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Handbooks Courses Units

PLM4460 - Conflict Resolution and Islam in the Middle East

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Ben MacQueen


Caulfield Second semester 2008 (Day)


This unit will explore the patterns of civil and international conflict in Islamic societies in the Middle East and attempts at its resolution. Specifically, it will highlight how a variety of formal and informal conflict resolution mechanisms have been employed with varying degrees of success. This review of the mechanics of conflict resolution will be complemented by a detailed examination of conflict resolution theory and how it links to practice. A series of case studies will be coupled with a detailed examination of both the theoretical and practical underpinnings of conflict resolution to evaluate current and alternative trends at the resolution of conflict in the Middle East.


Upon completion of this unit, students will have

  1. An intricate knowledge of the patterns of conflict in the Middle East as well as the mechanics of conflict resolution;
  2. An understanding of the interconnectedness of patterns of conflict in the Middle East and an ability to relate the interconnectedness of conflicts to the difficulties of conflict resolution;
  3. An understanding of Islamic political and social mechanisms relative to the processes of conflict resolution;
  4. A detailed knowledge of the conflict resolution processes in the Arab-Israel/Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, the Lebanese civil war, the Iran-Iraq war, the Algerian civil war and the current conflicts in Iraq and Sudan;
  5. An appreciation of the role of international powers in the conflict and resolution processes in the Middle East;
  6. An understanding of the broad conceptual basis of conflict resolution theory from materialist, structuralist, and 'culturalist' standpoints;
  7. An understanding of the various manifestations of conflict resolution practice, such as Track I & II diplomacy, interstate and non-state negotiations, and the role of civil society;
  8. An understanding of the role of major international powers in Middle Eastern conflict resolution as well as the mechanics of United Nations conflict resolution practice, the role of NGOs and local cultural processes of conflict resolution;
  9. A sophisticated level of oral skills;
  10. Improved writing skills by producing two research essays;
  11. Developed research skills and theoretical background and ability.


Short Essay (3000 words): 30%; Major Essay (6000 words): 60%; Class Participation 10%

Contact hours

1 two-hour seminar



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