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SO210: Cultures in Conflict

Course Description:

This course is designed for students who seek an understanding of causes and effects for strategically
important conflicts in the world today. The course fosters discussion and dialogue as students gain an
appreciation for the complexity of cultural and social conflicts which have deep, varied, and often conflicting
roots. After completing this course, students will have a thorough knowledge of conflicts in todays society and
will foster the critical thinking skills necessary to understand modern-day current events using an implicitly
sociological framework.

Course Objectives

Students who successfully complete this course should be able to:

1. Describe strategic context for people and events socially, geopolitically, economically, and historically.
2. Identify cultural and social characteristics of conflicts in the world today.
3. Analyze the cultural and social roots of current world conflicts.
4. Communicate information to a target audience on controversial topics in a reasoned, informed manner.

Course Credits: 3 credits


Course Prerequisites: SO101

Course Textbook:

LeBaron, M., and Pillay, V. (2006). Conflict across cultures, a unique of bridging differences. Intercultural
Press.

ISBN: 9781931930222

Grading Policy: A course grade is determined based on the percentage of points as designated in the
following chart.

Assessment Percent of Final Grade


Discussions 20%
Case Studies 50%
Midterm 10%
Final Exam 20%

Below is an at-a-glance look at the weekly discussion and assignment topics. In each Getting Started
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module within the course, you will find details about your weekly readings, lectures, supplemental resources,
discussions and assignment instructions, and rubrics

TOPICAL OUTLINE BY WEEK


Week 1: Social Conflicts

Reading: Textbook, Chapter 1


Week 1 PowerPoint Lecture
Week 1 Case Study: Social Conflict Over Cannabis Legalization; a look at the
Netherland Experience

Discussion: Hello Class! For this discussion you can choose which question you respond to. Feel
free to respond to both; however, only one is required. Please respond to both of the
following questions:

Question A

Tell us about yourself so you can meet and greet other fellow Grantham University
students within your course. Include what you believe to be your current knowledge
level of this course topic and what you hope to learn before this course is over.

Question B

"Platinum Rule" vs. "Golden Rule"

Before your initial post, please read Michelle LeBaron's piece titled Culture and
conflict. In this piece, Michelle states; "...Since culture is so closely related to our
identities (who we think we are), and the ways we make meaning (what is important to
us and how), it is always a factor in conflict. Cultural awareness leads us to apply the
Platinum Rule in place of the Golden Rule. Rather than the maxim "Do unto others as
you would have them do unto you," the Platinum Rule advises: "Do unto others as
they would have you do unto them..."

What does Michelle mean by this and why is she saying it? Do you agree with her?
Why or why not?

Assignment: This week you will read chapter one from the LeBaron, M., & Pillay, V. (2006) Conflict
across cultures, a unique experience of bridging differences text. You will then
complete a two-page summation of the reading, concluding with their techniques,
thoughts and experiences on how the information from this reading could or could not
be applied to this week's case study; social conflict over cannabis legalization; a
look at the Netherland experience.

If possible, you are encouraged to conduct an interview with a person who has
experience with the social conflict (cannabis legalization, either as an activist,
protester, or someone who has been arrested/jailed for marijuana possession or
sales) and information from that interview should be included in this essay
submission.

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Week 2: Land Conflicts

Reading: Chapter 2 in textbook


Week 2 PowerPoint Lecture
Week 2 Case Study: Jammu and Kashmir; Why
India and Pakistan Still Fight Over It

Discussion: This week, in chapter 2, the authors of our course textbook discuss three levels of
conflict resolution (pg 19-20);

1. Material level-the "what" of the conflict;


2. Symbolic level-the meaning of issues to the people involved,
especially those meaning that resonate with peoples' identities, values, and
worldviews;
3. Relationship level-the dance among the parties or the way in which
the conflict plays out.

Now, watch this short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CypU-S7rN5g

After reviewing the video, describe the method of conflict resolution described in it.
What is your reaction to it? How does it relate to the conflict resolution model offered
by the authors of our text?

