Postgraduate Course: Conflict and Peaceful Transition in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (LAWS11496)
|School||School of Law
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Since the Cold War, the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) has witnessed a series of intrastate wars that are among the most prolonged conflicts in the world. As of 2021, there were nine states with active armed conflicts in the region. The failure of conflict resolution and the transition process in the region calls for new and critical approaches. This course provides students with theoretical and practical skills and contextualised knowledge of the EMR relating to transversal issues that interact with conflict and peaceful transition. Student will benefit from a deep and comprehensive vision of the region which will enhance their capacity to offer contextualised and integrative solutions to problematic situations introduced as real-life case studies.
The course is composed of ten main lessons (excluding the reading week).
1. TOWARDS THE CREATION OF A NEW KNOWLEDGE
The lesson provides an overview of the objectives, outcomes, and evaluation of the course. It aims to include students' expectations and needs in the development and implementation of the course, notably in the choice of case studies. The lecture introduces key terms and concepts (why the 'Eastern Mediterranean Region' and not the Middle East and North Africa) linked to a discussion around the need for more inclusive and contextualised knowledge. Students will also be introduced to self-reflective exercises on positionality and privileges.
2. GEOPOLITICS OF CONFLICT AND PEACE IN THE EMR I
The lesson maps the evolution of conflicts in the EMR region (i.e., in terms of localization, urbanisation, and length) and unpacks the complexity of modern conflicts in relation to existing legal norms and systems. This lesson focuses on the post-'Arab Spring' period to include the fragmentation of the global, regional and national orders, as well as the rise of non-state actors and challenges to the legitimacy of the State political and legal system (including violent extremism).
3. GEOPOLITICS OF CONFLICT AND PEACE IN THE EMR II
Building on Lesson 2, the lesson outlines more of the main dynamics that can be observed in modern armed conflicts in the EMR. It maps internal and external influences (i.e., the role of emergent powers and illiberal actors) in conflicts and peace, and the impact of international interventions in the region on the legitimacy of the state as the political unit of reference.
4. LOCAL CONFLICT DYNAMICS AND PEACEMAKING
After outlining the complexity of the 'small' peace - 'big' peace relation and the concept of hybridity, the lesson introduces students to the importance of local peace processes as legal tools for conflict resolution. Students will be given the opportunity to explore the largest dataset of peace agreements, developed by PeaceRep and hosted at the University of Edinburgh. Based on this exploration, they will be asked to reflect on the impact of new conflict dynamics on conflict management, especially in terms of actors and methods.
5. RECONSIDER THE CONFLICT-PEACE CONTINUUM
The lesson leads students to reassess and discuss a number of assumptions on armed conflicts and peace in the EMR, such as the fact that conflicts necessarily happen in weak states and the positive framing of peace. To help this thinking, the lesson introduces concepts such as negative peace, formalised unsettlement and informal settlements. It also touches on the intersection between the expediency of national talks and the political agenda of national stakeholders, and the disruption of progress for local mediators.
6. STATE-SOCIETY RELATION
The lesson outlines the impact of key dynamics of modern conflicts and peace (discussed during previous lessons) on state-society relations and the way we think of the state in the EMR. Students will discover and discuss concepts of legitimacy, resistance and agency, as well as the consequences of the lack of regional leadership in the EMR.
7. HUMANITARIAN AND HUMAN RIGHT LAW
The lesson lays out general knowledge of the international humanitarian and human rights standards relating to a number of key issues in conflict and post-conflict settings. It also introduces challenges of legal transfers and adaptation of international legal tools and norms in the cultural and socio-political contexts of the EMR, leading to a discussion of the universality of certain legal rights and norms.
8. THE HEALTH, CONFLICT AND PEACE NEXUS
After introducing the flaws of the existing legal framework, the lesson looks at the interactions (direct, indirect and inter-generational) between health issues and conflict dynamics, with a focus on natural resources and environmental challenges. It also provides an overview of the opportunities to harness the peace dividends of health and of the partners of health and peaceful transition in the EMR.
9. THE CHALLENGES OF INCLUSIVE PEACE IN EXTREME DIVERSITY CONTEXTS
Building on previous weeks, the lesson zooms on the role of social leaders - notably religious and tribal leaders - in fuelling violence and prompting peace, including their interactions with governance stakeholders. It also examines power-sharing arrangements, and in particular consociationalism, as a response to ethnonational conflicts.
10. WOMEN, GIRLS AND GENDER IN PEACE AND CONFLICT
After introducing the gendered dynamics of conflict, and peace, the lesson questions the depiction of women as mere victims of conflicts and gendered mobilization for peace and wider political participation. The discussion also considers the contestation of masculinities in overwhelmingly patriarchal socio-cultural EMR environments. Students will be asked to reconsider Western approaches to peace that attempt to enforce a liberal understanding of women¿s roles and positions, including the problematic nature of the implementation of ideals involving security elements so often run/provided by men.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students are most welcome to enroll, as well as UoE students from other schools / departments.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||1. Personal Involvement and active participation (30%)
2. Research Paper (40%)
3. Choose between: a) peace intervention design (30%) or b) short policy brief (30%)
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify and explain, demonstrating interdisciplinary awareness, key approaches, ranging from orthodox to critical and Western to Global South, of conflict and peace in the EMR.
- Understand the local, regional and international dynamics that fuel conflicts and how conflicts impact on the society, the State and the regional system
- Understand who are the key actors and approaches to peace in the region
- Use learnings to try and adopt more rounded epistemological view of key peace approaches and stakeholders across different settings, and how they impact the nature of delivered peace, its implementation and consequences on the ¿receivers¿ of this peace
- Use a number of explanatory framework acquired during the course to historical and contemporary cases
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||- Appraise the importance of cultural, legal and political contexts in understanding various forms of conflict and peace and the paradigms they adopt to interpret these phenomena.
- Apply some of the studied approaches to the evaluation of current conflicts and peace initiatives in the EMR, to interpret and analyse empirical data at an advanced level and according to competing perspectives and explanatory paradigms; and to recognise the impact of a chosen paradigm and conceptual framework on one¿s research findings.
- Demonstrate familiarity with a range of sources, including international treaties, constitutions, academic sources, policy outputs based on empirical data, and documents from regional and international institutions.
- Engage in research project at PG level in the different subject areas.
- Construct and synthesise arguments critically for both written and oral presentations from different sources and material.
- Demonstrate an independent approach and learning, thinking self-critically and creatively and problem-solving.
- Actively listen and moderate dialogue, and debate in the respect of others and their opinions.
- Participate in and reflect on collaborative group work.
- Formulate complex arguments in articulate and structured English in an effective way, adapting to the discursive conventions and genres or both academic and policy-oriented standards.
- Use theoretical and academic knowledge to inform policy and best practices.
- Demonstrate work prioritisation and time management skills by preparing for class and delivering a wide range of summative assignments during the semester.
- Design and plan a research project at a PG level.
- Formulate complex arguments in articulate and structured English in an effective way, adapting to the discursive conventions and genres or both academic and policy-oriented standards (i.e. draft a policy brief and research paper; create and critically reflect on a 'press pack' - see assessment section).
- Design and critically reflect on a peace intervention in a chosen local context (see assessment section).
|Course organiser||Miss Juline Beaujouan-Marliere
|Course secretary||Miss Lauren Ayre
Tel: (0131 6)50 2010