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Conflict Studies

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Saint Paul University offers an MA in Conflict Studies, which is conferred jointly by the senates of Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa. The focus of the program is on the ethnic and religious identity distinctions that characterize many deep-rooted conflicts. The program explores the meaning of and generates processes for reconciliation, healing, and structural change. It combines a social science orientation common to Conflict Studies programs with a philosophical, ethical and theological orientation. The field of specialization is ethnic and religious dimensions of conflict in Canada.

Program Objectives

  1. Analysis: to explore the connections between conflict, violence, social justice, conflict resolution and peacebuilding in human communities;
  2. Training: to develop the attitudes, knowledge, research and skills necessary to analyze ethnic and religious conflicts so as to cultivate peace;
  3. Outcomes: to produce graduates who are competent : to analyze ethnic and religious conflicts in a multidisciplinary perspective and to devise and evaluate appropriate conflict resolution strategies.

Two levels of learning are distinguished: 

  • Foundational Level: this level entails intensive study of major themes in Conflict Studies. Graduate training is initiated in research skills and methodologies in preparation for the research project.
  • Advanced Level: this level of study concentrates on the development of specific dimensions of Conflict Studies. Research seminars meet to define the problem, purpose, scope and methodology of the master’s research project.
  • EATON Heather, Full Professor
    Ecological dimensions of conflict; Religious aspects of conflict and peace; Gender/feminism, peace and conflict research
  • GOULET Jean-Guy, Full Professor
    Aboriginal Peoples; Resistance to policies of assimilation and extermination; Role of language and religion in the construction of identities at the levels of the individual and the collectivity, qualitative research methods and ethical issues
  • PANDIMAKIL Peter, Associate Professor
    Social justice and human development; art and religion; religions and pluralism; philosophical theology; theories and interpretation of myth; ethical issues in cultural anthropology.
  • PARENT Geneviève, Associate Professor
    "Intimate genocides" such as the atrocities in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, traumatism, transitional justice, healing and reconciliation
  • REDEKOP Vern Neufeld, Full Professor
    Hermeneutical framework for understanding deep-rooted conflict between identity groups; religious based conflict, protesting crowds and police; and the role of identity-based conflict in economic life, methodology of community-based conflict resolution
  • RIOUX Jean-François, Associate Professor
    History of conflict resolution; peacebuilding; conflict analysis; disarmament and arms control; ethics of armed intervention
  • SHEFTEL Anna, Assistant Professor
    Genocide and ethnic violence (particularly Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Holocaust), post-conflict memory, survivor testimony, oral history.
  • TESSIER Hélène, Associate Professor
    Conflit et transformation; éthique, subjectivité et conflit; droits de la personne et droit à l'égalité; genre et rapports de domination; justice sociale et conflit

Admission to the program is competitive. Minimum requirements are:

  • Four year undergraduate degree with honours (or a major) in Political Science, Psychology, Theology, Ethics or the equivalent, such as a BA with honors (or a major) in criminology, philosophy, or law;
  • A minimum (70-74%) "B" average in the baccalaureate degree.

Experience in the field of conflict resolution or a related area will also be taken into consideration. Candidates may be interviewed as part of the selection process.

If the minimum requirements for admission to the first year are not satisfied, a candidate may enroll in a qualifying program, the content of which is determined by the Coordinator of the program on a case by case basis. See details below.

In accordance with the University of Ottawa regulation, assignments, examinations, research papers and theses can be produced in either English or French.

Qualifying Program

  1. Candidates may enroll in a qualifying program on the recommendation of the Admission Committee (it is not possible to apply directly to a qualifying program).
  2. The number of credits taken in a qualifying program may not exceed 36.
  3. The qualifying program must be completed within three consecutive sessions or less.
  4. The student must obtain a minimum grade of C+ in each course, and have an overall B average.
  5. Students wishing to complete their qualifying courses at another university are advised to have their course of studies approved in advance by the program coordinator.

Some additional documents, and in some cases specific forms, are required. For more information, please see the page Step 4: Gather the documents needed for the assessment of your application.

Students may prepare for a master's degree in one of two ways:

  1. The successful completion of 27 credits at the graduate level and the preparation and effective defence of a thesis (ECS 6999) before a board of at least two examiners, members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and presided over by a chair appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies of the Faculty of Human sciences. The master's thesis should be approximately 100 pages and not exceed 150 pages in length.
  2. The successful completion of 36 credits at the graduate level including a research paper submitted at the end of the Research Seminar (ECS 6140). The research paper should be about 50 pages in length.

