Johannes M. Botes
School of Public and International Affairs
Ph.D., ICAR, George Mason University
M.A., American University
B.A., University of Stellenbosch
Johannes M. Botes' C.V. (.pdf)
The path to my current position as an associate professor at the University of Baltimore has indeed been circuitous. I finished my high school education in a town called Stellenbosch in South Africa, about 40 miles from Cape Town; I completed a bachelor's degree in theater and literature with a minor in history before completing a one-year honors degree in linguistics.
My first job was to teach literature at Fort Hare University—one of the racially segregated schools in what was then apartheid South Africa (and the university at which Nelson Mandela earned his bachelor's degree). I taught there for barely nine months because 1976 was a tumultuous year in South Africa's political history. All traditionally black universities were closed as a result of the Soweto riots, so I did not teach much that year—but I did, however, receive a different kind of education.
In and outside the classroom, my students taught me a lot about topics of which every conflict management student should be aware, such as social justice and political empowerment. Before joining UB in 1999, I worked as a visiting professor at Bryn Mawr College (1997-98) and at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (1998-99).
After my first short stint as a university-level teacher, I went off to a 10-or-so-year career in public radio and television and only returned to academia, so to speak, when I left South Africa in 1987 to earn a master's degree. I then joined the first doctoral class of George Mason University's program in conflict analysis and thought I would leave after a semester if it did not satisfy my interests. I stayed; coursework with professors such as the late Jim Laue and Chris Mitchell (who later became my doctoral dissertation adviser) at George Mason University proved to be irresistible.
My main research focus—the role and impact of the news media in covering social conflict and conflict resolution—relates back to my time as a journalist in South Africa. I worked as a public radio journalist and announcer with the government-controlled South African Broadcasting Corporation (which was modeled after the British BBC and was the only legally allowed broadcaster at the time in South Africa). I was responsible for reading local news broadcasts and for covering politics and the arts for the programs that were then broadcast nationally from Johannesburg.
My research interests also include conflict transformation (the political, social and economic changes that are needed to end intractable conflicts) and informal conflict management roles (how professionals such as nurses, policemen, managers and everyday people such as parents, who do not necessarily see themselves as conflict-resolvers, play such roles in the course of their daily work and lives).
With the assistance of a Hewlett Foundation grant, I have also embarked on a research venture called "The 'Mothers and Fathers' Project: An Oral History and Intellectual Map of the Field of Conflict Resolution." This work, in which the foundations and development of the larger peace and conflict studies field is documented, is conducted in conjunction with one of the field's most senior scholars, Chris Mitchell (from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution).
My work in the conflict resolution field since the late 1980s embodies a wide array of experiences. In addition to teaching, research and writing, I have been an active trainer, facilitator and mediator. I have experience in devising training and teaching seminars as well as conferences specifically related to conflict and conflict resolution in Africa and to the nexus between the news media and social conflict. I have also developed seminars and training for journalism students in South Africa and for working journalists from South America and other African countries on how to analyze international conflict and how to report on international conflict resolution and peace-building processes.