Here is a quick post about a lesson plan I have used in my peace and conflict studies class, but one that could easily be easily adapted to other disciplines and topics. The ideas and prompts behind this lecture, whilst in this case used primarily to explore the concept of ‘hybridity’ in my discipline, could be altered to explore other landmarks or tangible artifacts that relate specifically to your own lecture themes/course concepts.
I have found that having something tangible (instead of strictly verbal) for students to analyze, or at least have in front of them whilst we are discussing readings, has been really effective—it helps make the abstract a bit more concrete in many cases and, especially if you can work something tangible from your own campus into the lecture, it really focuses their minds on the practical relevance of their studies as it shows how ideas can be used to explore their own ‘everyday’. Learning is multiplied if you are able to do something comparative, having students analyze a ‘distant’ landmark and then asking the same questions about something on your own campus. I have run similar discussions on my classes, taking students to UBCs Goddess of Democracy statue and our recently erected Reconciliation Pole at UBC to discuss ‘aesthetics and global politics’ after having them discuss Guernica using the same lens.
Below is a brief overview of the materials, lesson plan and discussions that followed, in this particular lecture. I hope it is useful in sparking your ideas for your own classes.
Hybridity & Peace Studies: Cooperation, Conflict & Power Between the ‘International’ and the ‘Local’
My integration of the iconic bridge in Mostar came about ¾ of the way through my lecture on ‘hybridity’ in my Critical Peace Studies seminar. Students were assigned the following readings to complete before coming to class (yes, I assigned one of my own articles, it’s a rarity I promise/don’t judge me).
- McLeod, L (2015) ‘A Feminist Approach to Hybridity: Understanding Local and International Interactions in Producing Post-Conflict Gender Security’ Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 9(1), 48-61.
- Peterson, JH (2013) “A conceptual unpacking of ‘hybridity’: Accounting for notions of power, politics & progress in analyses of aid driven interfaces” Journal of Peacebuilding and Development 7(2), 9-22
This ensured students were coming with a set of critical ideas and frameworks which could be used to analyze the case studies I would introduce in class. One of the main hurdles I see students facing, even in upper year courses, is their ability to effectively apply theoretical/conceptual material to case studies on their own—so this is a big focus the seminar series. This is also a reason I haven’t actually assigned a reading on the bridge specifically — I want them to be able analyze a case on their own and I worry that they would ONLY focus on the case-reading if supplied (though I’m still weighing the pros and cons of this strategy).
After a short review of these readings and a mini-lecture on hybridity that incorporated other readings on the extended/optional reading list, I offered a narrative of my own personal experiences of the debates from these articles—what I personally witnessed through my interviews with staff working in the International Judges and Prosecutors Program in Kosovo between 2006 and 2007. This allowed me to ‘model’, what application of theory/concept to case looked like to the students.
I then set them the task of applying the concept of hybridity, including the debates from all of the above to a brand new (to them) case. The iconic bridge in Mostar.
I initially showed them these two images whilst providing them with a basic understanding of the conflict.
We then watched this video, which provides a brief context to the bridge’s history and insight into research conducted on the role of cultural heritage in conflict, post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding in this particular case. Prior to starting the video, students were instructed to to think about the concepts and debates explored in the hybridity readings and mini lectured throughout the viewing (purposeful viewing as opposed to passive viewing)
After the video, but before beginning the class discussion, I ended with a slide containing this image
I then opened up the discussion, asking students to reflect on the video and the images of the bridge, based on what they had learned regarding the concept of ‘hybridity’. Now, my seminar students are incredibly self-motivated, highly intelligent 4th years so the conversation really just took off on its own without much input from me. However, one could give students more specific prompts (for example ‘The video did not make any mention of gender issues related to the bridge or it’s rebuilding, are there questions or issues you think could add a gender dimension to analysis of this case? Do you see any examples of the manifestations of hybridity noted in the lecture/by Bhabha—mimicry, assimilation, etc? Of the types of power dynamics noted in the Mac Ginty article, which of those do you think best illustrates what happened in the rebuilding of the bridge? Etc etc. Alter these based on your own landmark, topic, readings).
With my students, because they had also been exposed to readings and concepts related to critiques of liberal peacebuildng, aesthetics as well as resistance, students also began making incredible links to debates held in previous weeks. For example, one year I had a student note (regarding the last image)— ‘The fact that the ‘Don’t Forget’ graffiti is in English makes me think about when we talked about the ‘audience’ for modes of resistance and the performative element of protest…’ Another past student once made a reference to ‘Symbolic Politics Theory’ from one of their other IR courses. These are other ‘prompts’ you include in your lecture to stimulate critical thinking (asking students to also make links to other weeks, other courses)—in order to model to students how the same topic/issue can be studied effectively using multiple lenses.
The full reading list for my hybridity week is as follows
- Global Governance 2012, ‘Special Issue: Hybrid Peace Governance’ 18: 1: 1–132.
- Bhabha, Homi K. (1994) The Location of Culture. New York, NY: Routledge.
- Richmond, O. 2011, ‘De-romanticising the Local, Demystifying the International: Hybridity in Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands’ The Pacific Review 24: 1: 115–136.
- Childs, P. & Williams, R.J.P. 1997, An Introduction to Post-colonial Theory, Hemel Hempsted, UK: Prentice Hall.
- Richmond, O. 2011, ‘Critical Agency, Resistance and a Post-colonial Civil Society’ in Cooperation and Conflict 46: 4: 419–440.
- Spivak, G.C. 1988, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ in Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G. & Tiffin, H. eds, The Postcolonial Studies Reader, London: Routledge: 24–28.
- Mitchell, Audra (2010) “Peace Beyond Process” Millennium—Journal of International Studies, 38(3), 641-664.
- Mac Ginty, R. 2010, ‘Hybrid Peace: The Interaction between Top-Down and Bottom-Up Peace’ Security Dialogue 41: 4: 391–412.
- Richmond OP (2009) A post-liberal peace: Eirenism and the everyday. Review of International Studies 35(3), 557-580.
- Williams P (2013) Reproducing everyday peace in north India: Process, politics, and power. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103(1), 230-250.
*If anyone is interested, these are the readings that I assign to students for the week on Aesthetics, where I also have students explore, discuss and analyze landmarks and other more tangible artifacts. We also spend time at UBC Museum of Anthropology as part of this set of lessons (email me for full reading list)
- Forward’ and ‘Chapter 1’ of Bleiker, R (2012) Aesthetics and World Politics. Palgrave MacMillan: New York
- Steele, BJ (2012) Defacing Power: The Aesthetics of Insecurity in Global Politics. University of Michigan Press. Available as an e-book from UBC Library—please read Chapter 1: p 25-71.
And finally, here are my assigned readings for the resistance week (email me for full reading list)
- Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth (2008) “Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict” International Security, Vol. 33, No. 1 pp. 7-44
- Scott, J., (1990). Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts, Yale University Press. ‘Chapter 1: Behind the Official Story’ (available as an e-book from UBC Library)
- Jackson, R (2017) “Pacifism: the anatomy of a subjugated knowledge” Critical Studies on Security.