For admission to the thesis option, a student admitted to the MA in Conflict Studies program must first obtain 9 credits (through courses or through advanced standing), and then apply to the Admissions Committee for permission to enroll in the thesis option. To do so, the student must find a suitable supervisor and submit a detailed topic and plan of research. The Committee will examine the application and inform the student of its decision.

If a student chooses the thesis option and the thesis uses a quantitative methodology, a course in quantitative methodology is required. If the thesis uses a qualitative methodology, one of the following is required: a course in qualitative methodology, participant observation, content analysis, evaluation research or an honours thesis in the area of qualitative methodology.

Duration of the Program

Students are expected to complete all requirements within two years. The thesis must be submitted within four years of the date of initial registration in the program.

Minimum Standards

The passing grade in all courses is C+. Students who fail two courses (equivalent to 6 credits) must withdraw from the program.

Compulsory Courses (21 credits)

All students must take the following seven courses:

  • ECS5101 IDENTITY-BASED CONFLICT (3cr.)
  • ECS5110 HISTORY OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION (3cr.)
  • ECS5302 APPROACHES TO CONFLICT AND SOCIAL JUSTICE (3cr.)
  • ECS5304 ETHICAL DIMENSIONS OF CONFLICT (3cr.)
  • ECS5311 RELIGIOUS IDENTITIES AND CONFLICT (3cr.)
  • ECS5131 CONFLICT RESOLUTION: ANALYSIS AND DESIGN (3cr.)
  • ECS5330 CONFLICT RESOLUTION: RESULTS ASSESSMENT (3cr.)

Research (6 credits) (option with research paper)

  • ECS5103 RESEARCH METHODS (3cr.)
  • ECS6140 RESEARCH SEMINAR (3cr.)

Research (3 credits) (option with thesis)

  • ECS5103 RESEARCH METHODS (3cr.)
  • ECS6999 THÈSE DE M.A. / MA THESIS

Elective Courses (9 credits)

Students select three courses (one if the thesis option is chosen) from the list of electives. A maximum of two graduate courses (6 credits) may be taken from other faculties and universities with prior authorization from the Director of the program.

ECS 5101 - IDENTITY-BASED CONFLICT (3cr.)

Theoretical concepts to understand the dynamics of religious and ethnic conflicts. Application of these concepts to particular situations. Religion, ethnicity, gender, class, and other identity signifiers. Human identity needs, mimetic theory, and structures of domination. Ethno-nationalist movements and victimization.

ECS 5103 - RESEARCH METHODS (3cr.)

Critical evaluation of research findings in the human sciences. Qualitative and quantitative methods of gathering, validating, and interpreting evidence. Issues in research ethics. Applications in graduate research projects and theses. 

ECS 5110 - HISTORY OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION (3cr.)

Conflict resolution approaches and institutions created over time in different regions of the world. Traditional dispute resolution mechanisms. State and law. Democratic institutions. Third party involvement and promotion of peace.

ECS 5112 - TRAUMA, HEALING AND RECONCILIATION (3cr.)

Violence and trauma in the context of identity-based conflicts. Emotional, spiritual, physical and cognitive dimensions of the human person. Reconciliation, forgiveness and trauma healing.

ECS 5114 - GENOCIDE AND RECONCILIATION (3cr.)

Degeneration of conflicts into unforgettable and unforgivable atrocities. Causes, mechanisms, attitudes leading to extreme mass violence. Role of faith in healing memories. Case study of genocides in Germany, South Africa, Rwanda and among indigenous peoples in North and South America.

ECS 5116 - POLITICAL ECONOMY OF CONFLICT (3cr.)

Influence of development and allocation of economic resources on political conflict, including ethnic and religious strife. Influence of globalization on the propensity of societies toward violence.

ECS 5118 - CONTEMPORARY PEACEBUILDING (3cr.)

National and international policies and programs designed to eliminate the causes of violent conflict and prevent their re-emergence. Dialogue and reconciliation. Political and economic reforms. Local development and empowerment.

ECS 5119 - MEDIATION AND NEGOTIATION: THEORY AND RESEARCH (3cr.)

Theoretical and empirical aspects of strategies and processes of mediation and negotiation. Critical examination of contemporary approaches to mediation and negotiation. Cases of successful or unsuccessful negotiations. Roles, capacities and motivations of parties.

ECS 5120 - SELECTED TOPICS IN CONFLICT STUDIES (3cr.)

ECS 5131 - CONFLICT RESOLUTION: ANALYSIS AND DESIGN (3cr.)

