Arts, violence and peacebuilding

An online course on peacebuilding from arts

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Course Information

To provide students with the conceptual tools, analytical, theoretical and practical approach to enable them critically, from the perspective of the social sciences, the different approaches and explanatory frameworks studies conflict, violence, peace processes and peacebuilding. In order to offer the student a wide range of possibilities, cases from different continents are analyzed.

After completing the course the student is expected to generate questions and reflections on issues related to peacebuilding issues and alternatives to violence

Instructor: Paola Helena Acosta Sierra

My name is Paola Acosta Sierra, Classic and contemporary dancer, professional in Literary Studies and magister in Analysis and Formulation of Social Policy of the Pontifical Javeriana University where at the moment it attends a specialization in Resolution of Conflicts. Director of the professional program of Performative Arts at the Politécnico Grancolombiano, an university institution at Bogota, Colombia; was professor, investigating and coordinating the areas humanistic and research of the program of Scenic and Visual Production of LaSalle College International; external consultant for the International Finance Corporation ‒ IFC ‒ Advisory Services in Latin America and the Caribbean of the World Bank Group; directed different projects from investigation for the formulation of academic programs related to the scenic arts approved by the Ministry of National Education; formulated public policy for victims from the scenic arts; with an educational trajectory of 15 years one has evolved in the dance areas, investigation, semiotics, esthetic, literature, communication´s theories, writing and project of degree; was coordinating for young people and adult in the area of promotion and reading in the Public Library Virgilio Barco, is national and international speaker with several publications.

About the Schedule

The course buils 10 weeks from the active participation of students and the guidance of the teacher. Weekly synchronous meetings will be held during one hour that consist primarily of thepresentation by the tutor on the specific topic of the week, with ample space for discussion and participation / students review the previous material in order to answer questions about the topic or methodology deliveries.

There will be readings, academic studies, videos, lectures and documents of a historical, mandatory and additional assigned for each topic.

During the module, students should submit a new topic in forum weekly according to their duties, plus two comments contributors to their peers; Participants will create an interactive museum of memory for four weeks in groups, each group will develop the corresponding region indicated and hang on the platform of the museum, every week; will have to develop an investigation into a process of symbolic intervention in the context of peacebuilding which make two deliveries one in week 5 and another at week 9 through a digital platform and a final oral presentation in two latest synchronous sessions.

Synchronous (live) events

A week begins on Saturday and ends on Friday . Unless otherwise noted, assignments are due by 11:59pm (Mountain Time) Saturday in the week they're listed.

We have ten synchronous (live) events noted in the Getting Started module. All synchronous events are recorded so you can watch the recording if you miss the live event. Also, in this course, group work is supported and your group may choose to set up synchronous meetings.

Course and Module Level Learning Objectives

The design of this course is aligned with the Chico Rubric for Online Instruction (ROI). The overarching goal of ROI program is to develop high-quality learning environments both inside and outside the classroom.

This course, Arts, Violence, and peacebuilding, has five overarching course level learning objectives:


1. Understand the various conflicts and their components (First week)

2. Identify forms of violence in different situations (First week)

3. Identify effective approaches to conflict resolution (Second week)

4. Locate correlate peace and Processes (Third week)

5. Associate the importance of memory in the construction of peace in the future (Fourth and sixth week)

6. Differentiate the approaches on peace and the guidelines to its construction (Fifth week)

7. Understand the multidisciplinary approach in relation to alternatives to violence (seventh and octave week)

8. Build a digital platform with its investigation into a process of symbolic intervention in the context of peacebuilding.

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First, what you can expect from me:

  • I will take all your questions, comments, and concerns seriously.

  • I will respond promptly to requests for help

    • if the need for help is immediate, call (or Skype me if you see me online)

    • if the need is important, but you can wait for up to 24 hours, email me with my regular email addresses

    • if the need is not pressing and you can wait up to 72 hours, contact me via Blackboard Mail or Discussions.

  • I like to encourage interactions among everyone and do not wish to be a "sage on the stage" so I do not respond to every post of every required discussion. In other words, I do not wish to be the center of every conversation. :)

  • I will communicate with you about your assignments within 10 days of you turning them in. If I am unable to do so, I will let you know when you can expect to receive feedback.

Next, what I expect from all of us:


  • Don't flame (personally attack) someone. It is possible to disagree with an idea without flaming the person espousing the idea.

