HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE COURSE EVALUATION
Name: Katherine Watier
Year of Entry. 94/09
Term: Spring 1996
Number and Title: SS 256 Conflict Resolution and Historical Analysis
Gregory S. Prince, Jr., President of Hampshire College, Professor of History
Conflict Resolution and Historical Analysis explored the nature of historical inquiry and the role of conflict as the central content of written history. History represents the universal context in which humankind acts, thinks and judges. Few individuals, however, have the tools to explore this context in which they live; and even historians, who play so prominent a role in creating it, usually do not reflect at length on the art of their craft. This course attempted to give students the tools and the ability to reflect upon both the nature of conflict and the nature of history and to see how these two subjects interrelate.
Each week the class read one text in full and discussed it in detail. Readings included:
Katherine Watier developed the themes of this course by pursuing a study of the Bosnian conflict. She focused primarily on the issue of whether genocide occurred in Bosnia. She concluded it did, and explained why the European powers and the United States failed to intervene, attributing much of that failure to the success of the Bosnian-Serbs in blurring the issues and in providing convenient rationales for lack of intervention, particularly their argument that it was simply a civil war.
She argued these themes clearly and forcefully in her paper, which in its summary of the conflict in Bosnia an her description of the various techniques the Serbians used, was clearly written and well-researched. The analytical part of the paper was clear and forceful, but needed more revision and editing. Her narrative writing is stronger than her analytical writing, but the two were combined to make a very strong case for the theme she was developing.
Her oral presentation, focusing on the Bosnian conflict, involved in preparing a set of written materials for each individual in the class to enable that person to take on a specific role in the conflict as a way of underscoring the complex issues and emotions that existed in the Bosnian conflict. The role-playing "scripts" were clearly and succinctly prepared, enabling class participants to "play" their role effectively. The discussion highlighted the complexity of the conflict. The presentation was imaginative, forceful, and well-prepared.
In class discussions, Katherine is was clear, and asked excellent questions. She was less confident in challenging issues with her own interpretation, but her questions had the same effect. Overall, she produced a strong set of materials and was an active contributor to the course. As she gains more experience and improves her writing, the force of her ideas will become even clearer.
Within her team, she faced a difficult problem because the other member was using English as a second language and had difficulty with writing.