Basic conflict analysis design and methodologies in intervention strategies for dealing with identity-based conflict. Sequencing, timing and other contingencies due to emotional factors. Case presentations. Ethical questions related to planning of conflict resolution strategies.

ECS 5140 - THE ADAPTIVE LEADER (3cr.)

Using psychological theories of the development of consciousness, this course explores how leaders can adapt to complex environments. An integral approach is used to develop a methodology to systematically reflect on practical challenges in order to refine intentions, strategies and actions.

ECS 5141 - THE COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO COMPLEX OPERATIONS (3cr.)

The Comprehensive Approach, within international and domestic security environments, enables the student to better understand the capabilities and constraints of a variety of institutions within today’s operational environments.

Competencies are enhanced in achieving greater integration of effort among personnel and their organizations as more lasting solutions are generated to the complex challenges of international missions.

ECS 5142 - COMPLEXITY THINKING FOR INTEGRATIVE PEACEBUILDING (3cr.)

Both conflict and peacebuilding take place within complex adaptive systems with many variables. This course explores the characteristics of chaos, complexity and emerging creativity theories and how they assist in understanding the multi-dimensional dynamics of peacebuilding.

ECS 5143 - INTERCULTURAL AND INTER-RELIGIOUS ENGAGEMENT (3cr.)

Cultural competency is needed to be effective within host communities. Students will learn to identify dynamics of tensions between religious, national, economic, and ideological components of conflicts; to analyze reasons for various kinds of exclusivist and intolerant attitudes and to integrate the religious component into peacebuilding, development initiatives, and whole-of-government programming.

ECS 5144 - PEACEBUILDING, IDENTITY-BASED CONFLICT AND RECONCILIATION (3cr.)

The challenge of peacebuilding is situated in the context of historically driven, deep-rooted conflicts between identity- groups. Students will learn to use theoretical frameworks to analyze conflict and advance reconciliation. The dialectical relationship between peacebuilding and social and political reconciliation will be explored, emphasizing trust-building, structural change, symbolic conciliatory gestures, and socio-emotional transformation.

ECS 5302 - APPROACHES TO CONFLICT AND SOCIAL JUSTICE (3cr.)

Approaches employed to analyze conflict and to build peace with social justice. Contemporary theories from political sciences, social psychology, and theology addressing conflict and social justice.

ECS 5304 - ETHICAL DIMENSIONS OF CONFLICT (3cr.)

Conceptual and procedural ethical issues concerning norms of justice and reconciliation. Relation of ethical issues to self-other dialectics, dynamics of discourse and power, gender and class, memory and agency.

ECS 5311 - RELIGIOUS IDENTITIES AND CONFLICT (3cr.)

Implication of religious identities, traditions and actors in escalating, diverting or transforming deep-rooted conflicts in different societies. Comparative multi-religious framework. Sociology of religion and contextual theological hermeneutics.

ECS 5313 - SPIRITUALITY AND CONFLICT (3cr.)

Impact of conflict on spirituality and of spirituality on conflict. Part played in conflict by the spiritual life and convictions of those involved.

ECS 5315 - GENDER AND CONFLICT (3cr.)

Multidisciplinary examination of cases of domination and marginalization. Social and cultural constructions of gender. Role of these constructs in structures of domination. Challenges met in transforming these structures.

ECS 5316 - INDIGENOUS CULTURES, CONFLICT AND COEXISTENCE (3cr.)

Implication of indigenous identities in the emergence and transformation of conflicts. Ethnic and religious dimensions of indigenous cultural resurgence in Canada and other national contexts. Conflict reduction and pluralistic coexistence.

ECS 5330 - CONFLICT RESOLUTION: RESULTS ASSESSMENT (3cr.)

Hermeneutical and empirical methodologies used to analyze and evaluate conflict resolution strategies, conflict resolution projects and programs. Case study presentations.

ECS 5333 - DIALOGUE: THEORY AND RESEARCH (3cr.)

Dialogue as exploration of hidden assumptions and the flow of ideas. Conflict as a rupture of dialogue within oneself or between people. Theoretical background and research to understand processes needed for a dialogue to achieve deeper levels of mutual understanding among participants.

ECS 5501 - CONFLITS IDENTITAIRES (3cr.)

Concepts théoriques utilisés dans l'étude de la dynamique des conflits religieux et ethniques. Application de ces concepts à diverses situations. Religion, ethnicité, rapports sociaux de sexe, classe sociale et d'autres signifiants de l'identité. Besoins humains d'identité, théorie mimétique, structures de domination, mouvements ethno-nationalistes et victimisation.

ECS 5503 - MÉTHODES DE RECHERCHE (3cr.)

