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Fall 2022 Reading Group

Contemporary Dilemmas in Dispute Resolution

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam

This reading group will explore situations and applications that challenge core principles in negotiation, mediation, and dispute systems design work. When placed in certain contexts, bedrock ideals in many interest-based models of dispute resolution – impartiality, joint contribution, validity of multiple perspectives – may begin to seem less benign. What is the responsibility (if any) of the conflict management “neutral” to have and apply a particular view of justice and morality? How can practitioners account for and address power imbalances between parties without re-entrenching them? How do we grapple with principles that, when applied in certain ways, or by certain actors, could lead to results that are deeply discomfiting at a moral or ethical level? And how do different approaches to managing conflict help – or hinder – a search for “truth”?

To bring these questions to life, contexts for our discussions will focus on current live conflicts that cross social, political, legal, and other dimensions. Topics may include the relationship between negotiation, advocacy, and activism; the impact of mis- and disinformation on models of conflict engagement; the role of norms and process in a polarized social and political environment; and other recent challenges.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: 9/23, 9/30, 10/7, 10/14, 10/21, 10/28