The Conflict Conference 
1st Annual Conference April 10-11, 2014 
Austin, Texas

The Conflict Conference (TCC) will hold its first annual conference at the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) on April 10-11, 2014. TCC is a multidisciplinary annual conference promoting the study of conflict and conflict resolution. We invite papers on any relevant topic, such as apologies, advocacy, dispute resolution, peace, negotiation, reconciliation, mediation, dialogue, restorative justice, conflict management, and ethics.


Keynote Speakers


Linda L. Putnam

University of California, Santa Barbara

Institutionalizing Conflict: How Routine Cycles of Framing
Perpetuate Intergroup Disputes

Abstract: This lecture focuses on the utility of studying intractable conflicts with an institutional lens. If the frames and behaviors of conflicting groups become both predictable and routinely enacted and legitimated, then the contest of framing among disputants may become institutionalized within a field. This lecture centers on the discourse framing in three environmental conflicts that become intractable. Using interview and newspaper data, it identifies how the disputants frame their identities, each other, the distribution of power, and the conflict’s collaborative potential. Using a grounded theory approach, we show how the conflicts become routinized through a complex cycle of framing that we label a “framing trap. " This trap has implications for identity work in conflicts and for the management of intractable disputes.

Bio: Linda L. Putnam is Professor of the Department of Communication at University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a past Director of the Program on Conflict and Dispute Resolution in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Dr. Putnam’s research focuses on communication strategies and tactics; discourse analysis, and communicative framing in organizational, labor-management, and environmental conflicts. Her discourse work highlights the contradictions that emerge in formal negotiations and her studies of interaction framing contribute to the literature on conflict transformation. Her research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. She is a Fellow of the International Communication Association, a Distinguished Scholar of the National Communication Association, a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association for Conflict Management and a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Academy of Management Association. As a Past President of the International Association for Conflict Management, she is the author or co-author of over 150 articles, book chapters, and books, including Communication and Negotiation (1992).


Sara Cobb

George Mason University

Redressing Narrative Compression: 
Creating 'Lines of Flight' for Conflict Transformation.

Abstract: Conflicts today are comprised of both master narratives, which anchor dominant cultural frames that designate the good from the bad, as well as counter narratives, where delegitimized groups struggle to unseat those master narratives. However, counter narratives are rarely successful and most often, paradoxically, they contribute to strengthen the master narratives through the process of contestation. I refer to this as "narrative compression. "  I will explore some case examples, and offer a framework for redressing narrative compression, using Deleuze's concept of "lines of flight. " This presentation will reveal the power of master narratives, in conflict dynamics, and explore practices that could contribute to their destabilization.

Bio: Dr. Sara Cobb, (Ph.D. , University of Massachusetts, Amherst) is the Drucie French Cumbie Chair at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University. She was from 2001-2009 the dean/director of ICAR (now S-CAR; now she teaches and conducts research on the relationship between narrative and violent conflict. She is also the Director of the Center for the Study of Narrativeand Conflict Resolution at ICAR that provides a hub for scholarship on narrative approaches to conflict analysis and resolution.

Formerly, she was the Director of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and has held positions at a variety of research institutions such as University of California, Santa Barbara, University of Connecticut. She has also consulted to and/or conducted training for a host of public and private organizations, including UN High Commission on Refugees, UNDP, La Caxia Bank, and Exxon, the American Bar Association, as well as a number of universities in Europe and Latin America.

Dr. Cobb is widely published. Her new book, Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution (Oxford University Press) lays out the theoretical basis for a narrative lens on both conflict analysis and conflict resolution; this perspective presumes that conflict is a struggle over meaning, anchored in and by the stories we tell about violence, victimization and values. She has been a leader in the fields of negotiation and conflict resolution studies, conducting research on the practice of neutrality, as well as the production of “turning points” and “critical moments” in negotiation processes. Some of this research is based on case studies from her field research on Guatemala, Chile, Rwanda and the Netherlands. The blend of academic research, program development, and practice enables Dr. Cobb to develop research projects that can yield practical understanding and generate effective interventions. 


Both Keynote addresses will be in the early afternoon and will be open to the public. Dr. Putnam's talk will also keynote the annual symposium for the Graduate Portfolio in Dispute Resolution. Four graduating students in that program will present work that is required for their graduate certificates after her keynote, at the same time as TCC conference presentations. 

Also on Thursday, State Department Political Officer Susan Szmania, Ph.D. will present a workshop on current United States Government Strategy for Countering Violent Extremism. " This workshop will include clips from the movie, "The Interrupters" and a Skype call-in with Eddie Bocanegra of the film. Dr. Szmania will also share examples from her recent work in Sweden and Spain.


Friday we end with a panel of local participants in urban youth violence intervention and then a party at a nearby faculty home.



You can pay the registration fee for the conference HERE.

Pay your registration with Visa, Mastercard, or Discover. Registration is only $35.00. Please note that Friday we will make available box lunches from Austin Original Foodheads Cafe and Catering. If you choose this option, you need to order and pay with your registration. There are three sandwich options: turkey with monterey jack cheese on a baguette, chicken salad with provolone cheese on nine grain bread, or veggies with hummus and swiss cheese on sourdough bread. There is also a fresh garden salad with vinaigrette dressing and fresh fruit. All cost $12.00 and include drinks (and they are yummy!).


Notices of acceptance have been sent out. Thanks to everyone for your submissions. In order to present your paper at the conference and be included in the program, please register by February 23rd. We have papers from the US, Mexico, Nigeria, Sweden, Taiwan, and other areas and are very excited about the first conference. 

Everyone is welcome, and we hope you come.

Here's some news. US Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton, and Carter have just been announced for a conference on campus April 8-10. You might want to make your lodging arrangements asap.

Click here for some suggestions about nearby lodging.

Please send all inquiries to TCC at

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