Conflict Frontiers Massive Open Online Seminar Series (MOOS) Combined Syllabi

 

The full Conflict Frontiers Massive Open Online Seminar (MOOS) consists of a series of shorter seminars, organized into several different topic areas. Each of the individual seminars includes a set of short (~15 min) videos, supplemented with related written materials from other BI and MBI sections (Conflict Fundamentals, the BI Knowledge Base, Things YOU Can Do to Help, BI in Context, and at times, Colleague Activity posts.)  Only the videos are listed here, but a link to each full seminar provides access to all the associated written materials on each topic. 

Constructive Conflict
Statement

Join us in calling for a dramatic expansion of efforts to limit the destructiveness of intractable conflict.

In addition to accessing the seminars here, you can sign up to receive them on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Alternatively, you can get an email compilation of each seminar by signing up for our Newsletter.

Currently available seminars include:

A Note about Post Order:  We should note that this list is inherently linear, but this set of ideas is not linear. Rather, it is a web.  We have (as usual) had a very difficult time deciding what to post first, what later, what toward the end.  Conflict, and particularly complex systems, are very much chicken-and-egg affairs--everything relates to everything else.  So we will be presenting a lot of different ideas up front, and then circling back to them over time as we explore earlier ideas further and present related ideas that need to be linked to something that came before.  

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The Conflict Frontiers Seminar series starts by arguing that the destructive way in which society handles intractable conflict is the single greatest threat facing humanity. We then explore the factors that make intractable conflict so difficult including, especially, the challenges posed by the enormous scale of society-wide conflict and the many problems posed by the social and psychological complexity of these conflicts. We also examine the limitations of current strategies for addressing the conflict problem and suggest a broad strategy for getting around those limitations. 


Conflict Frontiers Seminar #1 

Understanding the Intractable Conflict Problem

See also the

Intractable Conflict
Challenge

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Destructive Conflict is the Most Serious Threat to Our Common Future

Here we introduce the Conflict Frontiers Seminar and discuss what we mean by the term "intractable conflict." We then explain why we think our inability to successfully address such conflicts is the single greatest threat facing humanity today.  This seminar goes on to explore the factors that make intractable conflict so difficult including, especially, the challenges posed by the enormous scale of society-wide conflict and the many problems posed by the social and psychological complexity of these conflicts. 

Frontiers Seminar 1 Videos

The full Frontiers Seminar 1 Syllabus contains many more written materials relating to these topics (in addition to the videos shown above).


Conflict Frontiers Seminar #2

Pushing the Frontier: the Limits of Business-as-Usual Approaches

Low-Cost Textbooks


We ask educators who use Beyond Intractability as a major part of their courses or training programs to ask their students / trainees to donate roughly 25% of the cost of a comparable textbook. (For example, we ask our students to donate $5-$30 depending upon the amount of material used.) More information is available on our Using BI as a Textbook page.

Part of our inability to successfully address intractable conflicts is that we try to treat them as if they were like other more "normal" conflicts.  But our "business-as-usual" conflict resolution and management strategies don't work.  Often such approaches actually make things worse. Here we explain why--and start discussing what can be done instead. 

Frontiers Seminar 2 Videos:

The full Seminar 2 Syllabus contains many more written materials relating to these topics (in addition to the videos shown above).


Conflict Frontiers Seminar #3

Introduction to Complexity and "Systems Thinking" -- Theoretical Antecedents

Seminar 2 ended by explaining the shortcomings of the past conflict resolution paradigms, and calling for a new "complexity" or "systems" paradigm for conflict and its resolution. This seminar introduces a number of conflict theories and theorists who have been developing such an approach to conflict over the last 20 or so years.

Frontiers Seminar 3 Videos:

The full Seminar 3 Syllabus contains many more written materials relating to these topics (in addition to the videos shown above).


Conflict Frontiers Seminar 4

Moving Toward a Complexity-Oriented Paradigm

This seminar continues our discussion of a complexity-oriented approach to peacebuilding, drawing from the work of Kenneth Boulding and Wendell Jones, and then adding a "Burgess spin" on the topic. Posts in this seminar include:

Frontiers Seminar 4 Videos:

The full Seminar 4 Syllabus contains many more written materials relating to these topics (in addition to the videos shown above).

