[Reader-list] [Announcements] The AMAN Peace and Conflict Studies Course

Shivam Vij shivamvij at gmail.com
Thu Jul 29 19:43:38 IST 2004

The AMAN Peace and Conflict Studies Course
(In collaboration with Hamdard University)
Delhi, September 13– October 13, 2004


This course on peace and conflict, organised by the AMAN Trust, aims
at developing and widening intellectual discourse on the subject among
individuals working in NGOs, teachers, journalists, students and other
concerned citizens.  The course will make Indian and South Asian
reality a starting point for an investigation of conflict, violence
and its many ramifications.

AMAN believes in the need for an integrated and multi-disciplinary
approach to conflict in this region. Given the rapidly changing
geo-political environment, critical scholars have asked how far the
contours and mechanisms of the global system are responsible for
generating conflict. This question requires us to explore the
inter-connections between ethnic, caste, class, and communal issues in
the origins and nature of conflict. Aman will develop conceptual
approaches that connect, rather than compartmentalize themes relevant
to violence and conflict. We also believe that philosophical and
ethical inquiry is a necessary element in such a study.. Our lectures
and seminars shall examine the relationship between local and global
issues, competing histories and antagonistic polities; and the
functions that link ethnic identity, gender, and symbols to political
and economic structures.


The course will be conducted from 13th September to 13th October,
2004. It will be interactive and residential, with two or three units
being conducted every day, two in the mornings and one in the
afternoon/early evening. Each unit will consist of two hours, and will
include a lecture and a discussion.


The costs for arranging this course are considerable. AMAN will charge
a minimum (subsidised) fee of Rs. 5,000/- (five thousand) for an
individual and Rs 15,000/- (fifteen thousand) for participants
sponsored by NGOs and organisations. The costs are inclusive of
accomodation and food but do not include travel.

Sponsoring agencies are required to get in touch with AMAN to discuss
their proposed financial support. Sponsored candidates will be subject
to the same criteria as the rest; and admitted on the basis of their

Application requirements

Participants ability to comprehend lectures and other forms of
discussion in English is necessary, although the course is open to
those who wish to speak and submit their course work in Hindi.
Prospective participants are required to send following information by
20th July 2004.
Date of Birth
Educational qualification
Current Work Experience (100-200 words)
Other interests (100-200 words)
Why you want to attend the course (500-800 words)
Name and Contacts of two referees

Scholarships: A limited number of scholarships are available. Those
who wish to apply for this should send us reasons for their request.
(200 words)

Course Structure

The course will consist of the following six rubrics, whose contents
will be supplied in greater detail to participants over the weeks
preceding the course. A certain number of Seminars will also be
arranged.  Packets of reading materials will be made available and
certain written work will be expected from participants. Applicants
need to be prepared for intesive work. They will be awarded a
certificate of completion based upon this and their contribution to
the interactive sessions and seminars.

Rubric 1:  Ethical and Philosophical Perspectives on Violence
Lead Instructor: Purushottam Agrawal
The aim of this course will be to develop informed ethical and
philosophical perspectives on violence and conflict. The lectures will
examine ideas of Justice and Compassion; the concept of Evil; the idea
of the fundamental schism;  in-groups and out-groups; love, hatred and
violence; how various religious traditions relate with these issues;
pagan and monotheistic religions; the concept of sprituality without
religion; and psychoanalytical theories of violence. We will employ
insights from creative literature to evaluate ethical stances. There
will be commentaries on scriptures, their interpretation and relation
to everyday practices; literary creativity and issues of
violence/non-violence; and analyses of texts such as the
Shrimadbhagvadgita.  There will be an analysis of the Nirguna
epistomolgy with particular focus on Kabir. The following themes will
be discussed:
1.understanding 'violence in itself'.
2.the Spiritual and the religious.
3.theologies of violence and non-violence.
4.poetry as scripture- the case of the Mahabharta.
5.poetry, ethcis and epistomology- reading Kabir.
6.violence, non-violence and exclusion in religious traditions.
7.the concept of evil.
8.poetry after Auschwitz.

Rubric 2: Aspects of twentieth century world history
Lead Instructor: Dilip Simeon
This survey aims to introduce the formative political issues of the 20th
century, with a focus on basic facts as well as perspective. It will
begin with a session on the significance of history fromthe standpoint
of human evolution. An argument will be developed, to the effect that
the crises of the 20th century represent a turning point of immense
magnitude, with serious implications for human survival. Analytical
interests will include the history of the international labour movement,
democracy and social democracy; the Great War, the new world order and
the rise of nationalism; the global impact of the Bolshevik revolution;
the emergence and significance of fascism; the Second World War, the
Cold War and its long-term effects; the Vietnam war and its impact,
theglobal political crisis of 1968; the origins of the Palestine/ Israel
conflict, and the history of international peace movements.

