Course #
Section Number
Fall 2024
Global Conflict Studies
Course Instructor

This course was previously named "The Changing Character of Conflict: Conflict in the Gray Zone". Conflict has been a constant companion in human experience from time immemorial. Some argue that conflict is inherent in the human condition, or in human nature. Yet today something is different; something has changed. Conflict seems more omnipresent, more intractable, and more dangerous. This class examines the various new domains of conflict and the way they affect global power dynamics, showing that while conflict is a permanent feature of human society, it has evolved to occupy new spaces using a new toolbox. Paraphrasing Clausewitz, the nature of conflict remains constant, yet its character is eternally changing. The prevailing conflict paradigm continues to emphasize the familiar military or kinetic domain often neglecting other segments of the conflict spectrum. The unprecedented acceleration of digital and other technologies threatens a future evolution of conflict likely to outpace state capacity to mitigate and manage conflict. Conflict today and in the indefinite future is likely to be asymmetric, hybrid, and full-spectrum. The course is divided into five segments; 1) Introduction and context of contemporary conflict; 2) Differing world views as they relate to conflict; 3) New conflict domains and media; 4) Implications for national and multi-lateral policy; and 5) Projecting future conflict domains.


This class will not meet on Monday, September 30th; it will have its first meeting on Monday, October 7th.