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October 11, 1968 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-10-11

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:1 Resolution



Scholars ponder


in a Center

with a history

of controversy, non-conformity and part-time

THE CENTER for ,Research on Conflict
Resolution (CRCR) for nine years has
struggled without money, permanent head-
'quarters, faculty support or a permanent
It has probably only survived because its
handful of prestigious researchers have a
combined international reputation greater
than that of almost any University depart-
This fall, CRCR moved from a warehouse
downtown into what might be permanent of-
fices in West Quad.
And at their last meeting, the Regents
appointed a full-time CRCR director, Prof.
Robert Hefner, a social psychologist who had
been both a researcher and administrator for
years. CRCR's supporters hope permanent of-
fices and a full-time-organizer will bring some
CRCR has always been interested in that
area of peace research known as "conflict reso-
lution." But its own history has rarely been
peaceful. CRCR has broken many of the norms
of contemporary American academia; its af-
fairs have been stormy and convulsive:
--CRCR was organized in 1959, at the
height of the Cold War, when its orientation
toward international "peace research" was al-
most automatically labelled "pinko Com-
-Its perspective was not only passionately
interdisciplinary but quantitative and behav-
ioral in 1959, when behaviorism was not yet a
powerful force in University departments.
-It failed to get spirited backing from the
political science department, whose chairman,
the late Prof. James Pollack was promoting
a special, project of his own, the propgsed
Arthur Vandenberg Center for Foreign Affairs.
Creation of the CRCR seemed to kill any
chances for the Vandenberg Center. -
-Its founders, notably Prof. Kenneth Bould-
ing, formerly of the economics department,
were not particularly tactful in answering the
criticisms of CRCR's opponents in the faculty.
-Lacking any strong bureaucratic ties with
any University academic department, CRCR
wielded little power in the University.
-Administration of CRCR was half-heart-
edly handled by scholars with major interests
in other fields.
BOULDING AND now Prof. emeritus Robert
Angell founded CRCR'with a core of behav-
ioral scientists interested in quantitative re-
search in the resolution of international con-
Explains Angell, who was chairman of
CRCR's executive committee from 1959 to
1961, "The original focus was twofold: to bring
social science resources to bear on the general
problem of conflict, and to maintain inter-
national relations as the major interest while
not excluding any other research which might
throw light on the problem of conflict."

Most of the Center's work in its early years
was concentrated in the study of international
policy. As its current program review explains,
"In effect, the Center began with one con-
ceptual point of reference from which creative
scholars were invited to move out in any
direction. This can be expressed, oversimply
but usefully, as a single variable in any inter-
national conflict: the probability of war."
The first investigations probed the range of
kinds of parties to -conflict, "from nation-
states all the way to "parts" of a single human
being in intrapsychic conflict." A second inter-
est in the ways of conducting conflict has
resulted in a "growing conviction that social
conflict can best be understood if its opposite
- cooperation, integration, love - is also
under investigation," the report says.
A breakdown of CRCR's work includes six
areas of international research:
-general theories about conflict itself,
-the conditions and policy necessary for
transforming, a "nationalist" doctrine to an
international outlook,
-the Cold War,
-the economic consequences of arms con-
trol and disarmament, .
-development of international agencies
and procedures,
-problems of developing nations.
In addition since in the early 1960's when
lunch counter boycotts at Montgomery evol-
ved into flaming pawnshops at Detroit, CRCR
increased its research on domestic conflict.
A project directed by Prof. J. David
Singer of the pglitical science department,
empirically analyzes structural and behavioral
correlates of historical ars from 1815 to 1945.
The study is aimed at correlating factors of
social organizations and internal economic
activity between nations during and prior to
international conflicts during' that period.
Another study completed in 1966 by Prof.
Arthur Mendel of the' history department
relates Soviet ideological changesinpart to
invasion of the Soviet physical sciences by
new theories generated in the West. The find-
ing as interpreted as foreshadowing a con-,
vergence of ideology between Russia and the
West, based in part on shared science.
WORKING ON a $98,000 grand from the Ford
Foundation, Dr. Irvin Katz, professor of
psychology,, has directed the Center's "Pro-
giam of Race RelationslResearch" between the
University and Tuskegee Institute. The pro-
gram is part of the University's overall "sister-
institutioi" relationship witl4 Tuskegee and is
primarily designed to provide CRCR research-
ers data.on racial conflict in the South while
enlarging the research resources available to
Tuskegee. As a part of the program, Tuskegee
will soon be tied into the University's comput-
ing services via long distance terminals to the

