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Peace Studies 200

PEAC 200: Introduction To Peace Studies

Credit Hours: (3)

Overview of the main issues and various disciplinary approaches to the study of conflict, conflict management, and world security; introduction to alternative paradigms for conflict management and resolution; introduction to a variety of world order systems.

Note(s): This course has been approved for Core Curriculum credit in Global Perspectives.

 

Detailed Description of Content of Course

Through examining a number major issues associated with the discipline of peace studies, this course introduces students both to the important contemporary discipline of peace studies and to the major international and global issues associated with the human quest for a more just and peaceful world order. Through studying the cental international and global issues confronting humankind in the 21 st century, students learn to engage in careful and sustained reflection on some of the major problems confronting humankind today, as well as on the issues of conflict management at the international level, and, finally, on their personal roles and responsibilities as world citizens.

Since this course is inherently interdisciplinary and will involve a variety of primary teachers as well as guest speakers, content and emphasis may vary. However, the primary content of the course can be described as follows.

(1) The course involves an introduction to the discipline of peace and world security studies, including the essential distinctions and concepts which have developed within the discipline during the past 40 years: such as positive versus negative conceptions of peace, global versus international issues, alternative conceptions violence and nonviolence, need for awareness of the global diversity of cultures and perspectives, and the general scope of the issues considered within this field.

(2) The course also provides an introduction to the major global problems and the interrelationships among these problems that confront humankind in the 21 st century and bear on the issues of international world order, conflict management, peace, and security. Major issues examined include the global population explosion, global environmental decline, global militarism and arms races, global violence in its various forms, global poverty, global cultural, religious and ethnic conflicts, and global social instability.

(3) The overall framework for the course, which integrates the above two items, involves an introduction to the following components in the systematic study of peace:

            (a) the analysis of violent and threatening conflict, and other forms of violence, including the possibility of nuclear, biological, or chemical warfare, in and among contemporary states and societies;

            (b) the delineation of proposals and attempts to introduce more equitable, harmonious, and non-violent societies and international mechanisms for world security and order. In this regard the course provides an introduction to a variety of alternative paradigms for world order and conflict management as well as the international social movements or institutions representing these alternatives. These paradigms include social movements or institutions premised on the following ideas: the Gandhi-King paradigm of developing the culture, influence, and orientation of nonviolence; the global civil society paradigm focusing on the development of international understanding, communications, and institutions; the civilian based defense paradigm focusing on the development of non-military means of enhancing world security; the regionalist paradigm promoting economic and political interdependence among nations and regions; the UN paradigm promoting the enhancement and evolution of the United Nations and its mechanisms for international order; and the federalist paradigm promoting federal, democratic world government;

            (c) the analysis of the methods of constructive and nonviolent group and individual action (taking into account cultural similarities and diversities) to transform unjust, violent, or oppressive situations, or to manage conflict, and the conditions for the success of such activities, and, finally; 

            (d) the role of social transformation and the development of sustainable, well-formed institutions in preventing outbreaks of destructive violence and removing the causes of such outbreaks.

4. Individual students or group projects may choose to focus on specific aspects of the course for term papers or research projects, for example:

            (a) specific international ethnic, cultural, or religious conflicts and their potential solutions or management,

            (b) the more general role of cultural diversity with its effect on perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors as this affects issues of conflict management and world security,

             (c) national or international military, economic, or political conflicts and their potential solutions or management,                

             (d) global problems or international issues such as poverty, environmental decline or population growth and their potential solutions or management.

By thinking about the issues raised in this course in a systematic way, students will gain not only a basic understanding of the problems of international world order, conflict management, peace, and security but also an enhanced understanding of the human situation itself as we enter the 21 st century, a sense of how these problems are directly relevant to our lives today, and a sense of their role and responsibility as thoughtful, critically educated human beings in assuming international citizenship.

 

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course necessarily involves a combination of lecture, discussion, and direct student involvement. In addition to guest speakers and discussions with guest speakers, it will involve students in small group and open class discussion and in a variety of formal and informal writing activities. Because this course is taught by different primary instructors in different semesters, and emphasizes collaborative faculty teaching of the course, the specific format may vary, but in every case the course will involve a plurality of instructional strategies designed to engage students in the doing, thinking, and living of peace work, as potential international citizens, not just learning about it.

Whether or not a formal research paper is assigned in the class, students will be expected to employ basic research skills, including the use of computer technology, to investigate and gather information on various topics and figures discussed in class. Among the teaching activities students can expect in this course are the following:

  • Lecture and discussion led by the instructor
  • Small group discussion
  • In-class formal or informal debates
  • Individual and group oral presentations
  • Informal in-class and out-of-class writing assignments
  • Journals
  • Individual and collaborative research activities involving library and Internet searches
  • Active engagement with email and world wide web communications
  • Written and oral analysis of texts
  • Written summaries/ evaluations of out-of-class events
  • A choice of service learning options.
  • Guest lectures, films, and videotapes.
  • Goals and Objectives of the Course

Course specific goals and objectives are the following. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to demonstrate:

(1) a basic understanding of the nature and methods of peace and world security studies as an interdisciplinary field,

(2) a basic knowledge of some of the most important issues and distinctions used within contemporary peace studies,

(3) an overview of the main components in the systematic study of world order, peace and security and the issues addressed within each component,

(4) a basic understanding of the range of global problems and international issues facing humankind in the 21 st century,

(5) an awareness of the dynamics and complexity of the international world and the need for sensitivity to the diversity of cultures, thoughtfulness, and understanding when dealing with international problems, and

(6) an appreciation of the relevance that peace studies – as critical reflection on some of the most fundamental issues of our contemporary world – has in their own lives.

