Peace Studies Courses

100.        Introduction to Peace Studies.

The purpose of peace studies is to explore the potential for nonviolent methods of building social, political and economic justice. This course intentionally searches for alternative ways of understanding conflict. We will ask questions such as: Can we define “peace” in more positive terms than the unrealistic “absence of conflict”? Can conflict be positive or even transformative? Are “peacemakers” different from the rest of us? Can we all learn to live harmoniously with others who are very different from us? And what are ways to cultivate the inner peace that gives people the strength and insight to deal with conflict creatively and positively? Also offered as PHIL 120.

102.        A Historical Approach to Peace Studies.

Are humans inherently violent?  Is war "natural"?  Is it inevitable?  How do people in different societies respond to conflict?  Is it possible or even desirable to eliminate all conflict in human interactions?  What is meant by "peace"—is it simply the absence of violence?  What is necessary for establishing and maintaining a peaceful community or society?  How are animals and the environment relevant to peace for humans?  Does inner peace relate to outer peace? To answer these questions, we will study historical and recent examples of nonviolent social and political actions and movements, as well as approaches recommended by contemporary scholars and practitioners for transforming conflicts at the interpersonal to international levels and fostering peace.  We also will consider how moral doctrines have envisioned alternatives to violence.  Additionally, we'll examine and engage in mindfulness, meditative, and other contemplative exercises as means to explore the relationship between inner and outer peace. Fulfills HU requirement.  Also offered as HIST 107.


The content of each course or section of these 100-level or 200-level special topics courses varies and will be announced each semester.


The content of each course or section of these 300-level or 400-level special topics courses varies and will be announced each semester.

380.        Philosophy of Peace.

In this course we explore the meanings of terms such as peace, justice, conflict, violence, pacifism, conscientious objection, and civil disobedience, and we will consider the relationships among these terms. We will also consider questions such as: Is it possible to create a truly just world? Is it possible to respond to serious conflict or oppression nonviolently? Is the use of violent force ever justified? Is a “just war” possible? We will read classic works by philosophers and others on these topics. We will also reflect on our own identities, how power is constructed in our world, and will conclude the course by envisioning a better world and considering how to work towards creating it. Pre-requisite: PEAC 100 or any 100-level philosophy course or permission of the instructor. Also listed as PHIL 380.

400.        SYE: Peace Studies Capstone Seminar.

This course is intended to provide an opportunity for peace studies minors to integrate what they have learned in all of the courses that they have taken for their minor. Students re-examine what they learned in these courses, making connections to important peace studies concepts; they also design integrative projects that draw from and extend those studies, and share their work with each other throughout the course. Prerequisite: PEAC 100. Limited to Peace Studies minors.

489.        SYE: Peace Studies Capstone Independent Study.

If a student must take the capstone seminar in a semester during which it is not offered, he or she may take the course as an independent study under supervision of a faculty member.