Since CRCR was organized to facilitate the
work of individual scholars, no center-wide
program of research was preconceived. The
loose nature of the organization has Ansured
an interdisciplinary characted, but it has
spawned internal administrative problems and
has drawn numerous skeptical sideglances
from the rest of the academic community.
"It's very difficult for an interdisciplinary
center of any kind to operate and maintain
itself in deference to the departmental nature
of the University," Angell explained.
Director-designate Hefner agrees. "For ex-
ample, fellowships in the graduate school are
allocated to departments, not to us." The result
has been that for the Center to draw graduate
students into course sequences in conflict reso-
lution-taught in several departments by Cen-
ter professors-it must depend on each depart-
ment to set aside fellowships for that purpose.
No real consistent cooperation has shown up.
Since the Center's professors work only on
a half-time basis at most, difficulties some-
times arise, Hefner claims, with departments
unwilling to share their scholars.
Singer is one of the few political scientists
who have been with CRCR since its inception.
A behaviorialist who has traditionally had a
large student following. Singer locates many
of the Center's troubles in the morass of fac-
ulty politics.
He points to the Center's attempt to estab
lish a graduate program in conflict resolution
cooperatively with several academic depart-
ments. "The program had high promise, but it
never got off the ground. Political Science
never cooperated; Economics worked only with
Boulding, and Sociology was almost as bad as
Political Science.'
IN AN EFFORT to gain much-needed political
A science support, Singer explains, the Center
named as director Dr. Charles McClellan, a

TZte .tomb To be resolved .


ARPA turned a Center request down a year
ago, some new hopes have been revived for a
grant later this year.
(The first action the Center took in 1959
was a resolution prohibiting acceptance of
classified research. Since then it has done a
"substantial amount of government and De-
fense Department research," none of which
was classified. An ARPA grant would be un-
THER SOURCES of support have been
sketchy throughout CRCR's history. When
the Ford Foundation made a $3 million in-
stitutional grant to the University in 1961, the

"THE CENTER has probably only survived because its hand-
ful of prestigious researchers have a combined international
reputation greater than that of almost any University de-
..n .....asss

behaviorist from the University of Southern
California in Summer, 1966.
A man with "impeccable credentials" in his
own profession, he should have won the local
department's good will-or so Singer, Boulding,
Angell, and fiefner hoped. Instead Political
Science didn't bother even to offer him an of-
fic, a matter of protocal which Singer claims
offended McClellan.
McClellan only stayed at the Center a year,
most of the people now a$ the Center euphe-
mistically discuss his directorship as some-
thing "that just didn't work out."
Writing in a generally pessimistic tone in
Winter, 1967, McClellan said he felt the Cen-
ter's "set of objectives has become diffused in
recent years" adding that "additional activities
and interests have been rationalized and in-
troduced in the Center." Those "interests"
were Katz' race relations program.
Most of McClellan's description carries a
note of imminent doom about lack, of money,
expiration of contracts, and the infrequency
with which staff members appeared at the
Center. But the most serious problem he noted
is the lack of "resources to generate anything"
beyond currently existing programs. He pre-
dicted that the organization would remain at
a "low level of activity for the next four years"
and that the Center was "'broke' in the sense
that it has no means with the funds at hand to
undertake new projects, to attract new re-
search, or to underwrite any enterprise for
Things haven't changed much at the Center
in that respect.; The only money available for
administration is some $22,000 which goes to-
ward office salaries, limited secretarial ex-
penses, and minimal office costs. All other
monies from foundation grants cover research

