CAS, ICAR Add to Interdisciplinary Minor Programs

Posted: July 29, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Christopher Anzalone

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) will roll out a new interdisciplinary minor in conflict analysis and resolution this fall. Undergraduate students already can choose from a wide selection of interdisciplinary minor programs, which allow students to integrate the academic study of various fields by taking courses from several different departments.

The new interdisciplinary minor in conflict analysis and resolution becomes the 18th such program, joining such minors as ancient Mediterranean art and archaeology, bioinformatics, film and media studies, and urban and suburban studies. Requiring three courses within the conflict resolution field, the program will otherwise allow students who enroll to select from a variety of elective courses across several academic departments that deal with conflict.

“The study of conflict is inherent in the study of human interaction. Many disciplines have contributed significantly to an understanding of conflict processes and causes,” says Julie Shedd, undergraduate program specialist for ICAR. “The minor in conflict analysis and resolution was created to allow students the opportunity to focus more specifically on conflict and learn what other disciplines can bring to the study of conflict. In addition, a better understanding of conflict will broaden the lessons taught in the student’s primary discipline,” she adds. “Studying conflict provides a better understanding of the world we live in. Students in conflict analysis and resolution learn theories of conflict, how to analyze sources of conflict, and practical conflict resolution skills.”

For additional details about the new undergraduate interdisciplinary minor program in conflict analysis and resolution, contact Julie Shedd at 703-993-3781 or jshedd@gmu.edu.

Another recent addition to the interdisciplinary minors is in Islamic Studies, which got under way last fall. The program, which combines core course requirements from religious studies, history, and public and international affairs, allows students to select from a variety of elective courses spanning programs from the College of Visual and Performing Arts to the Department of Anthropology and Sociology. The only requirement is that chosen electives deal substantially with Islam or Islamic societies or world regions with significant Muslim populations. The program also requires that students take a minimum of 3 credits in a foreign language—Russian, Chinese, Arabic, or French—spoken in the Muslim world.

“Islam has gained a lot of negative attention recently, and the Islamic studies minor is a good way to explore Islam’s importance from a critical, yet constructive, perspective. It allows students to gain an understanding of its global presence, contributions to civilization, and complex realities today,” says Sumaiya Hamdani, Islamic Studies coordinator and a professor of history. “As with anything that pressing in current events, Islam is in dire need of better understanding and information. It is vital for students to be better informed about the world they live in, but it is also useful to be informed about Islam, given its importance today.”

Hamdani explains that the minor program also hosts speakers who have made important contributions to furthering understanding of Islam. Past speakers include Tariq Ramadan, a major European Islamic academic, and renowned calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya, who designed the “Eid Greetings” stamp for the United States Postal Service. “We also host social events and guided field trips to local museums, as well as and cultural events for minor students, all in an effort to further dialogue and understanding about Islam,” says Hamdani. Plans are in the works for a film series as well.

More information about the Islamic studies interdisciplinary minor program is available online.

Write to at