Broad General Education Goals

As part of the General Education program, this course is designed to help students achieve a number of broad learning goals in addition to the course-specific goals identified above. Upon successful completion of this course, students should have learned or mastered basic abilities in the following areas:

  • Through critical examination and discussion of key texts and ideas central to peace studies, students will learn to think critically and creatively about the ideas, issues and problems encountered in the course.
  • Similarly, through careful study of arguments used by proponents of the various peace and world order paradigms, students will learn to identify and analyze logical arguments in the texts used in this course, and construct logical and persuasive arguments in relation to the subject matter of the course.

(7) Through a guided research project in connection with some particular issue in the area of peace studies, students will learn to employ basic research skills, including the use of computer technology, to investigate and gather information on various topics and figures discussed in class.

  • Though the emphasis on discussion, dialogue, and groups learning basic to this course, students will learn to work cooperatively with others in small group discussions, research projects, presentations, or service learning situations.
  • Through the reflection on a variety of cultural and intellectual perspectives that is basic to the study of peace and security, students should be able to identify personal and cultural assumptions and values underlying the views presented in the texts, by guest speakers, and by classmates.

Goals for General Education Area Five – International and Intercultural Studies

In addition to the course-specific goals and the broad General Education learning goals indicated above, this course is intended to help students achieve a number of learning objectives in the International and Intercultural Area of the General Education program. In particular, upon successful completion of this course students should be able to:

(1) Demonstrate an awareness of the diversity of cultures both within and beyond the United States. Under this goal, this course identifies and analyzes the variety of international actors, cultures, and forces that must be considered by thoughtful persons confronting contemporary issues of world order, conflict management, peace, and security, and that highlight the relationships among peoples and nations. It also identifies and discusses important global issues that highlight the relationships among peoples and nations with respect to issues of peace, conflict management and world security.

(2) Analyze similarities and differences between their own and other cultures that affect perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors. Under this goal, this course expects students to demonstrate an awareness of the complexity, diversity, and interdependence of cultures, nations, social forces and international issues comprising the our world of the 20 th and 21 st centuries. It also helps students identify and analyze the similarities and differences between their own and other cultures that affect perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors with respect to peace, conflict, and the range of fundamental global and international problems.

(3) Demonstrate an understanding of the central place of language in shaping thinking, values, and other aspects of culture. Depending on where students choose to focus for research or group projects, each student should also be able to demonstrate a more detailed knowledge of some area of international focus, including the significance of language in shaping thinking, values, or other aspects of the particular culture which is their area of focus. For example:

(a) particular ethnic, cultural, or religious conflicts and their potential solutions or management,

(b) the general role of cultural diversity in relation to problems of conflict management and world order,

(c) national or international military, economic, or political conflicts and their potential solutions or management, or

(d) specific global problems or international issues and their potential solutions or management. Many of these foci help develop an understanding of the central place of language in shaping thinking, values, and culture.

(4) Identify and discuss important global issues that highlight the relationships among peoples and nations. Under this goal, this course expects students to be able to discuss in speech and writing the main options available to humanity in moving the world towards greater peace and security and assess the central difficulties and potentialities within each option, relying on their understanding of the diversity of world cultures to enhance the discussion. It also expects students to be able to discuss in speech and writing the notion of international citizenship and the kinds of roles, responsibilities and options that such citizenship entails, including sensitivity to the similarities and differences between their own and other cultures that affect perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors.

 

Assessment Measures

Student progress in achieving the course-specific objectives and the General Education goals established for this course will be measured in a variety of ways. Because this course is taught by several instructors, the specific assessment instruments employed may vary, but in every case the instructor will employ a number of the following methods to evaluate aspects of student learning.

  • Graded and ungraded homework assignments may be used to measure the student’s ability to read texts carefully, to identify underlying values and assumptions, to articulate central concepts, to analyze and construct arguments, to understand alternative points of view, and to employ basic research methods.
  • Journals may be used to measure the development of self-understanding vis-a-vis other cultures, nations, or perspectives and progress in critical and creative thinking about the ideas, issues, and texts of the course.
  • Class discussions, debates, and small group discussion may be used to measure the student’s reasoning and oral communication skills as well as the student’s ability to work with others in a shared process of inquiry.
  • Individual and group oral presentations may be used to measure the student’s understanding of particular paradigms, positions or issues as well as the student’s ability to present persuasive arguments and alternative points of view.
  • Quizzes and objective tests may be used to measure the student’s basic knowledge of the course material and the student’s ability to read carefully and think with clarity.
  • Essay exams may be used to measure the student’s understanding of the nature and methods of peace studies, knowledge of the course material, ability to analyze and comprehend perspectives, and ability to think and to write with clarity.
  • Research reports may be used to measure the student’s ability to employ appropriate research methods and technologies.
  • The results of internet and world wide web searches, or email communications, may be used to measure the student’s ability to use the web effectively to gather ideas and information relevant to a specific topic or research project.
  • Term papers may be used to measure the student’s understanding of the nature of peace and world security studies and knowledge of specific texts, perspectives or issues addressed in the course, as well as to measure the student’s ability to articulate a sustained and persuasive argument, to think and write with clarity, and to demonstrate an appreciation of the significance of peace studies and international issues to his or her own life and concerns.

 

Other Course Information

 

Approval and Subsequent Reviews

DATE ACTION APPROVED BY
September 2001 Review Curriculum Committee Dr. Glen Martin, Chairperson