Assignment: This week you will read chapter two from the LeBaron, M., & Pillay, V. (2006) Conflict
across cultures, a unique experience of bridging differences text. You will then will
than complete a two-page summation of the reading, concluding with their techniques,
thoughts and experiences on how the information from this reading could or could not
be applied to this week's case study; geographical conflicts case study-Jammu &
Kashmir; why India and Pakistan fight over it.

If possible, you are encouraged to conduct an interview with a person who has
experience with the land conflict discussed this week (or someone who has
experienced a similar conflict, such as DAPL) and information from that interview
should be included in this essay submission.

Week 3: Religious Conflicts

Reading: Textbook, Chapter 3


Week 3 PowerPoint Lecture
Week 3 Case Study: Judaism vs. Islam; a look at the rationale behind
the suicide bomber

Discussion: Read Contrasting Secular and Religious Terrorism written by Jonathan Fine.
Based on that reading and any experience you might personally have, what is the
difference between religious based terrorism and "traditional criminal activity"?

Some say there is no difference between the two. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Finally, which do you think is more difficult to counter Why?

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Assignment: This week you will read chapter three from the LeBaron, M., & Pillay, V. (2006)
Conflict across cultures, a unique experience of bridging differences text. You will
then will than complete a two-page summation of the reading, concluding with their
techniques, thoughts and experiences on how the information from this reading could
or could not be applied to this week's case study; religious conflicts case study-
Judaism versus Islam; a look at the rationale behind the suicide bomber.

If possible, you are encouraged to conduct an interview with a person who has
experience with the religious conflict discussed this week (or someone who has
experienced anti-Semitism or anti-Islamic sentiments or harassment) and information
from that interview should be included in this essay submission.

Week 4: Ethnicity Conflicts

Reading: Textbook, Chapter 4


Week 4 PowerPoint Lecture
Week 4 Case Study: Ethnicity Conflicts - a Look at South Africa and the
Apartheid Era

Discussion: Ethnic conflict; inevitable or not?

Some say ethnic conflicts are not an inevitability as an inherent human quality but are
a product of society. What they mean is no child is born with an inherent dislike of
another ethnicity, however saying that no child is born with a dislike of another
ethnicity is one thing but in saying that it has to be acknowledged that there is a
tremendous amount of social circumstances and historical factors that in the present
climate make ethnic conflicts a reality. The reasons for ethnic conflicts include the
legacy of imperialism, uneven wealth distribution and the thirst for power, money and
influence just to name a few of some of the major contributors to the development of
ethnic tensions in multi-ethnic societies.

Considering this, do you believe ethnic conflict in society is evitable? If so, why? If
not, then why does it continue to be an issue? Regardless of your beliefs, what is the
best way to deal with it?

Assignment: This week you will read chapter four from the LeBaron, M., & Pillay, V. (2006) Conflict
across cultures, a unique experience of bridging differences text. You will then will
than complete a two-page summation of the reading, concluding with their techniques,
thoughts and experiences on how the information from this reading could or could not
be applied to this week's case study; ethnicity conflicts case study- A look at
South Africa and the Apartheid Era.

If possible, you are encouraged to conduct an interview with a person who has
experience with the ethnicity conflict (apartheid or racism towards African-Americans
in the US) and information from that interview should be included in this essay
submission.

Midterm: An annotated bibliography is a list of citations from books, articles and documents.
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Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph
(the annotation).

You will research and locate four (4) sources; one from each of the four conflict
specific subjects covered in the first four weeks of this course (social issue conflicts,
land conflicts, religious conflicts and ethnic conflicts). Each source must be from a
credible source (Wikipedia or miscellaneous blogs will not be accepted). Following
each source, the you will give a minimum 150 word summary for EACH source
(meaning 4 separate summaries).

Week 5: Gender Conflicts

Reading: Textbook, Chapter 5


Week 5 PowerPoint Lecture
Week 5 Case Study: Gender Conflicts - Women in Combat Roles vs. Countries That
Do Not Allow It; a look at the Israeli experience.

