MA Course

Identity Based Conflict

An Master's-level course offered by Saint Paul University on how "who we are" impacts what conflicts we enter and why.
Historically, the field of peace and conflict studies has focused on how power, resources and states have impacted conflict onset, intensity and duration.

Since the end of the Cold War, however, a new framework has emerged: identity.
In this twelve-week class, instructor Rohee Dasgupta unpacks a wide range of theoretical frameworks and case studies to help participants understand the dynamics of religious and ethnic conflicts.

We will look at these intersect with other identity signifiers, and other factors in general, to result in conflicts ranging from the cultural disputes to civil war. Along the way, we will look at specific dynamics that may emerge within identity-based conflicts, like ethnonationalism, genocide or a reliance on historical narratives.

Each page was written using notes from each lecture. Many of the lectures began with a student presentation on a case study (often related to that day's theme), and additional readings are listed below.
Identity Politics
The term "identity politics" is used often,
but what does it actually imply? Rohee Dasgupta shares on how identity can affect conflict and how conflict can affect identity.
Conflict Theories
and Collective Identity
Different theorists have developed explanations of how identity works and how it interacts with other conflict dynamics. In this lecture, the roots of identity formation are discussed as well as what makes identity-based conflicts unique.

Core Classes

Conflict Dynamics

Post-Conflict Reconstruction

The Limits of Identity
While identity has emerged as an increasingly relevant topic of study for researchers and policy makers, it cannot explain violence in and of itself.

What are the limits to studying identity and violence, and what other factors are important to take into consideration?

Final Paper: Ideological Identity and Conflict

Two versions of the final course paper
in an academic (first) and a more accessible format (second)
Rohee Dasgupta teaches conflict studies at St. Paul University; her research interests include identity, cosmopolitanism, security and anthropology.

Josh Nadeau is a freelance writer and dialogue practitioner.
He studied identity-based conflict at St. Paul University in 2021.

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