Peace and Conflict


HG 399

Fall Semester 2003

Instructor: Prof. Judy Hansen-Childers

Office: Room 209

Office Hours:

Mondays – 1 PM to 4 PM

Wednesdays – 1 PM to 3 PM

Friday – 1 PM to 2 PM

You are welcome to drop by at other times or make an appointment!

Office Phone: 859-1335

Home Phone: 582-7632


Snow Phone/Cancellation Line: 859-1140

Class Schedule: Tuesdays, Thursdays - From 12:35 PM to 1:50 PM in Room 222.



Terrorism and War by Howard Zinn (Seven Stories Press)

War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges (Anchor Books)


COURSE DESCRIPTION: Prerequisite: (Junior status AND one other history course OR PH 299 Terrorism: The New World Disorder) OR  (Permission of Instructor).

This course is designed to provide a general introduction to peace and conflict studies as an area of inquiry and familiarize students with various approaches to studying peace and violence. Students will examine contemporary international relations with an emphasis on the search for effective means to reduce and prevent armed conflict, enhance international cooperation, and promote world peace.


COURSE OBJECTIVES (Learning Outcomes):

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

1.      identify the definitions of war;

2.      identify some of the complex causes of conflict and war;

3.      identify and evaluate the necessary preconditions and conditions for peace and apply them to a given conflict;

4.      identify and assess the contributions and limitations of peace movements;

5.      discuss the role(s) played by the governments, the media, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in contemporary conflicts;

6.      analyze contemporary situations of conflict and examine the impact of current solutions for mediation and conflict resolution;

7.      analyze contemporary situations of conflict and propose solutions for conflict resolution;



The student’s attainment of the learning outcomes will be assessed in the following ways:


1.      Thought papers. These are to be short essays (2-5 pages typed, standard margins and fonts, check specific assignment for length) that deal with issues raised in the reading, class sessions, media, etc. One of the goals in this course is to have a conversation going among all of us. One way to do this is through written responses to readings and other course materials.


2.      Journal.  You are required to keep a written, dated journal throughout the entire semester on the events that occur in your assigned conflict area.  Your journal will be collected and graded periodically.  You will also be asked during the course to update the class on what is happening in your region. Sources must be cited and dated in your journal. You should gather your information from a variety of media.



3.      Class Participation. Class Participation is very important. Class participation entails your attendance and contribution to class discussion. It is expected that students attend all classes prepared and ready to work. There is a considerable amount of reading for this course so be prepared to spend several hours each week reading handouts, chapters, your lecture notes, etc. There will be many questions that come up throughout the lectures and readings, and everyone should feel free to contribute to the discussions. Student participation is critical to successful learning and performance in this class. The brightest students are the ones with the questions, not the answers. I strongly encourage you to discuss outside materials including current events and speakers if they are relevant to class material. If you are a bit reluctant (as we all are at times) this is the time to overcome your reluctance. This means speaking up when you have something to say as well as not monopolizing the conversation. Also, participation includes one on one discussion through e-mail or office hours.


4.      Final Essay.  There will be a final, take-home essay (10 pages for individuals—20 pages for pairs) covering the topics and materials of the course, in an effort to integrate them and to explore the student's relationship to them. It will not require non-assigned reading but can include anything beyond the reading list that students deem relevant. Details will be provided later.



Students will be expected to complete assigned readings and written assignments by their due dates.

IF YOU ARE HAVING PROBLEMS UNDERSTANDING THE READING OR THE MATERIAL COVERED IN CLASS PLEASE SEE ME ASAP!!  (However, I will expect that you have made a good faith effort to attend class and read the assigned material). J



A (94 - 100) A- (90 - 93) B+ (87 - 89) B (83 - 86) B- (80 - 82)

C+ (77 - 79) C (73 - 76) C- (70 - 72) D+ (67 - 69) D (63 - 66)

D- (60 - 62) F (below 60)




Thought Papers............................................………………………….... 25%

Journal........................................................................….………………. 25%

Class Participation..............................................................................….. 25%

Final Essay……………………………………………………………… 25%



Students are expected to attend all class sessions and to be prepared to discuss the assigned readings and written homework.  If a student must miss a class session, it is the student’s responsibility to arrange other ways of obtaining the information covered in class. Please notify the instructor in advance if you have to miss a class. Students with excessive absences may not receive a passing grade.



Students who plagiarize papers and projects or cheat on exams will receive zeros for the work in question and may fail the course.


·        Changes in the syllabus and assignments may be modified as deemed appropriate by the instructor.   All changes will be announced in class.

·        Students with a disability who are requesting academic accommodations should contact Ellen McQuiston at the Center for Academic Support (CAS) and the instructor as soon as possible.


Important Links

INCORE Conflict Data Service

United Nations

Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know

Electronic Iraq


Thomas College Homepage






9/2, 9/4

Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies





9/9, 9/11

 Defining War; Reasons for War





9/16, 9/18

 Terrorism, Counterterrorism and War





9/23, 9/25

 War and the Significance of Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear Weapons





9/30, 10/2

 Peace Movements – Past and Present





10/7, 10/9

 Diplomacy, Negotiations, and Conflict Resolution






Columbus Day Weekend October 10 - 13


10/14, 10/16

 Appeasement, Provocation, and Deterrence





10/21, 10/23

 Disarmament and Arms Control





10/28, 10/30

 The Role of International Organizations



10/30 Midterm Exam


11/4, 11/6

 International and World Government





11/11, 11/13

 Building Positive Peace – Human Rights, Ecological, and Economic Well-Being





11/18, 11/20, 11/25







Thanksgiving Break November 26 - 30


12/2, 12/4

 The Future of Peace (Part 1)





12/9, 12/11

 The Future of Peace (Part 2)






  Final Exam Week of December 15th







This syllabus may be changed at the discretion of the instructor.

Last Revised: July 22, 2003