Discussion: A 100% Failure Rate

To start off this forum, watch this YouTube video;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDsY8qCxLHQ

The video is a cut from the popular TV series, The West Wing. In it one of the actors
insists that conflict historically not only has a 100% failure rate (he gives several
examples), it normally only succeeds in strengthening whatever it is those involved in
the conflict are against.

First, do some research and find an example (different from those listed on the video)
that either supports or disproves this statement. Post the details of your example and
give your thoughts on why this statement was proven or disproven by your example
and state why you believe this.

In addition, do you believe your stance is a "hard-line" rule or does it depend upon the
circumstances? What makes you believe this?

Assignment: This week you will read chapter five from the LeBaron, M., & Pillay, V. (2006) Conflict
across cultures, a unique experience of bridging differences text. You will then will
than complete a two-page summation of the reading, concluding with their techniques,
thoughts and experiences on how the information from this reading could or could not
be applied to this week's case study; gender conflicts case study-women in
combat roles vs. countries that do not allow it; a look at the Israeli experience.

If possible,you are encouraged to conduct an interview with a person who has


experience with the gender conflict (a female soldier/veteran or someone who
believes women should not be in active combat) and information from that interview
should be included in this essay submission

Week 6: Social Conflicts

Reading: Textbook, Chapter 6

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Week 6 PowerPoint Lecture
Week 6 Case Study: Class Conflict - Capitalism vs. Socialism, a brief
comparison of the China vs. US experience

Discussion: Explaining societal economic classifications

To start off, watch the following video on the two opposing views for explaining societal
economic classifications; the structural-functionalism theory and the conflict
theory.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8T2wjMAMvc

According to structural-functionalists, classification and thus any


perceived inequalities are a constructive phenomena that benefits society. What that
means is the privileges attached to high-status acts as incentive to motivate qualified
people to work to achieve those positions. What structural-functionalists would say
is inequality ensures the most functionally important jobs are filled by the best
qualified people.

Conflict theorists on the other hand, would argue stratification is dysfunctional and
harmful to society and it results in competition between the rich and the poor as
individuals act for their own economic advantage. In addition, conflict theorists
would say competition and inequality are not inevitable but are created and
maintained by people trying to gain access to scarce resources.

Which theory do you most agree with and why? Don't just post what you think, do so
research and with your post, provide references(s) to support your point-of-view.

Assignment: This week you will read chapter six from the LeBaron, M., & Pillay, V. (2006) Conflict
across cultures, a unique experience of bridging differences text. You will then will
than complete a two-page summation of the reading, concluding with their techniques,
thoughts and experiences on how the information from this reading could or could not
be applied to this week's case study; class conflict case study-Capitalism vs.
Socialism/a comparison of the China vs. United States experiences.

If possible, you are encouraged to conduct an interview with a person who has
experience with class conflict (either someone who has immigrated from a
communist/socialist country to a capitalist country or vice versa, or someone who
actively works for communism/socialism in politics or social venues) and information
from that interview should be included in this essay submission.

Week 7: Political Conflicts

Reading: Textbook, Chapter 7


Week 7 PowerPoint Lecture
Week 7 Case Study: Political Conflicts - A Look at the Political Polarity in the United
States

Discussion: Political Polarization in America

To start off, watch the following video on Political Polarization in America.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVzTCvrjueU
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In this video, Dr. Susan Roberts, Davidson College explains her theory of the two
reasons American politics have become so polarized; the "echo chamber", where
people get their information/news and the social issues being discussed (gun control,
abortion, same sex marriage to name a few). Basically Dr. Roberts is saying because
people (on all sides) tend to get all their information from one source (which are often
slanted to one view or the other) and because there are so many different
opinions/approaches to the many social issues this country is facing (from a plethora
of sources), ignorance is often promoted and people are less willing to debate and/or
consider other's point-of-view.

Do you agree with Dr. Roberts? If so, why? If not, then what/how would you explain
the political polarization in America?

Can this issue ever be corrected? Why or why not? Also, what ideas do you have to
correct the issue?

