Fall 2020 Courses
Any interested first year, sophomore, junior, or senior may enroll in IIPS 20101 Introduction to Peace Studies for the fall term. Students who are not pursuing a supplementary major or minor in peace studies are welcome to enroll in other IIPS courses if seats remain after all initial web 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 Fall 2020 Undergraduate Course List. Full details for each course can also be viewed online in NOVO or Class Search under the subject "Institute for International Peace Studies" (IIPS).
IIPS 20101 01 (CRN 15985)
IIPS 20101 02 (CRN 14149)
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.
Civil War Peace Agreement in Comparative Perspective
IIPS 30416 01 (CRN 19602)
This course examines contemporary armed conflicts and the process of moving from armed conflicts to negotiated peace agreements. By exploring the underlying causes that lead to armed conflicts, students will learn how contemporary peace agreements address root causes as well as conflict-engendered issues. Because peacebuilding success depends on peace agreement implementation, the variation in the implementation success will be discussed in comparative perspective. The course also explores the Kroc Institute’s Peace Accords Matrix database, the world's most extensive database on the implementation of contemporary civil war peace agreements. Throughout the semester, cases such as Syria, Myanmar, South Sudan, and more will be referenced and discussed.
Gender, Sexuality, and the State
IIPS 30424 01 (CRN 19603)
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.
Philosophies of Conflict and Conflict Transformation
IIPS 30425 01 (CRN 19605)
Is violent resistance and populist uprising in response to injustice and structural violence ever justified? The apparent effectiveness of violent rebellion in the Black Lives Matter uprisings of 2020 suggests that the answer is ‘yes’. How do these episodes compare and contrast to the roles of violent vs nonviolent rebellion during the U.S. Civil Rights Movement? This course explores answers to these questions by examining the conflicts surrounding the Movement for Black Lives over the last decade, taking examples from the Civil Rights movement as cases for comparison. We will examine the background theories and ethical frameworks by which activists and practitioners conceptualize, implement, and justify—and argue with one another about—the necessities and limits of violent vs. non-violent resistance, and re-examine the roles that rebellion might play in transforming injustice and structural violence, and conceptualizing / pursuing liberation. What does the peace studies concept of “conflict transformation” have to contribute to this understanding? We will take up the questions of rioting, property destruction and ‘looting,’ and the risks of instigating ‘backlash’ responses by state repression. Readings include: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Omar Wasow, Angela Davis, Danielle Allen, Cornel West, Martin King, Stokely Carmicheal (Kwame Ture), Frantz Fanon, Barbara Deming, David Cortright, John Paul Lederach.
Social Justice and Action: Native American and Indigenous Insights
IIPS 30426 01 (CRN 21062)
Justin de Leon
This course explores Native American and Indigenous political, cultural, and social action with a strong focus on social justice. Native communities in the United States and Canada are actively working towards cultural and political resurgence as a way to protect traditional cultural practices and also to provide future generations with a sense of Native identity and pride. Foregrounding the navigation of ongoing structures of colonialism (or settler colonialism), we will explore Indigenous political thought, land-based knowledge, and contemporary political mobilizations such as Standing Rock, Bears Ears, and Mauna Kea.
(De)Coloniality and Peacebuilding
IIPS 30429 01 (CRN 21063)
Despite its explicit commitment to reducing violence, the field of peacebuilding actively perpetuates forms of structural and cultural violence through its exclusion of indigenous and other non-Western conceptions of peace. Decolonial theory, by contrast, challenges scholars and practitioners of peacebuilding to fight this exclusion by working to create a future in which many non-Western ways of knowing and being in the world can co-exist without fear of erasure. This course offers an introduction to decolonial theory, focused in particular on its implications for the theory and practice of peacebuilding. Over the course of the semester, we will examine foundational works in decolonial thought, critiques of peacebuilding from a variety of decolonial voices, and attempts by scholars and practitioners within the field to respond to these challenges.
War, Peace, and the Catholic Imagination
IIPS 30603 01 (CRN 16737)
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—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). The course emphasizes the "living" nature of the tradition; the link between theory and practice, principles and policy; and the importance of grounding ethics and action on war and peace in an understanding of Christian vocation. It examines these broad topics in light of specific cases, such as the Iraq interventions, humanitarian intervention, nuclear disarmament, the landmines campaign, the role of the UN, conscientious objection, and the Church's role in both Track Two diplomacy and truth and reconciliation processes. Through this course, students have an opportunity to engage directly with Catholic leaders who work on these issues and to write a research paper that contributes to the Catholic Peacebuilding Network's efforts in the Philippines, Colombia, the Great Lakes region of Africa, and South Sudan.
IIPS 30803 01 (CRN 16739)
This course will help students understand and participate more effectively in movements for social change. Students will become familiar with theories of nonviolence and social action as well as practices of effective social organizing. The instructor brings to the course decades of his own practical leadership experience organizing social action campaigns. He will address topics such as the principles of nonviolence, cases of social action, the principles of strategy, media communications, and the methods of social organizing. In addition, relevant historical and contemporary examples will be reviewed in order to illustrate how movements for social change work in practice. Coursework will consist of readings, lectures, videos, guest speakers and class discussion on the identified topics. Students will participate in class activities and team learning exercises.
Perspectives on Peacebuilding
IIPS 33101 01 (CRN 14743)
Peace Studies Majors, Minors, Concentrators Only
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.
Moral Vocabularies of Contemporary Islam
IIPS 40610 01 (CRN 16742)
How does one make sense of the moral vocabularies of contemporary Islam? Prominent in the media are debates about Sharia, known as Islamic law, and on other occasions, people talk about Islamic ethics and values in Muslim societies and communities. These categories are often not self-evident to the most casual observer. How do we get a better grasp of moral debates in Muslim societies on questions as diverse as suicide terrorism, organ transplantation, democratic politics, and fetal life? These ethical debates impact policy questions ranging from gender, democratic citizenship, technology, and sexual violence to matters such as Islamic family law and constitutional debates. This course explores a select sample of these questions from an ethical and moral perspective. Students get an introduction to Muslim moral philosophy, a history of the jurisprudence, and a set of case studies dealing with concrete questions. They also get an opportunity to become familiar with the interpretation of the primary religious sources of Islam that result in diverse iterations and accounts of Muslim ethics in various contexts.
Peace Studies Senior Seminar
IIPS 43101 01 (CRN 10002)
IIPS 43101 02 (CRN 14744)
Peace Studies Majors, Minors, Concentrators Only
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.
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