Spring 2021 Courses
The tentative list of upcoming Kroc Institute courses, descriptions, and instructors is below. The full list of courses eligible for the supplementary major and minor, including electives cross-listed from other departments, will be posted here when finalized.
Any interested student may enroll in IIPS 20101 Introduction to Peace Studies for the spring term. Students who are not majors and minors in the Undergraduate Program in Peace Studies are welcome to enroll in IIPS electives if seats remain available after all initial web registration periods have passed.
IIPS 20101 01 (CRN 24237)
IIPS 20101 02 (CRN 24238)
First Years, Sophomores, Juniors Only
Armed conflict and state repression continue to occur across the globe, millions of people face overwhelming poverty, and systemic challenges like climate change imperil collective survival. Nevertheless, we have 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 at the local, national, regional and global levels. This course introduces students to the various ways scholars and activists define peace and the challenges faced in securing peace. It 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.
Black Lives Matter Uprisings of 2020: Revolutionary Violence vs. Revolutionary Nonviolence
IIPS 30425 01 (CRN 31884)
Is violent resistance and destructive populist uprising in response to injustice and structural violence ever justified? How do these developments compare and contrast to the debates surrounding violent vs nonviolent rebellion during the U.S. Civil Rights and Black Power Movements? How should the oppressed respond to their oppressors—conceptualize, fight for, and deploy power? What is the difference between rebellion and social movement, and how do their differences affect prospects for transforming systemically unjust and structurally violent conditions? This course explores answers to these questions by examining the conflicts surrounding the Movement for Black Lives over the last decade, while examining 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. nonviolent action and re-examine the roles that rebellion can play (and has played) in transforming injustice and structural violence, as well as in conceptualizing and pursuing liberation. What does the peace studies concept of “conflict transformation” have to contribute to these understandings and debates? We will consider challenges posed by rioting, property destruction and ‘looting,’ and the risks and possibilities of avoiding so-called “backlash” responses of state repression and counter-protest.
Perspectives on Peacebuilding
IIPS 33101 01 (CRN 25071)
A. Rashied Omar
IIPS 33101 02 (CRN 27920)
Majors, Minors, Concentrators Only
This 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.
Climate Change and Armed Conflict
IIPS 40406 01 (CRN 31883)
To what extent does climate change pose a threat to national and international security? In this course, we will consider how the biophysical consequences of a changing climate reverberate through economic, social, and political systems to cause armed conflict between states and within them. We will examine at length the causal linkages between environmental change and war and scrutinize the empirical evidence. In addition, we will discuss the potential for political institutions, adaptation, and mitigation to prevent climate-related violence. Throughout the course, we will explore contemporary conflicts to illustrate key points and discuss how climate change shapes today’s international security landscape and concurrent policy debates.
Peace, Ecology, and Integral Human Development
IIPS 40409 01 (CRN 28932)
A major source of conflict – increasingly so – is environmental issues; both climate change-related conflicts about (more and more scarce) resources as well as secondary conflicts (conflicts that arise because of the resource conflict, i.e. climate migrants) pose a major challenge to the planet. Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si has offered ways to think about an “integral ecology” that takes the environment, life on the planet, the human condition and culture seriously. The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor cannot be separated. Laudato Si has to be read against the background of the concept of “Integral Human Development.” This concept, inspired by the works of Joseph Lebret, OP, has been introduced by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Populorum Progressio (1967). It refers to “the development of the whole person and the development of all persons. The course explores the connection (intersectionality) between peace, (integral) ecology, and (integral human) development. It will do so with in-class room teaching sessions and working with select case studies on integral ecology.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict through Films
IIPS 40416 01 (CRN 31882)
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).