Assignment: This week you will read chapter seven from the LeBaron, M., & Pillay, V. (2006)
Conflict across cultures, a unique experience of bridging differences text. You will
then will than complete a two-page summation of the reading, concluding with their
techniques, thoughts and experiences on how the information from this reading could
or could not be applied to this week's case study; Political Conflicts case study; a
look at the political polarity in the United States of America.

If possible, you are encouraged to conduct an interview with a person who has
experience with political conflict (whether they live in a household where conflicting
beliefs are maintained, are politically active, or have been affected by political conflict)
and information from that interview should be included in this essay submission.

Week 8: Wrapping Up

Reading: Textbook, Chapter 8


Week 8 PowerPoint Lecture

Discussion: Thinking back...

Thinking back on the 7 case study conflicts that we discussed during this course;
which one do you believe is going to be the hardest conflict to solve? Why? What
conflict solving techniques discussed in this class might best be used to solve that
conflict? Is there a conflict that you believe can never be solved? Why or why not?

Final Paper: In week 8, for the final exam, you will be required to submit a final essay that will give
a detailed review of a conflict of your choice. You will choose a conflict that is
different from the case study conflicts covered during the course, but one that fails into
one of the 7 categories covered in this course. The final essay will include the history,
reasons and attempts to resolve you chosen conflict.

If possible, you are encouraged to conduct an interview with a person who has
experience with the conflict being discussed and information from that interview

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should be included in the final essay submission.

Finally, you will finish this essay with a detailed plan, utilizing the techniques
covered in this course, of how this conflict could be resolved.

You are encouraged to use information gleaned from your weekly case study
summaries as a building point for your final paper. That way, you will not simply
regurgitate what was already written in those case studies, but instead only use
information gleaned from those studies as a reference point for the final paper.

The following table outlines the academic effort required by students to be successful in this course.
While the times in the table are approximate, it is presented to help students with their time
management. Please note, depending on the student's background knowledge and experience of the
course subject and an individual student's academic capabilities, these times will vary. If you have
any questions or concerns, please direct them to your instructor or student advisor.

Estimated Hours
Week Type of Activity Activity
Required
Readings/Lectures 0.8
Online Discussions 2.0
Assignments 0.0
1 Readings 0.4
Discussions 1.0
Preparation
Assignments 9.0
Clinical/Lab Hours 0.0

Estimated Hours
Week Type of Activity Activity
Required
Readings/Lectures 0.9
Online Discussions 2.0
Assignments 0.0
2 Readings 0.5
Discussions 1.0
Preparation
Assignments 12.0
Clinical/Lab Hours 0.0

Estimated Hours
Week Type of Activity Activity
Required
Readings/Lectures 0.7
Online Discussions 2.0
Assignments 0.0
3 Readings 1.2
Discussions 1.0
Preparation
Assignments 12.0
Clinical/Lab Hours 0.0

Week Type of Activity Activity Estimated Hours


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Required
Readings/Lectures 1.0
Online Discussions 2.0
Assignments 0.0
4 Readings 1.0
Discussions 1.0
Preparation
Assignments 13.0
Clinical/Lab Hours 0.0

Estimated Hours
Week Type of Activity Activity
Required
Readings/Lectures 0.8
Online Discussions 2.0
Assignments 0.0
5 Readings 1.0
Discussions 1.0
Preparation
Assignments 12.0
Clinical/Lab Hours 0.0

Estimated Hours
Week Type of Activity Activity
Required
Readings/Lectures 0.9
Online Discussions 2.0
Assignments 0.0
6 Readings 1.0
Discussions 1.0
Preparation
Assignments 12.0
Clinical/Lab Hours 0.0

Estimated Hours
Week Type of Activity Activity
Required
Readings/Lectures 0.8
Online Discussions 2.0
Assignments 0.0
7 Readings 1.7
Discussions 1.0
Preparation
Assignments 12.0
Clinical/Lab Hours 0.0

Estimated Hours
Week Type of Activity Activity
Required
8 Readings/Lectures 1.1
Online Discussions 3.0
Assignments 0.0
Preparation Readings 1.3
Discussions 1.0
Assignments 16.0

9
Clinical/Lab Hours 0.0

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