Spring 2023 Courses

Any interested student may enroll in IIPS 20101 Introduction to Peace Studies for the spring term. Students are also welcome to enroll in other IIPS courses but seats may be limited until all initial web registration periods have passed.


Introduction to Peace Studies

IIPS 20101 01 (CRN 23622)
Rashied Omar
MW 11:00-12:15

IIPS 20101 02 (CRN 23623)
Jerry Powers
TR 11:00-12:15

Open to all undergraduate students and majors.

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.


Race Locales: Race, Space, and Place in America

IIPS 30205 01 (CRN 31640)
Gwendolyn Purifoye
MW 2:00-3:15

This course examines the socio-histories, movement, and settlement patterns of racial minorities in America. The course will focus on how race and racial imaginaries shape the movement and settlement of racial minorities. It will include deep examinations of these mobility patterns and how they are constructed and articulated through laws, policies, and social arrangements. Special attention will be paid to the racialization of the United States, American-ness as whiteness, and the consequences for the social and physical landscape. And finally, the course will consider how the racial construction of America is manifested and buttressed through the built environment and the consequences.


American Hate: White Radicalism, Religion, and Domestic Terror in Contemporary America

IIPS 30328 01 (CRN 31641)
Jason Springs
TR 2:00-3:15

Incidents of hate-driven political violence and domestic terrorism have increased in the United States in recent years and are the highest they have been in decades. Non-partisan studies show this upsurge in violence has been driven primarily by white-supremacist, anti-Muslim, and anti-government extremism. What are the causes of this upsurge in extremism and political violence? What is its impact upon contemporary society, religion, and politics? What do the categories and practices of peacebuilding have to offer for purposes of constructive and transformational responses to such violence and its causes? This course explores answers to these questions. It examines how the causes and conditions of the upsurge in extremist politics and political violence relate to racism, nationalism, xenophobia, and the political weaponizing of American religion. Readings will include Janelle Wong's Immigrants, Evangelicals, and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change; Kristen Kobes Du Mez's From Jesus to John Wayne; Cynthia Miller-Idriss' Hate in the Homeland; Barbara Walters' How Civil Wars Start; Sarah Riccardi-Swartz's Between Heaven and Russia; and Ryan Busse's Gun Fight, among others.


Perspectives on Peacebuilding

IIPS 33101 01 (CRN 24330)
Rashied Omar
MW 3:30-4:45

Reserved for peace studies majors, minors, and concentrators.

This junior 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.


Truth Commissions: Conceptual Foundations and Case Studies (1.0 credit)

IIPS 40100 01 (CRN 32062)
Josefina Echavarría Alvarez
F 02/24, F 03/24, F 04/21 9:00-5:00

Truth commissions have been established around the world to uncover, document, and recognize human rights violations and atrocities as well as to honor victims at moments of transition from dictatorships to democracies and from wars to post-war contexts. In most cases, expectations about their results are set high: victims, the international community, prosecutors, and civil society organizations expect that the truths uncovered become undeniable. As a result, for many people truth commissions stand as an act of reparation in and of themselves, and also serve as catalysts for larger processes of reconciliation and the dignification of victims. In this course, we will study the conceptual foundations of truth commissions and learn from different case studies, including Colombia, Guatemala, Northern Ireland, Kenya, and South Africa. We will seek to comprehend truth commissions’ contributions to processes of peacebuilding and reconciliation, analyze their implementation and identify gaps and opportunities to advance peacebuilding, and engage in conversation about the challenges of creating a "never again" culture.


The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict through Films

IIPS 40416 01 (CRN 27301)
Atalia Omer
MW 9:30-10:45

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).


Peace Studies Senior Seminar

IIPS 43101 01 (CRN 20251)
Jason Springs
TR 9:30-10:45

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.

Section Theme: Ethical Perspectives on Restorative Justice. This seminar explores the tensions between retributive approaches to justice and approaches that are guided by relational and restorative conceptions of justice. Are retributive and restorative approaches intrinsically opposed to one another? To what degree does each need to be supplemented by the other? Which should take priority? We will begin by examining the retributive orientation of the criminal-justice system in the United States, then explore different examples of grassroots and local instances of restorative justice and how these challenge, supplement and reorient retributive conceptions of justice. We will then expand the scope of our examination to international cases in which conceptions of restoration and retribution appear to stand in opposition, or have been successfully integrated.


Trauma and Peacebuilding

IIPS 50800 01 (CRN 28416)
Susan St. Ville
TR 11:00-12:15

In this course we will critically examine issues of trauma and healing as they emerge in conflict situations and as challenges to peacebuilding. The course will be structured in three parts. In Part one, we will examine how theorists from such different disciplines as psychology, psychoanalysis, philosophy and cultural studies have conceptualized trauma and the necessary steps to recovery. In part two, we will review recent anthropological accounts that have emerged from areas of extreme trauma. These accounts will provide the backdrop for assessing the adequacy of the dominant theories of trauma and healing models, especially when these models are taken into cross-cultural contexts. In part three of the course we will reflect on the implications of our examination of trauma and healing for peacebuilding on both the micro and macro levels. We will consider the challenges and possibilities for working with victims of trauma in various cultural situations as well as the reality of secondary traumatic stress experienced by practitioners. On the macro level, we will consider how trauma research might broaden our understanding of ideals of reconciliation, forgiveness and restorative justice, as well as the advisability of truth-telling commissions and war-crimes tribunals.


Engaging in Mediation Policy and Practice

IIPS 50805 01 (CRN 31643)
Laurie Nathan
M 12:30-3:15

This skills-oriented course focuses on mediation policy and practice. It covers the skills of conflict analysis, strategic planning for peacemaking, mediating conflict, and policy development and advocacy. It will address conflict at both the international level and the local level.