Forced Migration and Refugees: Law, Policies, and Practice
IIPS 40417 01 (CRN 31880)
Millions of people around the world have been forced from their homes by interlinked factors including persecution, armed conflict, natural disasters, development projects and socio-economic deprivation. Resolving large-scale displacement represents a critical challenge for contemporary peacebuilding and development processes. This course is designed to introduce students to various theoretical and methodological frameworks that inform and shape forced migration laws, policies and practice. Specifically students will: (i) examine international, regional, national and local responses to the problem of forced migration; (ii) investigate the obstacles to effective protection and assistance for refugees and displaced persons; (iii) explore the challenge of resolving displacement crises, and (iv) discuss some of the moral dilemmas raised by forced migration.
Themes in Islamic Law and Ethics: History and Contemporary Debates
IIPS 40418 01 (CRN 31879)
This is a survey course in Islamic law and ethics aimed at upper level undergraduates and law school students. The course will provide an outline of Islamic legal theory and jurisprudence and then cover topics such as Muslim family law, fatwas on a range of topics such as gender, sexuality and cultural and political conflict.
International Conflict Resolution: The Theory and Practice of Mediation
IIPS 40801 01 (CRN 27921)
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.
Social Movements, Conflict, and Peacebuilding
IIPS 40807 01 (CRN 31877)
In many of the recurring conflicts around the world, at issue are demands for justice. Whether these revolve around economic inequality, political repression, environmental devastation, civil and political rights, ethnic or religious exclusion, or discrimination on the basis of race, class, gender, sexuality or disability status (to name just a few), social movements are often the carriers of these calls for justice. In this course, we will examine how social movements emerge from, contribute to, and suggest resolutions for various types of social conflict, as well as explore their potential contributions to sustainable peacebuilding. We will examine theory and research on how social movements emerge, escalate, consolidate and decline; how they choose (and change) protest tactics; how they articulate their visions and goals; how they generate emotions, solidarity and commitment; how they interact with networks of allies, opponents and powerholders; and how they influence (or fail to influence) agendas, policies, and regimes. We will put a particular emphasis on the comparative study of social movements in different regions of the world, as well as on the challenges and opportunities posed by transnational movements that seek to organize across borders.
Peace Studies Senior Seminar
IIPS 43101 01 (CRN 20276)
IIPS 43101 02 (CRN 21639)
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.
Religion, Technics, and Human Development
IIPS 50404 01 (CRN 31875)
This seminar explores the relationship between religion and human development with the critical intervention of how technology-from ancient to modern times-shapes both religious vocabularies and notions of human flourishing. In the light of the raging environmental and political crises advocates of techno-science and policy-makers are challenged by both the limitations and capacity of technology to deal with the emerging “postnormal” times. The course offers a focused consideration of complexity, chaos and contradiction. What is the nature of the transitional epoch of the unthought and human ignorance in thinking and practice and possible remedies, if any?
Dimensions of Quality Peace
IIPS 50602 01 (CRN 27922)
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.
Justice and Peacebuilding: An Islamic Perspective
IIPS 50604 01 (CRN 22203)
A. Rashied Omar
(This course was formerly titled Islamic Ethics of War and Peace.) "Islam and Violence," "Islam and Conflict," "Islam and Peace," and "Islam and Justice" are familiar topics that have become increasingly popular in the media in the first two decades of the 21st century. These topics were spawned by events such as the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the attacks on the United States of America in September 2001, the Bush administration’s subsequent "war on terror" in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Arab Spring which began in North Africa in 2011, followed in 2014 by the grotesque violence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In order to develop a complex set of insights into these and other current events, it is important to have a greater understanding of the Islamic view of peace and justice. This course aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the Islamic view of justice and peacebuilding by examining the major theories and principles of Islamic ethics of peacebuilding and applying it to analyze contemporary Muslim perspectives on justice and peacebuilding. The course is grounded in the nascent academic sub-discipline of religion, violence, and the practices of peace (RVP). The intention is to introduce students to RVP and help them expand their theoretical and analytical lenses. Finally, students are not expected to emerge from this course as experts on the Islamic ethics of peacebuilding, but will be exposed to major authors and arguments and be provided with a number of conceptual lenses that can be applied to their analysis of the diverse ways in which Islam is implicated in conflict, violence, and peacebuilding on both a global and local level.
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