Évaluation critique concernant les résultats de la recherche en sciences humaines. Méthodes qualitatives et quantitatives pour la collecte des données, leur validation et leur interprétation. Aspects éthiques de la recherche. Application à des projets de recherche universitaires et à la rédaction de thèse.

ECS 5510 - HISTOIRE DE LA RÉSOLUTION DE CONFLITS (3cr.)

Approches et institutions de résolution de conflits créées au cours de l'histoire dans différentes régions du monde. Mécanismes traditionnels de résolution de conflits. L'État et le Droit. Institutions démocratiques. Implication des tierces parties. Promotion de la paix.

ECS 5512 - TRAUMATISMES, GUÉRISON ET RÉCONCILIATION (3cr.)

La violence et le traumatisme dans le contexte de conflits identitaires. Composantes affective, spirituelle, physique et cognitive de l'être humain. Réconciliation, pardon et guérison des traumatismes.

ECS 5514 - GÉNOCIDE ET RÉCONCILIATION (3cr.)

Dégénérescence des conflits en atrocités inoubliables et impardonnables. Causes, mécanismes et attitudes qui mènent à des formes de violence collective extrêmes. Rôle de la foi dans la guérison de la mémoire. Étude de cas de génocide en Allemagne, en Afrique du Sud, au Rwanda, ainsi qu'en Amérique parmi les populations indigènes.

ECS 5516 - ÉCONOMIE POLITIQUE DES CONFLITS (3cr.)

Influence du développement et de l'allocation des ressources économiques sur les conflits, en particulier les conflits ethniques et religieux. Influence de la mondialisation sur la propension des sociétés au conflit et à la violence.

ECS 5518 - CONSOLIDATION DE LA PAIX CONTEMPORAINE (3cr.)

Politiques et pratiques nationales et internationales mises en oeuvre afin d'éliminer les causes des conflits et de prévenir leur récurrence. Dialogue et réconciliation. Réformes politiques et économiques. Développement social et prise en charge de leur destin par les communautés locales.

ECS 5519 - MÉDIATION ET NÉGOCIATION: THÉORIE ET RECHERCHE (3cr.)

Aspects théoriques et empiriques de divers processus et stratégies de médiation et de négociation. Analyse critique des principales approches contemporaines de la médiation et de la négociation. Cas de négociations réussies ou non. Rôles, capacités et motivations des personnes impliquées.

ECS 5520 - THÈMES CHOISIS EN ÉTUDES DE CONFLITS (3cr.)

ECS 5531 - RÉSOLUTION DE CONFLITS : ANALYSE ET CONCEPTION (3cr.)

Analyse de base des conflits et méthodologies dans l'élaboration de stratégies d'intervention dans les conflits identitaires. Le temps séquentiel, la durée et les effets de facteurs émotifs. Études de cas. Questions éthiques reliées à la planification des interventions en résolution de conflit.

ECS 5540 - LE LEADER FLEXIBLE (3cr.)

À l’aide des théories psychologiques du développement de la conscience, ce cours explore les moyens permettant aux leaders de s’adapter aux milieux complexes. Une approche intégrale est utilisée pour élaborer une méthodologie visant à réfléchir de façon systématique sur les défis pratiques, dans le but d’affiner les intentions, les stratégies et les actions.

ECS 5541 - L’APPROCHE GLOBALE DES OPÉRATIONS COMPLEXES (3cr.)

L’approche globale, dans un contexte de sécurité nationale et internationale, permet aux étudiants et étudiantes de mieux comprendre les capacités et les contraintes de diverses institutions dans le cadre des milieux opérationnels actuels. Le cours vise à améliorer les compétences permettant d’arriver à une meilleure intégration des efforts du personnel et des organisations, alors que des solutions plus durables sont élaborées pour répondre aux défis complexes des missions internationales.

ECS 5542 - LA PENSÉE COMPLEXE EN VUE D’UNE CONSOLIDATION DE LA PAIX INTÉGRATIVE (3cr.)

Tant les conflits que la consolidation de la paix se produisent au sein de systèmes adaptatifs complexes avec denombreuses variables. Ce cours explore les caractéristiques des théories du chaos, de la complexité et de la créativité émergente, ainsi que la façon dont ces théories aident à comprendre la dynamique multidimensionnelle de la consolidation de la paix.

ECS 5543 - ENGAGEMENT INTERCULTUREL ET INTERRELIGIEUX (3cr.)

