ANTH8043 - Conflict and Development in the Pacific (12 units) ANTH8032 - Law, Order and Conflict in the Pacific (6 units)
Australia’s Pacific neighbours are often viewed from Canberra as part of an “arc of instability”, owing to perceptions that these countries are prone to high levels of political volatility and disorder. These easy generalisations disregard the enormous diversity of the region and gloss over the complexities of historical and contemporary patterns of development, but nevertheless continue to inform popular and official views in Australia. Utilizing an eclectic range of theoretical approaches drawn from the disciplines of anthropology, criminology, political science and conflict studies, Conflict and Development in the Pacific and Law, Order and Conflict in the Pacific aim to equip students with tools to develop their analytical skills and their insight into social order and development in the region. Utilising case studies from Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Timor-Leste, the course will explore a range of critical contemporary issues including: competing and changing notions of social order; the role of, and relation between, state and non-state processes of social control; patterns of conflict and conflict stresses; internal and external responses to problems of law and order in the Asia Pacific, and the dynamics of peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction throughout the region.
The course is convened by Dr Sinclair Dinnen and Dr Nicole Haley both of whom are leading experts on Melanesia. Sinclair has been carrying out research in the region since 1984, when he began lecturing at the University of Papua New Guinea. His research and publications deal with: security and development; law and justice reform; policing; restorative justice; legal and regulatory pluralism; policing; conflict and peacemaking; state-building & nation-building in ‘fragile’ states; aid policy; and Australia’s regional relations. He has done extensive policy-relevant research in Papua New Guinea and the Solomons Islands, and contributed to the Melanesian Case Study for the World Development Report (2011) Conflict, Violence and Development. In addition to the two course convenors, these two courses draw on the research, policy work and expertise of scholars and staff of SSGM.
Nicole has been researching in Papua New Guinea since 1994, when she undertook doctoral research in the Southern Highlands region. Her research and publications deal extensively with political and social conflict in Papua New Guinea, including issues of social identity and contemporary land politics, electoral politics, conflict and armed violence. While her primary research has focused on the Southern Highlands, she has also undertaken research in Enga Province, Port Moresby and in the Solomon Islands and brings to the course a detailed knowledge of the culture and context of conflict in Melanesia. She has also undertaken several research consultancies that are highly relevant to the course, including the 2005 PNG Armed Violence Assessment.
Students who have taken Conflict and Development in the Pacific and Law, Order and Conflict in the Pacific have been exceptionally enthusiastic about the courses:
“Thanks again for running the course - I have really enjoyed it and have been recommending it to others.”
“I enjoyed this course above other options within the MAAPD particularly because it was 'applied' and drew on a strong pool of expertise and experience within the University.”
“Thanks very much for a great course.”
“Thank you for a highly enjoyable intensive [course]”
PASI6003 - Environment, Conflict and Development in the Western Pacific
Course convenor – Dr. Matthew Allen
This course examines the contemporary relationships between environment, development and conflict in the cultural area known as ‘Melanesia’, with a particular focus on the independent nations of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Melanesia has often been characterised as belonging to an ‘arc of instability’, since many conflicts over development, often violent, have occurred in the region. Though such labels do not do justice to the complexity of the region, they do indicate that the logging, mining and resource extraction industries that are profoundly affecting the lives and livelihoods of the peoples of the region and do not go uncontested. Using the disciplinary lenses of geography, anthropology and, to a lesser extent, political science, the course will lead students to a much greater understanding of some of the pressing issues impacting on our near neighbours. Teaching and learning in this course are partly organized around three case studies in which groups of students take the lead in directing the inquiry. The broad topics of the case studies are land and development, conflict, and Australia’s engagements with Melanesia.
Environment, Conflict and Development in the Western Pacific is convened by Dr. Matthew Allen. Matt brings to the course extensive fieldwork, research and consultancy experience in Melanesia, having commenced working in the region in 1997. His doctoral research investigated political economy and political ecology approaches to the conflict in the Solomon Islands (1998-2003) and was based primarily on interviews with ex-militants. His research interests focus on political economy, political ecology, development, and peace and conflict in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.
Matt has been involved in teaching since 2004, and in addition to teaching PASI2003 he is the Co-Convenor of Pacific Studies at the ANU. He has a high commitment to the use of innovative teaching methods that enhance the learning experience for students. Through the use of case studies and role plays, the course strongly fosters reflexive learning. Matt is a prize winning teacher, having received the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific Award for Teaching Excellence in 2012. In addition to lectures by the convenor, a number of guest lectures are given by some of the ANU's leading Pacific Islands scholars.
Students who have taken Environment, Conflict and Development in the Western Pacific have been exceptionally enthusiastic about the course:
“The case study sections of the course were particularly strong learning tools, one of the most immersive learning experiences I have had at university” (2011).
“I enjoyed how assessments were based upon weekly readings rather than on broad essay questions as in most courses. I found the structure of the course really engaging and useful. Definitely my favourite course of the semester and of my degree” (2011).
“The lecturer taught in a way that enabled critical engagement with the course material. I felt that my over-all learning was greatly enhanced by the lecturer” (2012).
“This was the most rewarding course I have ever taken. I was really satisfied with the quality of teaching” (2012).
For more details about the course requirements and assessment, see Environment, Conflict and Development in the Western Pacific.