Sara Cobb

Sara Cobb
Drucie French Cumbie Professor, Director of the Center for the Study of Narrative and Conflict Resolution

Ph.D, Communication, 1988, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
M.Ed., Counseling, 1980, University of Puget Sound
B.A. English (Honors),1973, Albertus Magnus College


Dr. Sara Cobb, (Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst) is the Drucie French Cumbie Professor at The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University, where she was also the Director for 8 years. In this context 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 Narrative and Conflict Resolution at S-CAR 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 tier one research institutions such as University of California, Santa Barbara, University of Connecticut, and more recently at the University of Amsterdam. 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, Fox Learning Academy as well as a number of universities in Europe and Latin America. Dr. Cobb is widely published. Her book, Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution offers a narrative perspective on both conflict analysis and conflict resolution. 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 in

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Awards and Honors
Psychotherapy with Women Award
American Psychological Association, "Psychotherapy with Women Award, in Recognition of Substantial and Outstanding Contributions to the Theory, Practice, and Research of Psychotherapy with Women...
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Titlesort icon Semester
Analyzes theoretical basis undergirding methods of research in conflict resolution. Explores how theory is built...
Introductory skill-building course integrating conflict theory and practice using reflective practitioner model. Students learn necessary skills...
These 1- and 2-credit courses are scheduled non-conventionally using weekends, concentrated presentations, and intersession periods to develop...
Introductory skill-building course integrating conflict theory and practice using reflective practitioner model. Students learn necessary skills...
This course is intended to provide...
Introductory skill-building course integrating conflict theory and practice using reflective practitioner model. Students learn necessary skills...
Introduces students to the philosophies behind social science research and the methods for conducting research in the field of conflict resolution...
Covers conflict at micro level, introducing theories drawn from various disciplines including psychology, anthropology, and conflict resolution....
Brief history of field, survey of key conflict resolution themes and theories, and intervention methods. Overview includes general factors of...
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Title Published Date
September 29, 2014
Negotiation research, drawing on rational choice theory, provides a wealth of findings about how people negotiate successfully, as well as descriptions of some of the many pitfalls associated to negotiation failures. Building on narrative theory, this paper...
Category: Journal Article
December 10, 2013
Deliberative processes should enable public officials to stay connected to the changing needs and interests of the communities for whom and with whom they work. Theoretically, these practices should enable public officials to help citizens negotiate with each...
Category: Journal Article
June 20, 2013
In the context of ongoing or historical violence, people tell stories about what happened, who did what to whom and why. Yet frequently, the speaking of violence reproduces the social fractures and delegitimizes, again, those that struggle against their own...
Category: Book
December 10, 2011
This chapter offers a narrative perspective on reconciliation and then uses a prospective case study to exemplify how a narrative approach could be used to design a peacemaking approach that is elicitive, at the level of story itself, for the interpersonal...
Category: Book Chapter
October 01, 2010
Narratives matter. They shape the social world in which they circulate, reflecting and refracting the cultural limits of what narratives can be told, in what setting, to whom. From this perspective, they structure how we make sense of ourselves, as members of a...
Category: Journal Article
September 01, 2008
Category: Book Chapter
March 01, 2006
Talk to the experienced professionals. They speak of moments in a negotiation process where the unexpected or the surprising happened. At times they chalk it up to chance, and other times to the circumstances, and upon very rare occasions to their skill at...
Category: Journal Article
 (We can) (r)ethink emancipation in terms of an aesthetic ethics where the individual has the capacity to reinvent her or his mode of being, to enact... a form of transfiguration wherein the individual sees her/himself a s a work of art. (Jabri, p.592)....
Category: Papers & Reports
April 16, 2003
Growing out of a project of the same name that was initiated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, this text contains theoretical and practical considerations of the possibilities of getting previously warring groups coexisting through interaction....
Category: Book
January 01, 1997
This article, based on an analysis of 30 community mediation sessions, provides a theoretical frame for tracking the emergence and domestication of violence stories in the sessions themselves. Challenging the Cartesian distinction between mental and physical...
Category: Journal Article
September 01, 1995
Though the literature on the diagnosis and treatment of survivors of childhood sexual abuse has burgeoned in the last 20 years, relatively little guidance is available in the popular or professional literature to assist clients or therapists about issues of...
Category: Journal Article
September 01, 1994
Drawing on Anscombe's (1960) description of intention as a language game, this article explores the negotiation of “theories of responsibility” (O'Barr & Conley, 1985) in informal legal narratives. Using examples of conversation drawn from a...
Category: Journal Article
November 01, 1991
Based on our research on the practice of neutrality in mediation, we deconstruct the practice of neutrality in mediation by examining both the discourse of neutrality operant in mediators' accounts of their practice and the discourse processes in mediation...
Category: Journal Article
January 01, 1988
This dissertation offers a theoretical rationale and a methodology for the critical analysis of microprocesses. Noting that systemic therapists lack descriptions of their work as ideological, this research offers a vocabulary that can address the twinned concepts...
Category: Journal Article
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Title Published Date
November 23, 2015
The terror attacks that happened in Paris over a week ago are hard for a lot of people to understand.Sara Cobb is a
Category: Television Appearances

