Fall 2021 Courses

Any interested first year, sophomore, junior, or senior may enroll in IIPS 20101 Introduction to Peace Studies for the fall term. In addition, several courses have a second section that is open to all undergraduates from any major.

Many other courses are temporarily restricted to students who are pursuing a supplementary major or minor in peace studies or a concentration in peace studies as part of the supplementary major in global affairs. Students from other majors are welcome to enroll in these restricted courses if seats remain after all initial registration periods have passed.

Peace studies students can explore the full list of fall courses eligible for the major and minor, including electives cross-listed from other departments, in the IIPS Fall 2021 Undergraduate Course Booklet. Details for each course can also be viewed in NOVO under the subject "Institute for International Peace Studies" (IIPS).


Introduction to Peace Studies

IIPS 20101 01 (CRN 15319)
Atalia Omer
MW 2:00-3:15

IIPS 20101 02 (CRN 13832)
Jason Springs
TR 2:00-3:15

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.


Troublemakers or Peacemakers? The Youth, Peace, and Security Agenda, 1961 to 2021

IIPS 30318 01 (CRN 20836), 02 (CRN 20844)
Anna Fett
MW 12:30-1:45

Section 01: Reserved for peace studies majors, minors, and concentrators.
Section 02: Open to all undergraduate students and majors.

On March 10, 2020, the U.S. “Youth, Peace, & Security” (YPS) Act was introduced into the House of Representatives with broad support from international peacebuilding organizations. The bill is intended “to support the inclusive and meaningful participation of youth in peace building and conflict prevention, management, and resolution, as well as post-conflict relief and recovery efforts.” But, is all of this attention on “youth” actually warranted? More importantly, is this attention good for young people both in the United States and globally? In order to answer these questions, this course will consider the historical context of the shifting politics of recognition related to youth/childhood over the course of the Cold War and its aftermath. We will explore which populations got counted as (vulnerable) children or (dangerous) youth in U.S. politics and foreign policy based on age-based, racialized, gendered, imperial, and other dynamics. Through examination of historical documents and tools of critical analysis, students will be prepared to evaluate the international youth, peace, and security agenda as well as monitor the mixed public responses to the U.S. YPS Act as they occur in real-time right now.


Global Environmental Change and the Contemporary Human Niche

IIPS 30319 01 (CRN 20840), 02 (CRN 20845)
Drew Marcantonio
TR 11:00-12:15

Section 01: Reserved for peace studies majors, minors, and concentrators.
Section 02: Open to all undergraduate students and majors.

The rate and expanse of human caused global environmental change is unmatched in our evolutionary history. It is widely argued that these actions have produced enough change that the stable conditions found in the Holocene epoch of the last 11,000 years are over and we are transitioning to a new Earth Systems trajectory and epoch dubbed the Anthropocene—the time when humans are the single largest driver of geologic change. In this course we will seek to understand what characteristics of the contemporary human niche—the myriad socio-ecological practices, policies, institutions and lifeways that comprise how humans live their everyday lives around the globe—are producing the Anthropocene and what the implications are for different groups of people. We will pay specific attention to the distribution of global environmental change and corresponding risk to human health, historical and contemporary contributions to the production of this change, and what the implications are for human health, equality, and environmental justice. The focus of this course is more towards breadth than depth—we will sample and discuss many topics but will be unable to fully dive into each in a holistic way. This is by design, as the point is for us to develop a mutually negotiated and understood functional language and base understanding of the topics, such that after this course you are empowered to engage the topics most compelling to you and have the skills requisite to effectively dive in.


Religion in International and Global Relations

IIPS 30408 01 (CRN 20053)
Atalia Omer
MW 9:30-10:45

What is the relation between religion and conflict in international and global relations? What is the relation between religion, violence, and the practices of peacebuilding, locally and globally? How can we understand the role of religion in diplomacy? Why do we need to think about religion's role in Western colonialism, orientalism, and Islamophobia (or racialized anti-Muslim oppression) in order to understand religion in contemporary international affairs? What does religion have to do with political ideology? The so-called resurgence of religion to global politics, conventionally dating back to the Iranian Revolution of 1979, challenged the secularist myopia that informed policy makers and theorists of international relations, but it took the events of September 11, 2001 to fully catalyze a process of rethinking the role of religion, on both the levels of theory and practice, within the contexts of international relations. Both theorists and practitioners in the arenas of international relations are trying to decipher how to theorize religion into the existing explanatory paradigms of realism, liberalism, and constructivism. The course will examine these conversations, dating back to Westphalia of 1648 and the historical role of religion in the construction of the international system of nation-states. Driven by case studies and avoiding simplistic accounts of religious traditions, the course will introduce the students to religion and international relation theory, the practices of peacebuilding, diplomacy, development, and the study of ethnonationalism.


War, Peace, and the Catholic Imagination

IIPS 30603 01 (CRN 15914)
Gerard Powers
MW 2:00-3:15

The Catholic Church boasts a rich tradition of reflection and action on war and peace. This course introduces students to the most well-known and well-developed part of that tradition: just war and pacifism. But it goes further and considers the relationship between the just war-pacifism strands of the tradition and the development of a theology, ethics and praxis of peacebuilding – i.e., the Church’s approach to conflict prevention, conflict transformation and post-conflict reconciliation. In considering these topics, the course will emphasize (1) the “living” nature of the tradition, the link between theory and practice, principles and policy; and (2) the importance of grounding ethics and action on war and peace in an understanding of Christian vocation. Drawing on my seventeen years as a senior official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and my current role as coordinator of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, the course will examine these broad topics in light of specific cases and issues, including humanitarian intervention, nuclear disarmament, the landmines campaign, UN peacebuilding, the Church’s role in peace processes, and truth and reconciliation processes, and other issues. Students will have an opportunity to engage directly with Catholic leaders who are working on these issues. This course will also afford students the opportunity, primarily through a research paper, to contribute to the Catholic Peacebuilding Network’s work in the Philippines, Colombia, the Great Lakes region of Africa, and South Sudan. Other course assignments will help students develop their written and oral skills in applied ethics through policy memos, opinion pieces (or blogs), homilies, and video-taped media interviews. There will be no in-class exams.


