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Selected Topics in Conflict Studies

Faculty of Human Sciences >> Conflict Studies

Minimize schedule Course schedule for the session: Spring / Summer 2021
Section Schedule Day Location Professor
ECS 5120 WAA0
Ethics and International Development
The course is prerecorded (asynchronous mode) and offered only online via Brightspace.
Course offered in English
May 03 - July 23 N/A Online Nalini Elisa Ramlakhan

Ethical components of development and underdevelopment theories. Rights and obligations of wealthy countries towards poor countries. Ethical critique of policies governing international aid. 

Session A: May 3 to July 23 (Asynchronous/Online)  


This course is cross-listed with EPE 6304 WA00.


Learning Objectives  

By the end of the course, students should be able to:   

1. Understand the relationship between public ethics and conflict studies, and how they might work together to address some issues in international development. 

2. Get acquainted with some ethical and normative frameworks in international development, specifically those surrounding climate change.  

3. Critically examine the sources of norms and their application in public ethics and conflict studies. 

4. Examine the relationship between climate ethics and international development and how it relates to issues that arise in conflict studies. 

5. Reflect on why there is conflict regarding international development and climate ethics and address the political and/or social aspects of conflict that may arise in climate ethics.  

6. Understand and apply theories and ideas in conflict studies to help resolve some issues in international development and ethics raised in this course. Use and apply your previous knowledge in ethics and conflict studies to further develop and/or challenge the ideas and theories presented in this course. 



Additional Objectives   

On completion of this course the student should demonstrate competencies in:  

1. Personal organization and time management skills by completing readings, watching video lectures, participating in discussions, and fulfilling assignment requirements by the due date. 

2. Problem-solving skills by working through theories and applying these theories to practical assignments.  

3. Reading and academic writing skills by summarizing assigned literature and writing a research paper with content related to major themes and arguments in the assigned literature.  

4. Research skills through traditional means, such as library research, and new technologies, such as the Internet, or viewing academic lectures/talks online. 

5. Critical thinking skills by questioning, analyzing and interpreting the different theories and applying them to real-world issues. 


Students will be required to engage in the weekly readings/videos on their own time, contribute to the discussion forumwrite a critical response paper, and submit a graduate-level research paper. Students are expected to manage their time wisely and complete all readings and assignments on time.

  • Discussion Forum Contributions 20% (5% X 4 forums) 

Due Dates: May 10thMay 25th, June 30th, July 9th  

This will take place online via the discussion forum. There will be no live meetings as this course is fully asynchronous.  

  • Critical Response Paper 20% due on June 7th  

  • Commentary Paper OR Commentary Presentation 20% (uploaded as a Zoom or YouTube link, or MP4) due on June 28th  

  • Final Paper 40% due no later than July 23rd  

Students are welcome to submit anytime after July 10th but must submit before the deadline  

Further information for all assessments will be given via Bright Space. A note that all assessments take place asynchronously. 

Mandatory Reading

(accessed for free via the library portal) 

Gardiner, S. M., & Weisbach, D. A. (2016). Debating climate ethics. Oxford University Press. 

Okereke, C. (2007). Global justice and neoliberal environmental governance: ethics, sustainable development and international co-operation. Routledge. 




Important Information

Role of the professor: 

Like most graduate courses, this course is envisioned as a directed study course with peer participation. This means that students will be responsible in managing their time in approaching texts and concepts selected by the professor, who will give further thought to selected topics during short video lectures or through other means (e.g., Ted Talks). The professor is above all a learning facilitator in this course. 

The professor is available throughout the semester to virtually meet with students in order to clarify and discuss the course materials. It is strongly recommended that students consult with her as needed.  

Professor and student materials created for this course (e.g., notes and videos) are to be used for this course only and not to be redistributed without consent from the authors.   


