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Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies




Admissions requirements



This course explores the dynamics of conflict and peace and lays foundation for a context analysis (root and proximate causes) of conflict. It examines the changing nature of contemporary conflicts as well as the changing nature of international responses to them. It examines possibilities of violent conflict prevention, transforming conflict and international community’s engagement in post-conflict peacekeeping and peace-building activities – in order to reduce the risk of a resumption of conflict and contribute to processes of reconciliation, reconstruction and recovery/development. Without understanding of the context in which interventions are situated, organizations and individuals that implement them can inadvertently exacerbate conflict. Hence, the main thing to understand from this course (on the way to develop conflict sensitivity approach) is to understand the DO NO HARM approach. This is a concentrated course with a number of case studies and concepts to absorb.

Course objectives

  • Develop skills for conflict analysis that will serve as a base for more complex concepts such as conflict sensitivity, conflict mapping, reflecting on peace practice and systems thinking approach in conflict assessment

  • Through a number of case studies, students should be able to analyse conflicts, develop and support arguments, and learn to structure and write short papers in a multi- and interdisciplinary way

  • Apply knowledge to current issues, through acquired oral and written skills

  • Put in a context theories of the nature of current conflicts and principles of peace-making, peace-keeping and peace-building activities

  • Apply analytically learned concepts and relevant literature in both review and argumentative essays.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course is taught through the two two-hour seminars per week. One seminar will be organized as a master class delivered by an expert in the field (DDR and Human security).

The formal readings and lectures are complemented by classroom discussions. Students are expected to participate actively and learn to articulate ideas and engage in discussion. The seminars also seek to clarify any outstanding questions from the readings or lectures. Students are required to do all the compulsory reading and are encouraged to explore recommended readings, but they should also feel free to complement these with readings of their choice. The compulsory and recommended readings will allow students to explore each topic in more depth and serve as stepping stone for short discussion papers and final individual project. They will also offer an opportunity for students to contribute to class discussions and raise critical comments/questions.


  • In-class participation 15%;

  • Group presentations and panel-discussions, 15%;

  • Short discussion paper, 1200-1500 words, individual contribution to group presentation, improved by the comments received in discussion after the presentation, 30%;

  • Final individual project; can be related to short discussion paper but can be about different topic, 2500 words exclusive bibliography, footnotes and diagrams, 40%.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

It’s recommended to obtain the follow book:
Mary B. Anderson (1999) Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace – or War, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., London.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Maja Vodopivec, Room 4.07, during office hours or by appointment.