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In the next part of the Frontiers Seminar we explain how we think that a strategy of Massively Parallel Peacebuilding (MPP) can help address these problems.  MPP is a highly-decentralized strategy for meeting the scale and complexity challenge. Building on what we now know (and can reasonably expect to find out), MPP identifies an Action List over 100 steps we can all take to help address ten big challenges that lie at the core of the intractable conflict problem. 


Conflict Frontiers Seminar 5

Introduction to Massively Parallel Peacebuilding

Here we introduce Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess's concept of Massively Parallel Peacebuilding (MPP) as a systems approach to intractable conflict.  MPP introduces ten "challenges" that need to be met to overcome intractability, and suggests over 100 things (10 or so per challenge) that need to be done (by 1000s of people and organizations) working in parallel to successfully address any intractable conflict. (The last Frontiers video explains how this isn't a totally crazy idea.)

Frontiers Seminar 5 Videos:

The full Seminar 5 Syllabus contains many more written materials relating to these topics (in addition to the videos shown above).


Massively Parallel Peacebuilding Action List

Massively Parallel Peacebuilding Action List (text) - The ten challenges of MPP are daunting, but there is a role here for everyone. 


Conflict Frontiers Seminar 6

Figuring Out What is Going On (MPP Challenge 1)

One of the common traps of intractability is that there is a tendency to over-simplify a conflict to a simple "us-versus-them" struggle.  But they are always much more than that. The first challenge in Massively Parallel Peacebuilding is simply figuring out what is really going on in any particular conflict. 

Frontiers Seminar 6 Videos

  • See the Complexity It's not Just "Us versus Them" -- Parties, issues, dynamics, power, and relationships are among the conflict elements one must clearly understand.
  • Map the Basic Conflict Elements -- Conflict mapping lets you see what's going on in a conflict, so you can figure out how to engage to have the most positive impact. 
  • Identify the Core Issues -- Wonder why conflict mapping matters?  This video shows how it can totally change your approach to a conflict.
  • Identify the Overlay Issues -- This, too, shows why conflict mapping matters as it helps explain why simple, quick "solutions," never work in intractable conflicts.  At the same time it explores what DOES need to happen to tackle such conflicts effectively.

The full Seminar 6 Syllabus contains many more written materials relating to these topics (in addition to the videos shown above)

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Authoritarian Populism is a term that we and others use to refer to the rise of "light" or "would-be authoritarian leaders" who purport to be "men of the people," who are, indeed, being elected by popular vote in a number of democracies around the world. Their behavior, once in office, however, is much more like an autocrat than a democratic leader. In this unit, we explore how our ideas of Massively Parallel Peacebuilding can contribute to an understanding of this problem, as well as suggesting constructive responses to it.


Conflict Frontiers Seminar 7

Using MPP to Understand the Authoritarian Populism Problem

As an example of how MPP can be used, in this seminar we explore one of the greatest threats to world and national peace today -- what we (and others) call "authoritarian populism."  The following are a series of posts explaining what this is, and how and why it has developed in the U.S. and elsewhere. Then we will be utilizing the MPP approach to explore avenues for reversing or resisting such tendencies.

Frontiers Seminar 7 Videos:

The full Seminar 7 Syllabus contains many more written materials relating to these topics (in addition to the videos shown above).


Conflict Frontiers Seminar 8

MPP-based Strategies for Addressing the Authoritarian Populism Problem

Seminar 7 introduced and explained the nature of the "Authoritarian Populism Problem."  In this seminar we introduce a series of posts that begin to explore ways to constructively address the problem.

Frontiers Seminar 8 Videos

The full Seminar 8 Syllabus contains many more written materials relating to these topics (in addition to the videos shown above).

 

 

This fourth Frontiers Topic Area builds on our earlier "Constructive Confrontation Initiative." Unlike the other topic areas, which combine several individual Conflict Frontiers Seminars, this Topic Area only has one seminar of the same name.


Conflict Frontiers Seminar 9: Constructive Confrontation

This seminar is set up somewhat differently than the previous ones.  It and combines materials from (primarily) our Things You Can Do to Help Blog and our Conflict Fundamentals Seminar. Links to each of this Seminar's sections are given below; and all the details can be found in the full Seminar 9 Syllabus.

The full Seminar 9 Syllabus contains many more written materials relating to these topics.

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