Peace and Conflict


HG 399

Fall Semester 2004

Instructor: Prof. Judy Hansen-Childers

Office: Room 209

Office Hours:

Monday – 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tuesdays and Thursdays – 10:50 AM – 11:50 PM

Friday – 2 PM – 3:00 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: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 AM to 9:50 AM in the Stickney Room.


Text: World on Fire by Amy Chua (Anchor Books) 

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Prerequisite: (Junior status AND one other history course OR PS 229 Terrorism: A 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.



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............................................………………………….... 35%

Journal........................................................................….………………. 30%

Class Participation..............................................................................….. 35%



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


Jordan Times

Jerusalem Post

Alternative Information Center

Al Jazeera (English)

Palestinian National Authority

News Sites for Chechnya

INCORE Conflict Data Service

United Nations

Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know

Electronic Iraq


Thomas College Homepage






8/30, 9/1, 9/3

Introduction to the course

Defining Conflict

Causes of Conflict

Conflicts of the 21st Century





9/8, 9/10

Violence, Culture, and Human Nature





9/13, 9/15, 9/17

The Impact of Structural Violence





9/20, 9/22, 9/24

Why we wage war

Is there such a thing as a “Just War”?

The Impact of War





9/27, 9/28, 10/1

The Threat of Annhilation





10/4, 10/6

Dealing with the Effects of War

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)






Columbus Day Weekend October 9-12



The United Nations





10/18, 10/20, 10/22

Conflict Case Study 1: The Israeli-American/Palestinian Conflict





10/25, 10/27, 10/29

Peace Movements – Past and Present





11/1, 11/3, 11/5






11/10, 11/12

 Role and Impact of the Media





11/15, 11/17, 11/19

Conflict Case Study 2: Northern Ireland






Thanksgiving Break November 23-28


11/29, 12/1, 12/3

 Conflict Case Study 3: Russian / Chechnyan Conflict





12/6, 12/8, 12/10

Conflict Case Study 4: TBA (An African Nation)













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

Last Revised: August 27, 2004