Transforming conflict resolution education: applying anthropology alongside your students

in Learning and Teaching
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This article describes the role graduate students can play in transforming their education in the emergent field of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, as occurs at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR), at George Mason University, Washington, DC. It also unpacks how anthropology plays a role in the education of these students at the Master's and Doctoral levels. The primary contribution of anthropology to the conflict resolution curriculum has been conceptual, around the notion of culture. Most of our MS graduates, and many PhDs, work in government or NGOs specialising in development, human rights or conflict resolution, coming from diverse backgrounds with mature life experiences and without prior training in anthropology. Only four of our 21 faculty are anthropologists. This article discusses why these diverse graduate students and their anthropological faculty viewed the traditional foundations of the field of conflict analysis and resolution as inadequate, and why it required an infusion of culture theory and understanding into their training and education.