectives for structural and institutional conflict transformation and peacebuilding. Additionally, studies of non-profit NGOs provide relevant knowledge of professional organizations working in the area of intra-state and international conflict resolution.

 

Recommended Courses for Track 3
 

CR 527 Nationalism & Ethnic Conflict (4)
From a conflict-resolution perspective the course will entail an in-depth, interdisciplinary inquiry into leading perspectives and theories of nationalism. From a historical vantage point, nationalism will be examined as a determinant factor of international and interethnic conflict.

Through multiple case studies, nationalism, in its recurrent and widespread appearance, will be examined and assessed in terms of its socio-political and cultural patterns, including nationalism’s view of violence and phenomena of ethnic cleansing. Pathways toward post-nationalist peace and democracy will also be examined.

CR 523 Dialogue Across Differences (4)
An exploration of the theory and practice of dialogue to address conflict. Dialogue includes intention, purpose, process dimensions and outcomes and is utilized in various dimensions of peace and conflict resolution efforts. Dialogue crosses disciplines, creating a common thread through the many dimensions of peace work.

CR 546 Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (4)
Human rights are fundamental inalienable rights of the individual that are necessary for a life with human dignity. Their violation leads to conflict and instability. Students will learn about the role of key actors and core elements to promoting human rights as a conflict resolution mechanism around the world. 

CR 547 NGOs and Civil Society (4)
Post-Cold War, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have emerged as important actors in the management and resolution of conflicts at all layers of society. Their participation enables individuals and groups to become well-informed pro-active citizens. This course will explore the multi-faceted role of non-state actors in helping societies experiencing strife, rebuild and prevent conflict.

CR 543 Nationalism and Democracy in Post 9/11 World
Examines the rise of American nationalism in the aftermath of the 9/11 and its impact on America’s relationship to the world. From a peace and conflict studies perspective, the narrative of American nationalism is investigated in contrast to the narrative of American democracy, examining their implications for war and peace. Attention will also be given to the policy implications of the two narratives and impact on developments in the Middle East in light of decade protracted wars, jihadism and the rise of ISIS. 
 

The learning outcomes of this area of focus include:

  • competence in identifying and diagnosing nationalism as a driver of intra-state and international ethnic conflict
  • capacity to develop conflict resolution strategies and policies that transcend ethnocentric nationalist conflict
  • ability to promote and implement post-nationalist peacebuilding strategies and institution building
  • gain understanding of multiple frameworks for peacebuilding in international development
  • become familiar with different aspects of conflict transformation from the prism of human rights at the individual, community and structural levels; critically analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the existing international system
  • explore the utility of multilateral diplomacy, international law, international institutions, and citizens' organizations for developing more peaceful and just international relationships
  • ability to articulate key dilemmas facing peacebuilders and human rights activists in real-life situations and interact with an ethical framework for guiding practice
  • competence in communication, facilitation and mediation skills and perspectives.