George Mason University
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George Mason University

Carter School Research Spotlight

In celebration of our change from the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution to the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, we are highlighting the research of a different member of our esteemed faculty every Wednesday throughout the summer.

You may attend as many of the webinars as you choose.

If you miss a webinar, don’t worry.  We’ll be recording each webinar and will make them available in the future.

All webinars are 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm EST unless otherwise noted.

Each of these webinars is accompanied by sample course content from the Carter School.

Emerging Donors and Conflict-Affected States: The New Politics of Peacebuilding

Dr. Agnieszka Paczynska

June 24, 2020 

Emerging donors, such as China, India, Brazil, and Turkey, are playing an increasingly prominent role in assistance provision to conflict-affected states. Unlike traditional donors, they tend to frame their assistance in terms of solidarity, cooperation, mutual support, and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. They tend to eschew the language of conditionalities and to avoid employing the term “fragile states” so commonly used by traditional donors. Although many have long provided troops to UN peacekeeping operations, they have generally avoided engagement in peacebuilding activities, viewing them as too interventionist in domestic affairs of conflict-affected states. However, this public rhetoric masks much more complex rationales for aid provision.

Unpredictable Past: Collective Memory and History in the Dynamics of Conflict

Dr. Karina Korostelina

July 1, 2020

The Webinar discusses the complex and controversial ways our collective memory and our history of a violent past are shaped within the dynamics of identity-based conflict and reconciliation. Based on the examples of politicization of history, history education, memorials and heritage sites,  Dr. Korostelina discusses how competing mnemonic communities use the past to further shape divisions and ignite violence, or, instead, to promote reconciliation and address trauma and injustice. 

Laboratory for Peace: Emotions, Conflict and Conflict Resolution

Dr. Daniel Rothbart

July 8, 2020

Participants of this lab examine how cycles of violence in conflict settings are fueled by social emotions, such as fear, hatred, and humiliation. Additionally, participants also examine how positive emotions, such as sympathy and compassion, can foster non-violent means for settling their grievances.

Nonviolence is a Way of Life for Courageous People

Dr. Arthur Romano

July 15, 2020 - Special Time: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm EST

Drawing from his forthcoming book, Professor Arthur Romano explores how we can learn from community nonviolence educators committed to teaching about the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King. Given these times of great upheaval, this talk explores the latest research on courage, and looks at the relevance of MLK’s work for understanding the role courageous leadership in influencing transformative social change today. The presentation offers participants an opportunity to reflect on their contributions as peacebuilders while considering how compassion, outrage, love and a thirst for justice can change the world.

The Spectre of Civil Death in the United States

Dr. Patricia Maulden

July 22, 2020

Mass convictions, incarcerations, and disenfranchisements currently deprive millions of Americans of civil and voting rights. Civil death, while initially framed as related to a crime or infraction of law, continues to follow the formerly incarcerated to the grave. This webinar examines the backstory to these policies, interpretations, and expansions of the policies over time, taking into account the enormous human, social, economic, and political costs.

Navigating Hot Topics with Media Literacy Skills

Dr. Julie Shedd 

July 29, 2020

Tired of today’s divisive rhetoric and political polarization? This webinar discusses a partnership with Fairfax County Public Libraries to bring library users together to develop needed skills in both news analysis and constructive dialogue to help bridge today’s divides. The project focuses on teaching the media literacy and dialogue skills people need to engage in informed, civil discourse -- on social media or at the dinner table.

Navigating Treacherous Spaces: Gender Justice and Religious Peacebuilding

Dr. Sheherazade Jafari

August 5, 2020

One of the biggest challenges peacebuilding practitioners face when seeking to center a gender inclusive approach is what is perceived as a clash of values between gender justice and deeply embedded religious and cultural norms and practices.  We know that a gender inclusive approach leads to more sustainable and transformative peacebuilding. Yet, in many contexts gender justice is labeled as a colonizing tool, a Western secular imposition on local beliefs and practices.  This webinar considers how local practitioners navigate the ongoing ethical dilemma of how to center gender justice while remaining sensitive to and respectful of beliefs and practices that engage gender in differing ways.

Politics after War: Rebel to Party Transformation

Dr. Terrence Lyons

August 12, 2020

 A key challenge for conflict resolution following civil war is the transformation of armed groups into political parties capable of sustaining peace. Comparative research indicates that the legacies of protracted conflict and the nature of war termination shape the transition process and thereby the nature of politics after war. Evidence from Ethiopia, where insurgents won the armed struggle, will be used to investigate the mechanisms that link victorious insurgents and authoritarian post-war parties.

Rebel Group Collective Action Framing

Dr. Charles Davidson

August 19, 2020

This webinar will discuss how rebels form discourse around their self-identity and actions to justify their existence and strategies to outsiders.  We will examine how distance from the conflict with respect to space and time affect these frames and how rebels speak about themselves, their enemy, and the nature of the insurgency as a whole.

Who's the Boss? Western Assessments of Leaders in the Global South

Dr. Thomas Flores

August 26, 2020  

A global assessment regime based mainly in the West rates countries of the Global South for their performance on a number of attributes, including human rights, corruption, electoral integrity, and peacefulness. My recent research (with Gabriella Lloyd of the University of Maryland and Irfan Nooruddin of Georgetown University) investigates how conscious preference and unconscious bias causes raters to look more favorably on countries led by Western-educated technocrats.