COURSE NUMBER: CPS 610

COURSE TITLE: Conflict Transformation: Reconciliation and Healing


PREREQUISITES: CNR 602, 605 and 607 or permission of the instructor

FOR WHOM PLANNED: This is a second semester course in the master’s program. May also
be taken as a general elective.

INSTRUCTOR INFORMATION: Dr. Cathie J. Witty, 127 McIver Street, Campus
Office: (336) 334-4781, Cell : (336) 209 - 5456

Nonviolent responses to conflict and violence that are oriented to the restoration of relationships
damaged by crime, war, community and workplace violence.


At the end of this course, students will be able to:
     assist conflict parties in creating new conflict stories
     design and evaluate restorative and narrative conflict reduction programs at the
        individual, group and social levels
     understand the post conflict rebuilding process in communities
     analyze and assess the cycle of the trans-generational transmission of trauma through
     apply both elicitive and prescriptive approaches to conflict transformation in program
     compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of the truth and reconciliation model
        as applied in South Africa and other cultural settings


This course explores nonviolent responses to violence that are oriented to the restoration of
relationships damaged by hate, crime, family or community violence or prejudice. The seminar
will explore process skills that move away from the strict resolution of conflict toward the
restoration of self and the rebuilding of relationships.

The semester is divided into three sections: internal, personal change; interpersonal change; and
intergroup change. In Part 1 we explore how individuals change, and how intervenors can
facilitate personal change in transformative ways; we will explore systems theory, problem
deconstruction, first and second order change and language transformation systems.

In Part II, we look at the paradigm of restorative justice, introduced the first semester in
Concepts and Processes of Conflict Resolution. How can we meet victims’ needs to regain an
appropriate sense of control and justify their rights to avoid the experience of prolonged
victimhood? What do grief and loss have to do with conflict? How can we understand and
validate the needs of a community in terms of safety, trust, confidence, a threatened sense of
order and stability, and an eroded sense of personal and cultural values?

Finally, in Part 3, we explore the issue and violence from a local, national, and international
perspective. We focus on core issues in such situations: truth, as the longing for acknowledgment
of wrong and validation of painful loss; mercy, as the articulated need for acceptance, letting go,
and creating new beginnings; justice, as a search for individual and group rights, for social
restructuring, restitution, and sustainable human rights; and peace, as a need for interdependence,
well being, trust, and security.

Students must do the reading prior to coming to class discussion. The aim of the class discussion
is to help all of us identify and absorb the nuances and implications of the readings, and build a
body of knowledge based on sharing ideas, experiences and feelings, and on consistency and
continuity of individual and team work.

To determine final grades, students will be evaluated on the following:

Class Participation 16%
    raising and answering questions related to the issues
    sharing ideas, feelings, personal experiences and observations
    relating and synthesizing the ideas of others
    providing constructive feedback on the learning process
    helping other develop their view and ideas
    participating actively in role play exercises, with intelligent questions and feedback to
       fellow students and instructor
    take the lead at least one week in opening the discussion of the readings for the group as
       student facilitator

Two Thought Papers 40%
    students will write two short papers of 8-10 double spaced pages during the semester
    papers will synthesize theoretical discussions of the preceding weeks, and
    reflect a critical analysis of the reading assignments
    paper are due the 7th and 11th weeks of the semester

Final Research Paper 24%

A 15-20 page research paper which analyzes political, theoretical, practice, and program related
aspects of the transformational models and projects described in the films and case studies we
have discussed throughout the course: The Dragon’s Egg, Human and Spiritual Agency in
Angami Healing, Ubuntu Therapy as a Healing Alternative, Healing and Reconciliation in
Rwanda, Angola, the African American community, Heritage Healing in Liberia, and The
Sanctuary Model.

Study Groups (20%)
In the first week, students will be assigned to different working groups or learning communities.
You will do most of your research and discussion of weekly discussion questions in the group
discussion board in BlackBoard. Students will analyze and evaluate the conflict, hate and
violence strategies presented throughout the semester and drawing on their knowledge of the
field gained in this course. Where are we in this growing dimension of our field, and what do we
need to improve? Students will come to class each week, online or in class, to discuss the focus
of the week’s readings and critically assess its meaning, value and long term application in our

As learning teams, students will analyze and present oral presentations to the class covering the
following topics as a study group; topics will be randomly assigned:
How do people change? Week 6
The Role of Empathy, Compassion and Caring. Week 8
Models of Reconciliation, Week 11

Class materials will provide an introduction to these topics, but students are expected to do
research and use varied forms of media (the Web, YouTube, Videos ) to expand the topic beyond
the selected readings. Each presentation will conclude with group discussions raised by the class
presentation, and reporting on the groups summaries of these discussions.

Each student will keep a journal of the change exercises from the readings. This journal will not
be collected or evaluated, but will provide notes and insights on the student’s own experience
with the languages of changes.

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