Peace and Conflict Studies
Director: Jeffrey Dixon
Associate Director of Concentrations: Susan Cunningham
Academic Administrative Assistant: Karen Todd
Why Study Peace and Conflict Studies?
The 20th century witnessed the emergence of mass warfare with weapons of unprecedented destructive capacity, from chemical gas to nuclear bombs. The conclusion of the Cold War in the 1990s seemed to promise a new era of international peace, but the world has since experienced numerous other conflicts including wars in the Middle East, genocide in Rwanda and Sudan, ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, and civil war and population displacement in Syria.
In a 21st century world marked by the persistence of violent conflict, informed citizenship requires an understanding of common causes of war and conflict and their effects on individuals and communities. It also demands engagement with moral and ethical questions about peace and conflict, including an examination of methods by which conflict can be prevented or peacefully resolved.
Peace and Conflict Studies concentrators can take courses on these questions from many different departments, including political science, history, sociology and anthropology, religious studies, economics, psychology and philosophy.
In the Classroom
Students interested in international issues can select from an array of courses in international organization, human rights, economic and political development, regional conflicts in areas such as Latin America and the Middle East, global economics, and the religious and moral dimensions of war, peace and international conflict.
Others focus on domestic issues of education; economic, racial and sexual discrimination; social policy; and violence. In both cases students often include study of nonviolence, conflict resolution and social movements. A list of current courses is available from our office in Smith 329.
Holy Cross is a Jesuit college, and the Jesuits have made the service of faith and promotion of justice within an option for the poor the guiding principle of their ministries. Accordingly, the Peace and Conflict Studies program makes available a "faith and justice" option which enables interested faculty and students to give particular attention to Catholic social teaching and social action and to participate in programs of spiritual direction and small group reflection.