November 11, 2015
The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem conducted an interview with Dr. Sara Cobb, Professor at the School for Conflict
Category: Television Appearances

March 26, 2014
"I’m sure we all have a view on the notion of neutrality and impartiality and whether this is an attainable
Category: Television Appearances

April 2013
 Warning: This article is not for the faint of heart or “do-gooders.” It is written so as to
Category: Magazine Article

March 15th 2011
12th Annual Communication and Social Action Conference to ‘Reframe Blame’ Next WeekThe Communication and
Category: Newspaper Article

March 2011
Narratives matter. They are the architecture of consciousness; they both reflect and shape identity as well as govern
Category: Newsletter Article

December 01, 2008
This year ICAR has another philosopher and democratic theorist in its midst, Noëlle McAfee, associate research
Category: Newsletter Article

October 01, 2008
This fall inaugurates the launch of the US Army War College Senior Service Chaplain Fellowship Program at the Institute
Category: Newsletter Article

September 01, 2008
As the Russian tanks rolled into the city of Poti, Georgia, pundits emerged in the media, providing perspectives on the
Category: Newsletter Article

November 15, 2007
On a recent day in a remote part of Mason Neck, George Mason University officials gathered on a small outcropping above
Category: Newspaper Article

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Title Event Datesort icon
Please RSVP Here Please join the Narrative Center's Project on Asymmetric Narrative approaches as we host a presentation of a non-traditional approach to countering a violent narrative.Sohail
February 23, 2016
The Center for Narrative and Conflict Resolution at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University invites you to a conference of panels and discussion with Keynote Speaker Diane Enns and Discussant John Winslade!This conference intends to create a dialogic space
November 06, 2015
Join the Center for Narrative & Conflict Resolution and the Open Discourse Project as we live-stream the Republican Debate on October 28th at the School for Conflict Analysis & Resolution at GMU. This event is open to students, faculty, and community members interested
October 28, 2015
THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED  Conflict Coaching Workshop with Sam Hardy Explore the nature of conflict narratives and how they tend to work against constructive engagement with conflict. Learn how to work with a client to deconstruct and better understand his or her conflict story
September 24, 2015
Reflections from the Field on the ‘Territorial Peace’ in Colombia as a Narrative LandscapeHosted by the Center for Narrative and Conflict Resolution Monday, September 22nd3:00pm - 4:00pmConference Room 5183Colombia’s transition from conflict to peace can be seen as a kind of
September 21, 2015
The Israeli Palestinian Peace process: lessons learned from 22 years of failed agreements - with Gershon BaskinWednesday, April 29th12:00pm - 2:00pmConference Room 5183Please join S-CAR in welcoming Gerson Baskin for a lecture.  This event is initiated and facilitated by PhD student Carol
April 29, 2015
Please join us for the welcoming reception for Leaders for Democracy Fellows (LDF)Tuesday April 28thStarting at 11:30amMetropolitan Building 5183This event is for S-CAR community members only.Space is limited, so please RSVP.The program will start at 11:30am with a formal welcome from S-CAR and the
April 28, 2015
Title Event Datesort icon
This is an invitation to join in a conversation about a possible APT for 2013-2014, with Arthur Romano and Sara Cobb. We would like to brainstorm and gauge interested from students before moving forward. There is, at present, a growing literature on counternarratives that addresses the
April 16, 2013
The Center for the Study of Narrative and Conflict Resolution (CNCR) welcomes Dr. María Pía Lara, Professor and Researcher Autonomous of the Metropolitan University of Mexico, as she shares some of the issues developed in her work, "Narrating Evil: A Postmetaphysical Theory of Reflective
November 27, 2012
The Center for the Study of Narrative and Conflict Resolution welcomes Scholar-Practitioner in Residence, Dr. John Winslade (Ph.D.) for a Narrative Mediation Workshop on April 26-27. Dr. Winslade is the Associate Dean of the College of Education at California State University San Bernardino and a
April 26, 2012
 Featuring Lihi Ben-Shitirt, PhD Candidate, Political Science, Yale University
April 26, 2012
Please join the Center for the Study of Narrative and Conflict Resolution for an open lecture given by our Scholar-Practitioner in Residence, Dr. John Winslade (PhD) on Monday, April 16. This presentation will address the question of how to listen to conflict narratives in a way that opens the best
April 16, 2012
Please join the Center for the Study of Narrative and Conflict Resolution (CNCR) for a lecture featuring Francisco Diez.  Francisco Diez will share his experiences working with Hugo Chaves and the opposition in Venezuela (2002-2004), as well as his personal mediation between Rafael Correa and
April 03, 2012
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