Une compétence culturelle est nécessaire pour être efficace au sein de communautés d’accueil. Les étudiants et étudiantes apprendront à identifier la dynamique des tensions entre les composantes religieuse, nationale, économique et idéologique d’un conflit; à analyser les raisons expliquant divers types d’attitudes exclusivistes et intolérantes et à intégrer la composante religieuse à la consolidation de la paix, aux initiatives de développement et aux programmes pangouvernementaux.

ECS 5544 - CONSOLIDATION DE LA PAIX, CONFLIT IDENTITAIRE ET RÉCONCILIATION (3cr.)

Le défi de la consolidation de la paix se situe dans le contexte de conflits motivés par l’histoire et enracinés entre groupes identitaires. Les étudiants et étudiantes apprendront à utiliser des cadres théoriques pour analyser les conflits et faire progresser la réconciliation. La relation dialectique entre la consolidation de la paix et la réconciliation sociale et politique sera abordée, en mettant l’accent sur le renforcement de la confiance, le changement structurel, les gestes symboliques de conciliation et la transformation socio-émotionnelle.

ECS 5702 - APPROCHES DES CONFLITS ET DE LA JUSTICE SOCIALE (3cr.)

Approches employées dans l'analyse des conflits, la promotion de la paix et de la justice sociale. Théories contemporaines des conflits et de la justice sociale tirées des sciences politiques, de la psychologie sociale et de la théologie.

ECS 5704 - DIMENSIONS ÉTHIQUES DES CONFLITS (3cr.)

Problématiques éthiques conceptuelles et procédurales liées aux normes de la justice et de la réconciliation. Liens des thèmes éthiques à la dialectique du soi et de l'autre, à la dynamique du discours et du pouvoir, au genre et à la classe, à la mémoire et au rôle des agents humains.

ECS 5711 - IDENTITÉS RELIGIEUSES ET CONFLITS (3cr.)

Rôle des identités, traditions et facteurs religieux dans l'escalade et la transformation des conflits sociaux profondément enracinés. Cadre analytique multi-religieux. Sociologie des religions et herméneutique théologique contextuelle. 

ECS 5713 - SPIRITUALITÉ ET CONFLITS (3cr.)

Influence des conflits sur la spiritualité et de la spiritualité sur les conflits. Rôle des conflits dans la vie spirituelle et influence sur les croyances des personnes touchées.

ECS 5715 - RAPPORTS SOCIAUX DE SEXE ET CONFLITS (3cr.)

Examen multidisciplinaire de cas de domination et de marginalisation. Les rapports sociaux de sexe comme construction sociale et culturelle. Rôle de ces constructions dans des structures de domination. Défis particuliers aux tentatives de transformer ces structures.

ECS 5716 - CULTURES INDIGÈNES, CONFLITS ET COEXISTENCE (3cr.)

Implication des identités indigènes dans l'émergence et la transformation des conflits. Résurgence culturelle et religieuse indigène au Canada et dans d'autres contextes nationaux. Capacités de réduction des conflits et de coexistence pluraliste.

ECS 5730 - RÉSOLUTION DE CONFLITS : RÉSULTATS ET ÉVALUATION (3cr.)

Usage de méthodologies de type herméneutique et empirique dans l'analyse et l'évaluation d'initiatives de résolution de conflits, de projets et programmes de résolution de conflits. Études de cas.

ECS 5733 - DIALOGUE : THÉORIE ET RECHERCHE (3cr.)

Le dialogue comme processus d'exploration des croyances cachées et échange d'idées. Le conflit vu comme rupture du dialogue en soi ou entre personnes. Bases théoriques et résultats de la recherche pour que le dialogue améliore le niveau de compréhension mutuelle entre les participants.

ECS 5921 - STAGE DE RECHERCHE / RESEARCH INTERNSHIP (3cr.)

Stage de 150 heures en analyse et/ou résolution des conflits impliquant un travail de recherche et d’analyse avancé et soutenu. Le stage est supervisé et le travail évalué par un professeur membre du programme. Noté S/NS. Préalables : Réussite de 9 crédits du programme de M.A. avec une moyenne d’au moins B+. Approbation de la proposition de stage par le directeur du programme.

Internship of 150 hours in Conflict analysis and/or resolution, involving advanced and sustained research and analysis work. The internship is supervised and the work evaluated by a professor member of the program.Graded S/NS. Prerequisites: Completion of 9 credits in the MA program with an average of at least B+. Approval of the internship proposal by the program director.

ECS 6140 - RESEARCH SEMINAR (3cr.)

ECS 6540 - SÉMINAIRE DE RECHERCHE (3cr.)

ECS 6999 - THÈSE DE M.A. / MA THESIS

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