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Peace and Conflict Studies

The Peace and Conflict Studies concentration allows students to focus on issues of peace and social justice. The courses offered in the concentration help students address crucial challenges of the contemporary world and develop the knowledge and skills necessary for effective citizenship in the post-cold war world. Beginning this year, students will also have an opportunity to pursue a Social Justice track within the Peace and Conflict Studies concentration.

Students interested in peace and conflict studies should consider enrolling in one of the courses listed under Peace and Conflict Studies on the First-Year Student website.



HIST 101
Themes:  Playing with the Past
Common Area: Historical Studies

How do most Americans learn about history beyond the books and articles that historians write? Arguably, most Americans know what they know about the past from popular sources—from watching films, going to a museum exhibit, witnessing a historical re-enactment, or even playing a video game. Rather than focus upon all these different cultural forms, this course will focus upon how games (broadly conceived) teach us history. In this course, we will examine both the historical interpretations and embedded arguments within historically-oriented games. This course then seeks to offer students the tools of historical analysis to understand the interpretive claims about the past made in these popular immersive platforms. In terms of structure, the course will both offer scholarship about the history of games and analysis into the historical development of game design. This course depends upon active student participation--students will play games, participate in simulations, and even have an opportunity to visit re-enactment sites. There will be different components of the course that will focus on historical simulations and video games. Students will be expected to work collaboratively on group project and will also complete an analytical research project about a game of their choice.


HIST 101
Themes: American Social Movements
Common Area: Historical Studies

In this course we will examine the premise that the history of the United States is, in large part, a history of power and protest. Through case studies of three modern American social movements --  modern black civil rights, anti-war, and gender/sexual rights/liberation -- we will explore how individuals and institutions have constructed and fought to maintain power while other individuals and organizations have claimed the power to challenge the ideologies and traditions of the status quo. We will pay special attention to the role that fear (of change, difference and dissent) plays in shaping these social struggles and our own sense of what is possible in a democracy.  Injustice and oppression are universal elements to the human story.  We all acknowledge this, but what makes a person do something concrete about it?  What makes a person act? How do groups organize? How does social/political change happen?  How is it resisted?  In the process of formulating responses to these questions, we will examine an array of historical documents, as well as biographies/autobiographies of activists, images and literature.


HIST 101
Themes:  WWII and Holocaust
Common Area: Historical Studies

In this course, we will examine the military, political and social experience of total war, taking as our case study the Eastern front in World War II and the Holocaust in the East. The territories of Poland and the Soviet Union were the site of the World War II’s most brutal fighting, the battleground for two diametrically opposed ideological and economic systems, and the location of most of the Holocaust. Using primary sources including memoirs and fiction produced by participants in and survivors of the war, students will consider Soviet, Jewish and German perspectives on the wartime experience and seek to further understand the following questions, amongst others: How did ideology, propaganda and preexisting ethnic tensions shape the war and its course? What were Nazi and Soviet war aims, and what was behind the dramatic escalation in ferocity towards opposing armies and civilians after 1941? What enabled the Soviet Union to survive the attack and emerge victorious in 1945? What accounts for the scale and nature of the Holocaust in the East? What choices did communities in occupied territories face, and what accounts for both collaboration and fierce partisan resistance? In class discussions and a series of written analyses, students will debate not only the reasons behind the war’s eventual outcome and its implications for the postwar social and economic orders, but the importance of historical memory and the historian’s role in shaping it.


HIST 114
Napoleon to the European Union, 1815-present
Common Area: Historical Studies

This course covers the major events of modern European history from the French Revolution to the collapse of Communism, paying particular attention to issues that have troubled the region throughout the modern era, many of which remain unresolved today.  These include conflicts of values, most especially between religious and secular world views; debates about social, economic, racial, and national inequality; changes in the role of women, men, marriage, and family in modern society; the experience of total war and its impact on individuals and nations; the disquieting phenomenon of popular dictatorship; the ethics of collaboration and resistance in WWII; and the consequences and legacies of superpower struggle in Europe.


HIST 127
Modern Latin America
Common Area: Cross-cultural Studies or Historical Studies

Surveys the history of 19th- and 20th-century Latin America, focusing on six countries. Topics include the formation of nation-states, the role of the military, the challenges of development and modernization, the Catholic church and liberation theology, social and political movements for reform or revolution, slavery, race relations, the social history of workers and peasants, and inter-American relations. Fulfills one non-Western requirement for the major.


HIST 198
Modern Africa Since 1800
Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies or Historical Studies

A survey of Africa’s complex colonial past, this course examines dominant ideas about colonial Africa and Africans’ experiences during colonialism. We explore the historical debates on pre-colonial Africa’s place in the global world; resistance and response to the imposition and entrenchment of colonialism; and the nature of colonial rule as revealed in economic underdevelopment, ethnicity and conflict, and the environment. The course concludes with an evaluation of the post-colonial outcome in Africa, particularly focusing on the challenges and promises facing present-day African nations as they grapple with neo-colonialism marked by dependency, political instability, ethnic conflicts, disease, over-population and indebtedness.


POLS 103
Introduction to International Relations
Common Area: Social Science

This course introduces students to major theories and concepts in international politics and examines the evolution of the international system during the modern era. Principal topics include the causes of war and peace, the dynamics of imperialism and postcolonialism, the international sources of wealth and poverty, the nature and functioning of international organizations, the legal and ethical obligations of states, and the emergence of global environmental issues.


RELS 143
Social Ethics
Common Area: Studies in Religion

This course provides an introduction to moral reasoning and various modes of Christian ethical reflection on contemporary issues. Topics will vary from semester to semester but may include economic justice and poverty; love, marriage, and sexuality; racism; capital punishment and mass incarceration; war and peace; the environment, and Christian political engagement. The course explores a diversity of Christian ethical perspectives on these issues, paying particular attention to how ethical discernment is informed not only by the resources of the tradition (including biblical norms and church teaching), but also by the analytical tools of social theory, including race, gender, and class. 



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