  • Use emoticons and acronyms to convey your emotional intent in order to avoid misunderstandings. For example:

    • to indicate that you're smiling, use :)

    • to indicate you're winking / or making a joke or kidding, use ;) or JK (Just Kidding)

    • to signify you found something funny/amusing, use LOL (Laughing Out Loud)

    • to signify that you're gently expressing an opinion, use IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)

  • Remember that "politeness" and "appropriateness" are culturally-defined concepts. What is considered polite or appropriate communication in one culture (educational environments are a culture as well and, as such, are also included in this statement) may be impolite or inappropriate in another. When in doubt, err on the side of over-caution when you are composing a message. And, when reading someone else's message, try to remember that written communication is easily misconstrued: so, if you find yourself responding poorly to someone's message, request clarification of their meaning before you get upset and respond with a flaming message. :)

Communication Style

  • Listen actively

  • Think critically. Critical thinking, grounded in intellectual integrity, is expected. In other words, seek clarity of meaning and understanding. For example:

    • Question ideas, not people.

    • Attempt to see things from other perspectives

    • Use supporting relevant information

    • Attempt to recognize and assess implications of your ideas

  • Think creatively. Creative thinking is encouraged.

    • Brainstorm possibilities

    • Consider how to make the impossible possible (dream)

    • Be supportive of ideas you don't get (don't understand) and try to understand them.

  • Communicate assertively. A person communicates assertively by not being afraid to speak his or her mind or trying to influence others, but doing so in a way that respects the personal boundaries of others (from Wikipedia entry on assertiveness).

All assignment instructions, and the resources needed to complete them, are available in the Modules area of the online course room.

Discussion assignment grading will occur on the Saturday after the assignment is due. Big assignments and exams will be graded within 5-10 days of you turning in the assignment or exam if at all possible. If not, I will certainly explain the situation to you and provide you with a likely timeframe in which you will receive feedback.


  • Assistance synchronous meetings (10) 5%

  • Participation in the Forum 15%

  • First submissions 15%

  • Second submissions 15%

  • Join the two Wikis and Create and Share an Infographic 15%

  • Cosntrucción interactive museum 15%

  • Oral presentation and final paper 20%

Late Assignment Policy

I recognize that sometimes things happen which make it difficult to complete assignments on time. So, you can turn in your assignments late - but only up to a week late and no later. Ten percent is automatically deducted for late assignments.

Exceptions to this policy are at the discretion of the instructor and may be made for certain circumstances, but you must contact me to make arrangements before the assignment is late. I will make exceptions to the prior arrangements requirement in the event of tragic events such as car accidents, a major family emergency, etc. Again, this is at the instructor's discretion.


ATTWOOD, B. (2008)In the Age of Testimony: The Stolen Generations Narrative, “Distance,” and Public History” en Public Culture, Vol XX, núm 1, pp. 75 – 95.

CARUTH, C. (1995) Trauma Explorations in Memory, Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University Press.

CARUTH, C. (1996) Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History. The Johns Hopkins University Press

DAS, Veena. Language and body: Transactions in the construction of pain. In: Daedalus; Winter (1996); 125, 1.ECO, H. (1996), Seis paseos por los bosques narrativos, Barcelona, Lumen.

HUHLE, Rainer. (2005 septiembre-diciembre) “De Nuremberg a La Haya: Los crímenes de derechos humanos ante la justicia. Problemas, avances y perspectivas a los 60 años del Tribunal Militar Internacional de Nuremberg”, en Análisis Político, núm. 55, pp. 20-38.

KALYVAS, S. (2006), The logic of violence in civil war, New York, Cambridge University Press.

LACAPRA, D. (2001), Writing History Writing Trauma, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press.

LAUB, D. (1995), “Truth and Testimony: The Process and the Struggle”, en Caruth, C. (edit., y trad.) Explorations in memory, 1995, Unites States of America, The Johns Hopkins University Press.

PERIS, J. (2011): “Hubo un tiempo no tan lejano… Relatos y estéticas de la memoria e ideología de la reconciliación en España”, en 452ºF, revista electrónica de teoría de la literatura y literatura comparada [en línea], Vol. 4, pp.35-55, disponible en, recuperado 1 de enero de 2012.

SANTNER, E. (1992), “History beyond the Pleasure Principle: Some Thoughts on the Representation of Trauma”, en Friedlander S. (edit.), Probing the Limits of Representation, Cambridge, Harvard University Press.

WIEVIORKA A. (2006) The Era of Witness. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.


The format of this syllabus is constructed from developed by Dr. Julia Lynn Parra, Assistant Professor, NMSU. Its content and academic information is based on research I've been doing a few years ago, it has been influential my tutor Gustavo Salazar and my teacher Roberto Rodriguez.


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