FYS 069

Fall 2008



TEXT:   Christie, D.J., Wagner, R.V., and Winter, D.D. (Eds.) (2001). Peace, Conflict and Violence: Peace Psychology for the 21st Century.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.  (CWW) Access online at:


Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology (PAC); access online in library


Journal of Social Issues (JSI), 2006, vol. 62; access online in library


5 articles on reserve in library



Date                Topic                                                  Assignment


Sept.   T   2    Introduction                                      Christie et al (attachment)

            Th 4    Theoretical bases of conflict           Rubin pp 11-26 (on reserve); White                                                                                              PAC 10: 399-409


            T   9    Direct & structural violence           Schwebel/Christie CWW #10;                                                                                                       Mazurana/McKay CWW #11

            Th 11  Ingroup/outgroup/enemy group    Niens /Cairns CWW #3; Shaheen (2)                                                                                            (on  reserve); Maoz (attachmt)


            M 15   No class                                             Paper #1 due

            T  16   Contentious tactics                          Bennett PAC 13: 391-2; McCauley                                                                                              PAC 13: 399-410

            Th 18  Torture is for amateurs                     Arrigo/Bennett: PAC 13: 411-421;                                                                                                Wagner PAC 13: 451-455;                                                                                                             Opotow PAC 13: 457-461


            T  23   Terrorism                                            Wagner (handout)

            Th 25  Responses to terrorism                    McCauley (on reserve);                                                                                                      (10:30:Writing Workshop visit)


            M 29 No class                                             Paper #2 due

            T  30   Escalation                                          Staub CWW #6

Oct.     Th  2   Competition & militarism               Miedzian (on reserve); Winter/Pilisuk                                                                                           CWW #12                            


            T   7    Meeting needs; changing beliefs   Agger CWW #20; Litvak PAC 9:                                                                                                  127-148

            Th  9   Interaction and communication     Kelman PAC 14, 1: 28-60


            M  13 No class                                             Paper #3 due

            T   14  Educating for peace                                    Coleman/Deutsch CWW #19

            Th 16 No class – October break


            T   21  Conflict resolution                           Sanson/Bretherton CWW #17

            Th 23 Mediation                                          TBA   


            M  27 No class                                             Paper #4 due

            T   28  Realistic empathy                             Blight/Lang PAC 10: 349-368

            Th 30  International negotiation                Salem (on reserve)   


Nov.   T   4     Truth and reconciliation                  de la Rey CWW #21; Hamper PAC                                                                                               13: 115-125

            Th 6    Psychosocial reconstruction          Wessells /Monteiro CWW #22


            M  10 No class                                             Paper #5 due

            T   11   Structural peacebuilding                 Montiel CWW #23

            Th 13  Conclusions                                                  CWW pp 363-371


            T  18   Student presentations

            Th 20  Student presentations


            T  25   No class – Thanksgiving break

            Th 27  No class – Thanksgiving break


Dec.    T   2    Student presentations

            Th 4    Student presentations        


            M   8   Final paper due at noon: no exceptions




Conduct of the course


   I am very pleased that you are joining me in a quest to see how psychological concepts can be used to enhance our understanding of peace and conflict at all levels of analysis - from the interpersonal to the group to the community to the national and international levels.  The value comes from trying out different ideas, “playing” with them intellectually, and understanding them in terms of our interpersonal relationships (e.g., friends and family), our communities (e.g., neighborhood, school), our nation(s) and our world.  Conflict continues to be the overriding issue facing us and our world and is certainly interrelated with other critical social problems like environmental pollution, poverty, and hunger. Yet, psychologists have only recently begun systematic efforts to understand peace and conflict: by the end of 2008, you may well know more about psychology and peace and conflict than do 98% of the professional psychologists in this country today!


   We have a “textbook”: Christie, D.J., Wagner, R.V., and Winter, D.D. (Eds.) (2001). Peace, Conflict and Violence: Peace Psychology for the 21st Century. Thanks to the generosity of the wonderful editors, it is available free online: I’d advise you to download all the articles assigned (Chapters 3, 6, 10, 11, 12, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, and the conclusion) all as soon as possible because I have had trouble connecting to this link upon occasion. This should serve as a home base for us, providing a degree of organizational stability ... which may be necessary because the remainder of the assigned readings are individual articles (1) on reserve, (2) in Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology (PAC), or (3) in the Journal of Social Issues (JSI), 2006, v. 62. You can access the PAC and JSI articles online through the Bates library. I will also email you an attachment of an article or two hot off (or just about to be) the press. A few of these articles and chapters are easy, a few less so; most are reasonable for intelligent people such as yourselves.  All of the chapters in the book, as well as the articles in the journal are “cutting edge” articles written in the past decade, several in the past year.


   Our seminar will be run informally.  All of you will be expected to participate and to feel responsible for the conduct of class sessions.  I will be responsible for ensuring that the goals expressed in the first paragraph are achieved by the methods described in this and succeeding paragraphs.  It is essential that you complete the reading for a given class before that class is held and that you review that reading for a few minutes prior to the class session.  I seldom lecture - though I may occasionally talk a lot in our review of a particular concept or a particular conflict setting.




  There will be five short papers required, due on the dates indicated below.  We will talk about the topics for each as the due date approaches, but basically they are to be 3-or-so page thoughtful analyses of the material covered in the preceding two weeks.  Then there is a final major paper - 10-15 pages in length - consisting of a psychological analysis of a particular conflict or type of conflict that you have read about and gathered research on. You will also prepare a 10-minute presentation on your final topic, to be given in class during the last two weeks. We’ll talk more about this during the semester.  It is my hope that you will become (or continue to be) a clear writer by the end of the semester ... or at least know what aspects of writing you need to work on.


We are very fortunate to have a peer writing assistant for our FYS: Leigh Smadbeck. Leigh is a junior majoring in psychology and minoring in education. Her role as a PWA is to meet with each of you one-on-one to help with all aspects of the writing process, including the planning, drafting, and revising of your papers for this class. Set up your writing conferences by contacting Leigh on her cell phone (914) 224-3178 or by email ( 



Paper due dates:


Mondays: Sept. 15 and Sept 29; Oct. 13 and 27; Nov.  10: Short papers due.


Monday, December 8:  Final paper due<<12 noon>>no exceptions              


Grading:         Short papers  (5 @ 10%)     50%

                        Final paper                            35%

                        Class contribution                15%



Office hours: Tuesdays 11-12 noon and Thursdays 1-2, and by appointment. You can always contact me by e-mail at RWAGNER or leave a message at x6185.  My office is in Canham House (146 Wood St) Room 207 (2nd floor, in the back).