Peace and Conflict

We examine the forces producing war and violence at two levels: global conflicts involving disputes between nations, weapons proliferation, international terrorism, and economic exploitation, as well as local conflicts such as criminal and domestic violence, civil conflict, hate crimes, and economic inequality. We study how domestic and international institutions, as well as social, political, and economic arrangements undermine chances for peace. Similarly, we examine movements and entities working for peace on a global level, such as international organizations and transnational movements for peace and justice, as well as the efforts of individuals and social movements working for justice and nonviolence on a local and domestic level. Our understanding of peace includes both finding alternatives to outward war and violence, but also challenging the structural violence found in poverty, racism, and sexism.

Social and Economic Justice

We examine the impact of economic globalization, dependency, underdevelopment, and inequality on people’s lives, both in the United States and abroad. We explore the sources and impact of poverty, inequality, and other measures of economic injustice. We are concerned with strategies for economic democracy and sustainable development that promote human dignity and preserve the environment. We examine the pervasiveness of racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression, their links to economic injustice and visions for greater democracy and equality. We study how the globalization of the economy provides great promise but also a serious threat to sustainable economic development and the livelihoods of marginalized peoples.

Ethical Approaches to Peace and Justice

We consider the legal, historical, religious, and philosophical development of attitudes towards human rights and responsibilities, economic justice, violence and nonviolence, and war and peace. We examine the idea of a just society and a just world, the sources and impact of repression and violence, as well as possible remedies. Students are encouraged to look at their own values and assumptions, as well as those underlying the policies of political and economic elites, and those working for change. We examine the ethical implications of violence and nonviolence by individuals, groups, and governments.

Social Movements

We consider the relationship between conflict and change, studying global movements, revolutions, and the changing currents of popular participation. We examine how ordinary people and dissident leaders have shaped societies. We compare American social movements, activism in foreign countries, and burgeoning transnation campaigns. We look at the strategies and tactics of movements for change, including the power of nonviolent action. We assess the impact of political, religious, and cultural movements and prospects for social and political change.


Check back for events.