By taking students out of their comfort zone, field-based courses—which are increasingly popular in secondary and postsecondary education—have the potential to be deep, transformative learning experiences. But what happens when the field in question is a site of active or recent conflict? In Conflict Zone, Comfort Zone, editors Agnieszka Paczyńska and Susan F. Hirsch highlight new approaches to field-based learning in conflict zones worldwide. As the contributors demonstrate, instructors must leave the comfort zone of traditional pedagogy to meet the challenges of field-based education.
Drawing on case studies in the United States and abroad, the contributors address the ethical considerations of learning in conflict zones, evaluate the effectiveness of various approaches to teaching these courses, and provide guidelines for effecting change. They also explore how the challenges of field-based classes are magnified in conflict and postconflict settings, and outline the dilemmas faced by those seeking to resolve those challenges. Finally, filling a crucial gap in existing literature, the contributors identify best practices that will assist aspiring instructors in developing successful field-based courses in conflict zones.
Contributors: Daniel R. Brunstetter, Alison Castel, Gina M. Cerasani, Alexander Cromwell, Maryam Z. Deloffre, Sandi DiMola, Leslie Dwyer, Eric Hartman, Pushpa Iyer, Allyson M. Lowe, Patricia A. Maulden, rj nickels, Anthony C. Ogden, Jennifer M. Ramos, Lisa E. Shaw, Daniel Wehrenfennig
Agnieszka Paczyńska teaches at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, and is a nonresident fellow at the Stimson Center. She is the author of State, Labor, and the Transition to a Market Economy: Egypt, Poland, Mexico and the Czech Republic and editor of Changing Landscape of Assistance to Conflict-Affected States: Emerging and Traditional Donors and Opportunities for Collaboration. More info →
Susan F. Hirsch is professor and the Vernon M. and Minnie I. Lynch Chair at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. She is the author of Pronouncing and Persevering: Gender and Discourse in an African Islamic Court, In the Moment of Greatest Calamity: Terrorism, Grief, and a Victim’s Quest for Justice, and Mountaintop Mining in Appalachia: Understanding Stakeholders and Change in Environmental Conflict. More info →
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David Rawson draws on declassified documents and his own experiences as the initial US observer of the 1993 Rwandan peace talks at Arusha to seek out what led to the Rwandan genocide. The result is a commanding blend of diplomatic history and analysis of the crisis and of what happens generally when conflict resolution and diplomacy fall short.
Residents of the Appalachian coalfields share a history and heritage, deep connections to the land, and pride in their own resilience. These same residents are also profoundly divided over the practice of mountaintop mining. Looking beyond the slogans and seemingly irreconcilable differences, however, can reveal deeper causes of conflict.