Perspectives on Peacebuilding

IIPS 33101 01 (CRN 20052)
Ernesto Verdeja
TR 2:00-3:15

Reserved for peace studies majors, minors, and concentrators.

This junior-level seminar is a required course for either the supplementary major or 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. This course is open only to peace studies majors and minors.


Peace Agreements and Implementation: Challenges and Opportunities for Research, Policy, and Practice

IIPS 40300 01 (CRN 20051)
Josefina Echavarría Alvarez
TR 9:30-10:45

Since the 1990s, peace agreements have been widely used to end armed conflicts. While this is celebrated by peacebuilders around the world, not all peace agreements are fully implemented and often violence re-occurs in post-accord settings. How can the signature of peace agreements really mark the beginning of peace after armed conflict? In this course, we will cover the most up to date debates concerning design and implementation of peace agreements, understood as peacemaking and peacebuilding practices, relying on diverse sources of knowledge. We will explore the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM) database from the Kroc Institute, which hosts over 30 comprehensive peace agreements signed since 1989 and will study the content of the provisions as well as implementation trajectories. Importantly, we will also use our own experiences, both individually and collectively as a learning community, to understand more fully the relevance of peace agreements, the impact of their failures and successes, and the ways they shape our understanding of peace and war.


Love and Violence: Religion, Civil Disobedience, and Nonviolent Resistance

IIPS 40607 01 (CRN 20500), 02 (CRN 20720)
Jason Springs
TR 11:00-12:15

Section 01: Reserved for peace studies majors, minors, and concentrators.
Section 02: Open to all undergraduate students and majors.

This course explores the ways in which religious ethicists, social critics, and activists have employed conceptions of love and violence for the purposes of criticizing and resisting oppressive political conditions, and for radically transforming existing social arrangements. We begin by exploring the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau concerning the moral status of civil disobedience in the context of the U.S. abolitionist struggle, with particular attention to the influence of the Bhagavad-Gita upon their thinking. We will examine the ways that both Thoreau's writings and the Gita influenced Mahatma Gandhi on questions of non-violent civil disobedience, Gandhi's exploration of the power of non-violence in light of the Sermon on the Mount from the Christian New Testament, and his correspondence with the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. We will investigate how this entire mosaic of influences came to inform Martin Luther King, Jr.'s work and the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. during the 1960s, Malcolm X, and the Black Power Movement. We will engage critical perspectives on these thinkers and ideas, such as criticisms of Gandhi by George Orwell and Arundhati Roy, Frantz Fanon's claims that colonialism is an essentially violent phenomenon that requires an essentially violent response, Malcom's criticisms of Martin, arguments against pacifism on the basis of political realism by Max Weber. We conclude by brief examination of principled vs. strategic and revolutionary forms of non-violence in the work of Gene Sharp.


International Conflict Resolution: The Theory and Practice of Mediation

IIPS 40801 01 (CRN 20049)
Laurie Nathan
M 11:00-1:45

This foundational course presents theories, cases and skills related to international mediation in high intensity conflicts (e.g. South Sudan, Yemen and Colombia). We will review the literature on international mediation and conflict resolution; explore relevant theories and examine their validity in actual cases; and share practitioner experiences of mediation initiatives led by the United Nations, the African Union and other organizations. We will also introduce and practice the skills of peacemaking analysis, planning and facilitating agreements. The course will deepen understanding of international mediation and offer students a foundation for practical engagement.


Peace Studies Senior Seminar

IIPS 43101 01 (CRN 10002)
Caroline Hughes
MW 11:00-12:15

IIPS 43101 02 (CRN 14373)
Ashley Bohrer
TR 2:00-3:15

Reserved for peace studies majors, minors, and concentrators.

This writing-intensive seminar is the required capstone course for either the supplementary major or 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.


Dimensions of Quality Peace

IIPS 50602 01 (CRN 20048)
Madhav Joshi
W 3:30-6:15

Scholars have begun using the concept of quality peace to understand the nature of peace in societies emerging out of violent conflict. This course examines the dimensions of quality peace---an approach to understand how war and peace shape social, political, and economic outcomes. Over the semester, students will learn how war and peace determine the variations in some key quality peace indicators such as human rights practice, democratization, economic development, public health, women's rights, etc. Students will develop skills in analyzing these issues, learn how different types of war termination could help break the cycles of conflict trap and human misery caused by war, and use evidence based policy advocacy. Students will be encouraged to share diverse experiences and ethical perspectives dealing with these issues.


Conceptualizing Resilience in Contexts of Chronic Conflict

IIPS 50908 01 (CRN 20047)
Laura Miller-Graff
R 9:30-12:15

The study of human resilience following adversity has garnered significant interdisciplinary interest in the past decade, but conceptualizations of its definition and function vary widely both within and across disciplines. This course will be an interdisciplinary exploration of how we can understand human “resilience,” especially in the context of ongoing adversity. Drawing from psychology, anthropology, biology, theology, fine arts, and literature – among other disciplines – we will explore the tensions and synergies between varying schools of thought on resilience, identify major gaps/problems in how the concept is defined, and examine its functional utility for studying well-being and promoting social justice in the context of ongoing direct and structural violence.