Fall 2023 Courses
Any interested student may enroll in IIPS 20101 Introduction to Peace Studies for the fall, and students considering a supplementary major or minor in peace studies are encouraged to take this course as soon as feasible to help with their discernment. Students are also welcome to enroll in other IIPS courses but seats may be limited until all initial web registration periods have passed.
Peace studies students can explore the full list of spring courses eligible for the major and minor, including electives cross-listed from other departments, in the Fall 2023 Undergraduate IIPS Course Booklet. Full details for each course can also be viewed in NOVO or PATH Class Search under the subject "Institute for International Peace Studies" (IIPS).
IIPS 20101 01 (CRN 14395)
IIPS 20101 02 (CRN 13239)
Open to all undergraduate students and majors.
The Cold War ended in 1989, but civil war, genocide, and state repression continue to occur across the globe, while millions barely have the means to survive in the face of overwhelming poverty. Nevertheless, the world has also witnessed the emergence of sophisticated civil society networks and social movements to address these challenges, as well as governmental and transnational institutions committed to promoting justice and peace in the aftermath of political violence. This course introduces students to the various ways scholars and activists define peace and the challenges faced in securing peace. This course surveys: (1) the major causes of direct and structural violence; (2) various definitions of "peace" and the conditions under which it occurs and is sustained; and (3) the comparative success of various strategies such as building peace movements and promoting nonviolent social change.
Structural and Cultural Violence
IIPS 30308 01 (CRN 16908)
This course offers an in-depth analysis of the roles of structural and cultural violence in peace studies. Unit 1 (conceptual/theoretical) explores field-formative debates over the nature, basis, and viability of “structural violence” and “cultural violence” as analytical concepts, asking how they have shaped (or failed to, but perhaps ought to shape) the field of peace studies. We will examine their critical appropriations of early critical theory, and assess comparable theoretical approaches such as reflexive sociology (Pierre Bourdieu and Loic Wacquant), post-structural analysis (Michel Foucault), and later critical theory (Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth) while asking what advantages, if any, lenses of structural and cultural violence have vis-à-vis these resources for peace analysis and peacebuilding, and where they need to be supplemented. Unit 2 (cases/agents) studies cases in which some version of these analytical lenses have been deployed for purposes of peace analysis and peacebuilding. We examine recent uses of these lenses to examine poverty, global development, and global health in building peace (e.g. Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Paul Farmer, Peter Uvin), religious/cultural identity (Veena Das), and race, class, and gender (Joshua Price on incarceration and prison abolition in the U.S; Alex Mikulich and Laurie Cassidy on white complicity in hyper incarceration).
Gender, Sexuality, and the State
IIPS 30424 01 (CRN 20329)
This course provides an overview of the complex ways in which gender and sexuality are relevant to a study of the state, both domestically and on the international stage. This course will look at the gendered and sexual dynamics of war, state-building, nationalisms, international governance, as well as feminist and queer social movement responses to the state.
Perspectives on Peacebuilding
IIPS 33101 01 (CRN 15880)
IIPS 33101 02 (CRN 20330)
Reserved for peace studies majors, minors, and concentrators.
This junior-level seminar is a required course for the supplementary major and interdisciplinary minor in peace studies. The course focuses on strategic peacebuilding, an analytical framework for investigating the causes and dynamics of conflict, conflict resolution and transformation, and post-conflict reconstruction and justice. The seminar (1) deepens student knowledge of foundational concepts and questions in peace studies; (2) introduces students to a variety of methodological approaches common in peace studies research; and (3) explores the relation between ethical, empirical and practical approaches in the field. The course provides students with the tools necessary to carry out later research in their capstone seminar and encourages a deeper understanding of how their own research interests connect to peace studies.
Business and Peace: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1.0 credit)
IIPS 40101 01 (CRN 20331)
F 09/08, F 10/13, F 11/10 9:00-4:00
Reserved for peace studies majors, minors, and concentrators.
Could business be an instrument of peace or is it more likely to be an agent of division that foments conflict? While the course will touch on questions of whether trade and economic development as well as different economic systems impact causes of violence, the class focuses specifically on the role of for-profit and non-profit institutions within the context of current economic systems. This course draws upon three perspectives to undertake a 360-degree assessment of this question about business’s role. First, it will examine the ways in which the actions of business exploit populations, profit from war-making, and sometimes actively engage in the promotion of violence. Second, it looks at an area of academic inquiry sometimes called Business For Peace, in which the ways in which businesses can be instruments of peace have been explored. The ways businesses might do this include being more actively involved in peacemaking and peacekeeping in zones of conflict as well as more general, incremental forms of peace building that could occur both in and outside of zones of conflict. Third, the course looks at newer, nuanced theories from political theorists that assess the positives and negatives of the role of business in engagement in peace.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict through Films
IIPS 40416 01 (CRN 20332)
What is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict about? How did it start? How might it be resolved? Some interpretations rely on claims of ancient hatreds. Others invoke sacred and biblical narratives as their authority for claims to a land deemed holy by many different religions. Still others underscore the ills and legacies of settler colonialism and indigenous accounts of historical presence. Some invoke international law and human rights to make their claims. This course will explore these arguments surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through screening and discussion of cinematic representation, narrative argument, and documentary films. Multiple genres provide powerful tools to introduce students to multiple perspectives, conceptions of history, experiences of injustice and grievances and loss, and imagining peace and justice. Each screening will be paired with relevant and interdisciplinary reading material. The students will emerge from this course with a detailed and complex understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the present dating back to the late Ottoman period, the British control of historic Palestine, and the definitional moment of 1948 which is marked both as Israeli independence and the Palestinian catastrophe (the Nakba).