Rubric 3: Gender, Armed Conflict and Political Violence
Lead Instructors: Urvashi Butalia
This module aims to provide an understanding of the changing nature of
wars and conflicts the world over. More specifically, it looks at the
increasingly complex ways in which the gendered impact of violent
conflict plays itself out in the lives of men and women. It looks
particularly at women as actors, agents, victims, perpetrators and at
the many other roles that lie in between these definitions. It
examines the economic, political, cultural and historical contexts in
which conflicts are taking place the world over, and at the different
ways, in terms of treaties, convenants, international courts,
tribunals, peace agreements that are being used to 'settle' conflicts.
How far do these take account of the specific needs of women? Further,
it contrasts these with the more 'informal' attempts of women's groups
to work towards peace, asking why these go unnoticed, particuarly when
they are the ones that attempt to address the long standing impact of
conflict and political violence in people's lives.

Rubric 4:  Capitalism, late capitalism and concepts of conflict..
Lead Instructor: Jairus Banaji
This rubric will engage with conflict issues through a series of
seminal texts. These are:
1)  Karl Marx's Capital
2)  Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason
3) Duncan Kennedy's Critique of Adjudication
4) Arthur Rosenberg's Fascism as a mass movement
5) Steinfeld's Coercion, Contract and Free Labor

The instructor and his guest lecturers will also examine the following:
Business and regulation in India:  finance capital in the late
twentieth century; the Indian corporate sector in perspective;
liberalisation, corporate lobbies & government/business 'partnership'
in the 1990s; the theory of 'regulatory capture' (business control of
regulation) and its relevance to the SEBI code of corporate governance
and the Takeover Code; public policy and the abstentionism of the
Labour standards, the WTO and women workers
Nationalism, genocide and the alternatives
Organising workers: lessons from the past, perspectives for the future

Further comments:
Marx's capital: a rapid resume of all three volumes of Capital,
mapping and explaining the basic concepts, including issues of
'method'; also an excursus on the history of capitalism (based largely
on my paper 'Islam, the Mediterranean and the rise of capitalism',
which is available on the net);  Free/unfree labour: a valid
dichotomy? (= 5) is based partly on Steinfeld and partly on my paper
'The fictions of free labour' in Historical Materialism vol. 11, no.

Rubric 5 : Issues in the Contemporary History of India and South Asia
Lead Instructor: Sumit Sarkar
The rubric will cover conflict issues in 20th century India and South
Asia, including independent Indian society and polity.  The following
sessions are envisaged:
The `hardening' of identities in late-colonial and postcolonial India ..
Alternative approaches to conflict  in 20th century India .
The making of Indian democracy.
Communal politics in 20th century India  :  ideologies, organizations
, practices .
History, textbooks, Ayodhya .
New social movements and the politics of development .
Trends in Dalit and Tribal  movements in Gujarat and Western India ..
The genesis of conflict in Jammu and Kashmir .
The course of conflict in India's North-East .
The struggle for democracy in Pakistan and Bangladesh .
Civil war, authoritarianism , and  democratic movements in Sri Lanka and Burma

Rubric 6: Human security, Citizenship and the Law
Lead Instructor: Nandita Haksar
Human security is endangered by the increasing number of conflicts
responsible for growing violence, by both State and non-State
agencies. It has been argued that the promotion of rule of law, human
rights and good governance can play a major role in non-violent
conflict resolution and violence mitigation. The rule of law in
contrast to the rule of person is an ideal instrument for mediation
and arbitration since it is consistent, fair, impartial and objective.
This course will look at how the law defines citizenship. Do the human
rights guaranteed to citizens adequately protect them from violations
by the State? Further, we will examine how far the law of citizenship
results in exclusion of many people living within State boundaries and
thus making them especially vulnerable to State and non-state
violence. We will also look at how far international human rights law
can protect individuals from violations by the State as individuals
rather than States become subjects of international law.  Objective of
the critical examination is to see how far the law can effectively
resolve conflicts and how far it is instrument in generating
conflicts.  This rubric will examine the following issues:
International human rights standard setting – problems and difficulties.
Human rights and the Indian Constitution.
Collective rights, individual citizenship and representative democracy
Rights of non-citizens, refugees, migrants
Human rights and the transformation of sovereignty
Conflict between international human rights law and international trade laws
Human rights in conflict resolution within the United Nations
Human rights and conflict resolution in India

About Aman: The Aman Public Charitable Trust was established in 2001
to render humanitarian assistance and training to vulnerable sections
of Indian society, regardless of caste or creed, in particular those
rendered invisible by conflict. The ongoing spiral of tension in South
Asia has bred fear and distrust, and undermined democratic
institutions. Aman believes that society's neglect of people
marginalised by violent conflict will have unhealthy long-term
consequences. We envisage a pro-active role for civil society in
reducing conflict and mitigating its effects.  In keeping with these
aims, we have started a programme for comprehending and reducing
conflict in India. Our sensitisation and legal-aid programmes aim at
strengthening social institutions and resources for non-violent
conflict resolution. Our educational work (of which this course is a
part), is intended to develop and disseminate inter-disciplinary
approaches to conflict.

The course has been made possible by grants given to Aman by Oxfam
(India) Trust and the Ford Foundation.

Please ask for more information on the Aman Trust and the Peace Course
from our office, via e-mail, or ordinary mail. Address correspondence

c/o The Aman Trust
D- 504, Nagarjuna Apartments,
Noida Road,
New Delhi – 110096

E-mail: peacecourse at amanpanchayat.org
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