Course Schedule: 

Week 1: May 3rd Okereke, Chapters 1-3 (52 pages) 

Week 2: May 10th Okereke, Chapters 4 & 5 (42 pages) 

Week 3: May 17th Okereke, Chapter 6 (24 pages) 

Week 4: May 25th Okereke, Chapters 7 & 8 (43 pages) 

Week 5: May 31st Okereke, Chapters 9 &10 (26 pages) 

Week 6: June 7th Gardiner & Weisbach, Chapters 1 & 2 (43 pages) 

Week 7: June 14th Gardiner & Weisbach, Chapter 3 (39 pages) 

Week 8: June 21st Gardiner & Weisbach, Chapter 4 (47 pages) 

Week 9: June 28th Gardiner & Weisbach, Chapters 5 & 6 (60 pages) 

Week10: July 5th Gardiner & Weisbach, Chapters 7 & 8 (43 pages) 

Week 11: July 12th Chapters 9 & 10 (13 pages) 

Week 12: July 19th No Readings. Students should take the week to polish the drafts of their final papers. 

ECS 5120 WAB0
Conflicts in Africa
The course is prerecorded (asynchronous mode) and offered only online via Brightspace.
Course offered in English
May 03 - July 23 N/A Online Modeste Paulin Mba Talla

This seminar (Selected Topics in Conflicts Studies / Advanced Topics  in Conflicts Studies) will provide you with enhanced knowledge of the complexities of Africa’s conflict


By the end of the course, students should:

  • Have a critical understanding of the major issues relating to contemporary armed conflicts, civil wars and political violence in postcolonial Africa;
  • Be conversant with the dominant theoretical perspectives on and about contemporary African conflicts, the discourses they produce, the politics they make possible and their limitations
  • Have the conceptual and theoretical tools to critically analyse and research issues relating to armed conflicts and political violence in Africa;
  • Have a grasp of the power-knowledge regimes and the discourses they fashion about conflicts, violence and civil wars in Africa

Be able to conduct critical and policy relevant research relating to conflicts, civil wars and political violence


Components of Final Mark

Evaluation Tool


Due Date

 Mid term


May 31

Short analysis



June 21 

Conflict description


July 5

Research Paper


July 23 

Mandatory Reading
  • Alao, Abiodun (Eds) .2007. “Water and conflict” in Natural Resources and Conflict in Africa Book Subtitle: The Tragedy of Endowment, Boydell & Brewer; University of Rochester Press  pp.207-241
  • Banwell, Stacy. 2014. “ Rape and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo: a case study of gender-based violence”, Journal of Gender Studies, 23:1, 45-58.
  • Burgess, Stephen. 2018 “Military Intervention in Africa: French and US Approaches Compared.”  Air & Space Power Journal, Vol.9 Issue2, p.5-25.
  • Collier, Paul and Hoeffler, Anke. 2004. ‘Greed and Grievance in Civil War.” Oxford Economic Papers Vol. 56, no. 4, pp. 563–95.
  • Englebert, Pierre & Denis Tull. 2008. “Postconflict Reconstruction in Africa: Flawed Ideas about Failed States,” International Security, 32:4 (Spring), pp.106-39.
  • Julian Wucherpfennig, Philipp Hunziker, and Lars-Erik Cederman, “Who Inherits the State? Colonial Rule and Post-Colonial Conflict,” American Journal of Political Science 60, no. 4 (2016): 882–98.
  • Kalyvas, Stathis N. 2001. “‘New’ and ‘Old’ Civil Wars, a Valid Distinction?” World Politics, 54(1): 99-118
  • Mba Talla, M. (2020).“Multinational Joint Taskforce (MNJTF) and Emerging Regional Security Complex in the Lake Chad Region”, African Journal of Terrorism and Insurgency Research (AJoTIR), Number 1, April,pp 177-198.
  • Mehler, Andreas .2009, Introduction: Power-Sharing in Africa, in: Africa Spectrum, 44, 3, 2-10
  • Neethling, Theo. 2011” From MONUC to MONUSCO and beyond: prospects for reconstruction, state-building and security governance in the DRC”, South African Journal of International Affairs, 18:1, 23-41.
Important Information