Center won $170,000 of it for new projects.
Again when Ford made a similar $4 million
grant, the Center got only $150,000.
"The allocation of those Ford funds was
intellectuallyt reprehensible," Dr. S i n g e r
charges. After announcementof the fund allo-
cation in 1966, Assistant Director William';
Barth sent a memorandum to LSA Dean Wil-
liam Haber 'charging a "lack of commitment
on the part of the faculty for the development
of a visible program at the Center."
Haber followed in an unsuccessful effort to
extract a further commitment of Ford Funds
for CRCR. Instead he received only assurances
that the Center would -be able to apply for
grants from $1.75 million: Ford had made
available tq the University for comparative
international study.
"The groups distributing that money were
and continue to be fr'om the University's area
studies institutes," Hefner says. "Groups
which are not in area studies, like ours, have
gotten relatively small amounts of money."
Hefner's interpretation is that area study
centers-like the Center for Southeast Asian
Studies or the Center'for Russian Studies-
are much more closely related to specific de-
partments that CRCR and that they conse-
quently get preferential financial treatment.
Prof. George Grassmuck, now Assistant
Vice President for International Affairs in the
Academic Affairs office, worked closely with
the faculty committee allocating the original
Ford funds. He is very careful in describing
the Center's support and financial operation:
"They have more difficulties than many
other operations do due to the mixed sources
of their funds and due to their floating nature
within University administration." The Center
ra -rt fiio nill t Aarla 4.min ffarsis m

erned by a Regental committee, receives some
money from LSA (the rest from foundations),
and its members teach in several LSA depart-
"The difference with the Center is that its
people have a grand idea that conflict resolu-
tion is important to mankind. The Center is
more doctrine oriented-it has a mission-
and sometimes this can conflict with another
academic discipline more than the (cultural-
geographic) work of an Area Studies center
would," Grassmuch explains.
Dean Haber explains his support of the
Center is due largely to the fact that "it's out
in left field-trying to do something nobody
else is doing. (The only other research group
doing similar Work to the Center's is the Peace
Research Institute, Oslo, Norway.)?
WHETHER THE University - and more
specifically the faculties of th Economics,
Political Science, and History departments-
will increase its support of the Center still
remains a moot point.
It has at least gotten a campus location
where it will be inacontact with faculty and
students. For the last two years,, it has been
headquartered in a decaying brick building
over a mile from campus on Fourth Street,
where neither faculty nor students frequented.
It is that which Singer calls devestating to
the Center.. Most other Center members agree
with him, adding that the organization's phy-
sical location had functionally eliminated es-
sential informal contact among scholars and
graduate students.
Composition of the departments from
which Center members come has changed sub-
stantially since the early 60's, and behaviorial-
ists now have a much stronger'voice in policy
Similarly, according to Hefner, federal
agencies are gaining ,a greater propensity to
depend on solid work in social science in mat-
ters of policy decision than ever before. If so,
then the Center should stand a somewhat bet-
ter chance for snagging government funding
of its work and for having an increased inpast
on state department policy.
' Yet probably the best thing the Center has
going for it is its quarterly journal, the Journal
for Conflict Resolution, established in 1957.
One of its kind in academic publishing, the
Journal has an international circulation and
is made up of peace research done by scholars
throughout the country.
Charles McClellan's evaluation of the
Journal in 1967 is probably still both it and
the Center's most apt description:
"The Journal has had an enormous effect
in creating .the impression of great research
strength. My experience is that visitors come
to our building, often after detouring several
hundred miles to get here, in the hope of
"seeing" the research operation on the ground.
"I can do little more than point vaguely to
the rear of the quarters."
The quarters have changed, but any broad-
',. Univm,.ity em mniuman+ is Millij nr,a.a


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