Community Peacemaking: Theory and Practice
IIPS 40800 01 (CRN 20333)
This course explores the theory and practice of community peacemaking. It covers the benefits, challenges and methods of local peacemaking, as well as the relationship between peacemaking and peacebuilding. Content will draw on practitioner experience in South Africa, South Bend and elsewhere. Guest lecturers will include community activists from South Bend.
Peace Studies Senior Seminar
IIPS 43101 01 (CRN 13691)
Reserved for senior peace studies majors, minors, and concentrators.
This writing-intensive seminar is the required capstone course for the supplementary major and interdisciplinary minor in peace studies. This advanced course consists of readings and discussions that explore a familiar peace studies theme in greater depth. The centerpiece of the course is a seminar paper that students research and write on a subject of their choice, selected in light of the course theme and drawing on research methods from both peace studies and students' primary majors. This required course is open only to peace studies majors and minors. This course also carries the WRIT-Writing Intensive attribute and counts toward the Writing 2 requirement in the university core curriculum.
Section Theme: Peace and Public Policy. This seminar focuses on the central importance of public policy in strategic peacebuilding. The course will examine the elements of quality policy analysis and effective advocacy as foundations for policy engagement on issues of war and peace. It will consider the range of actors (with special though not exclusive focus on the U.S. government and UN) and the range of factors (e.g., political, economic, security, legal, moral, religious) involved in policymaking. In addressing religious and moral issues, special attention will be given to Catholic approaches to peacebuilding policy. The course will cover a range of issues, including military interventions and UN peace operations; the role of religious and civil society actors in peace processes and other foreign policy issues; and efforts to integrate human rights and development concerns into peacebuilding policy. These thematic issues will be illustrated with reference to specific cases, determined in consultation with the class and, to the extent feasible, chosen to connect with topics students choose for their capstone project. Students will have an opportunity to hone their written and oral skills in policy analysis and advocacy through policy memos, newspaper opinion pieces (or blogs), and video-taped media interviews.
Coloniality and Climate Change
IIPS 50405 01 (CRN 20334)
Why is talking about climate change without reference to colonial pasts an incomplete conversation? Why is a forward-looking climate justice conversation incomplete unless it is also looking back? How does coloniality present today? How does the global south figure in writing on climate change? Can there be a role for the global south in the climate justice conversation that recognizes its vulnerability to climate change but goes beyond portraying it as always and only vulnerable, devastated and/or menacing? In this class we will begin with the premise that the answer is yes: not only is such a role possible, but it must actively be created if the climate justice conversation is to an inclusive one. Examining representations of climate refugees, extreme weather events, and imagined geographies of conflicts, and informed by scholarship on racialized constructions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ migrants, in this class we will collectively work through the intersections between the political and ecological that today determine the movement of humans, capital, and knowledge. Our collective endeavor will be to: (i) understand writing on climate change with a focus on its implicit (yet predominant) threat and risk imaginaries; (ii) question the role of the global south in such writing; and (iii) craft a lexicon that is cognizant of colonial pasts and their continuity, and relates geographies, histories and politics in more equal ways.
Embodied Knowing in Peace and Conflict Transformation
IIPS 50406 01 (CRN 21769)
Human beings experience peace and conflicts comprehensively, they touch human life in all aspects of existence. While dominant models of inquiry have privileged the use of disembodied reason, this course will consider what new avenues emerge when the role of the body in the production of knowledge is centered. Based on John Paul Lederach’s Moral Imagination and expanding on the Kroc Institute’s approach towards reflective peacebuilding, this course will introduce students to humanistic and decolonial methods to peace building research and practice. Through somatic practice students will actively engage embodied knowing. Following the model of the scholar-practitioner students will study the conceptual foundations and applications of comprehensive embodied practices for peacebuilding. They will engage with the ontological, epistemological and ethical foundations of embodied research and their integration into research designs via qualitative methods. Emphasis will be placed on auto-ethnographic, decolonial, reflective, and performative methodologies. Through the practice of dance (conscious dance), theatre (Theatre for Living/Theatre of the Oppressed), and breath (transpersonal approaches) students will come to understand how topics of peace and conflict are held, expressed and transformed through the body. Taught in experiential manner within a facilitated workshop setting, this course also requires openness for embodied self-exploration through dance, theatre and breath as well as openness for group-dynamics. No previous experience with embodied practices required. All levels of physical ability welcome.
To meet with the director of undergraduate studies, contact:
Associate Professor of Psychology and Peace Studies
Director of Undergraduate Studies
To learn more about the program or declare a major or minor in peace studies, email:
Anna K. Van Overberghe
Assistant Director for Academic Administration and Undergraduate Studies