Spring 2024 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.
IIPS 20101 01 (CRN 23319)
IIPS 20101 02 (CRN 23320)
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 28316)
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 28317)
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 23981)
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.
Digital Peacebuilding and Peacetech
IIPS 40301 01 (CRN 31819)
This course explores how social media and other new technologies are profoundly reshaping the world, impacting democratic institutions, social cohesion, conflict, and the peacebuilding field. We will engage in deep-rooted analysis of technology's positive and negative impacts on society, drawing on neuroscience, psychology, political analysis, and economic research of the profit models, affordances, and designs of current technology platforms. Students will analyze the impact of digital technology on fifteen global conflicts and explore twenty spheres of digital peacebuilding. The course includes a policy analysis of proposed government regulations on technology companies. Participants will learn through case studies and policy dialogues to identify best practices for using social media to support peacebuilding.
IIPS 40409 01 (CRN 31820)
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, was 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 32737)
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).
IIPS 40807 01 (CRN 31823)
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 20230)
IIPS 43101 02 (CRN 31824)
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.
Islam, Nonviolence, and Peacebuilding
IIPS 50604 01 (CRN 31825)
A. Rashied Omar
‘Islam and Violence’, and ‘Islam and Terror’, are familiar topics that have become increasingly popular in the media in the first two decades of the twenty-first 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 contradistinction, to the plethora of courses focussing on Islam and Terrorist Violence, this course seeks to critically examine the Islamic theologies of nonviolence and peacebuilding articulated and embodied by a number of Muslim scholars. Students are not expected to emerge from this course as experts on the Islamic ethics of peacebuilding, but will be exposed to major Muslim authors and arguments on nonviolence and peacebuilding 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.
Trauma and Peacebuilding
IIPS 50800 01 (CRN 26795)
Susan St. Ville
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.
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