Peace and Conflict Studies
Coordinator: LEE A. SMITHEY (Peace and Conflict Studies, Sociology and Anthropology)
Anna Everetts (Administrative Assistant)
Committee: Wendy E. Chmielewski (Peace Collection)
Ellen Ross (Religion)
Krista Thomason (Philosophy)
Dominic Tierney (Political Science)
Andrew Ward (Psychology)
The Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Swarthmore College provides students with the opportunity to examine conflict in various forms and at levels stretching from the interpersonal to the global. The multidisciplinary curriculum explores the causes, practice, and consequences of collective violence as well as peaceful or nonviolent methods of conducting or dealing with conflict.
Students who minor in peace and conflict studies at Swarthmore will:
- understand factors shaping human conflict, including psychological, social, cultural, political, economic, biological, religious, and historical ones;
- analyze specific cases of conflict, including interpersonal, inter-group, inter-state, and international disputes;
- examine theories and models of peace-building and reconciliation and evaluate attempts to manage, resolve, or transform conflict nonviolently;
- investigate forms of oppression and injustice, and their relationship to conflict, locally and globally; and
- explore opportunities to study topics relevant to peace and conflict through fieldwork, internships, or other experiences outside the classroom.
The Academic Program
Students with any major, whether in Course or in the Honors Program, may add a course minor in peace and conflict studies. Students in the Honors Program may choose to complete an honors minor in peace and conflict studies.
A minor in peace and conflict studies consists of six credits, of which no more than two may be taken in the student’s major department. Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies (PEAC 015) is required and should be taken before the junior year, if possible. It is preferable (but not always possible) for students to have taken two courses in the minor, including Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies, when applying to join the program.
Students in the Honors Program who choose an honors minor in peace and conflict studies must complete one preparation for external examination. A standard two-credit preparation can consist of a seminar, a combination of two courses in different departments, a two-credit thesis, or a combination of a thesis and a course. According to the Honors handbook: “When the preparation for the interdisciplinary minor is an interdisciplinary thesis, the rule is that at least half of the work of the thesis should be in a subject outside the student’s major”. Each student should propose a standard preparation unless he or she has obtained the approval of a sponsoring faculty member to undertake an honors attachment or thesis. The proposed preparation must be approved by the Peace and Conflict Studies Committee.
Students whose honors minor in peace and conflict studies can be incorporated into the final requirements for Senior Honors Study in the major should do so. The Peace and Conflict Studies Committee will work out the guidelines for the integration exercise with the student and the major department.
Applying for the Minor
Students who intend to minor in peace and conflict studies should submit a copy of their Sophomore Plan to the coordinator of the program during the spring of the sophomore year, after consultation with program faculty members. The paper should present a plan of study that satisfies the requirements stated below, specify the courses to count toward the minor, share the student’s interest in peace and conflict studies, and identify how the program complements the student’s academic goals.
The application form for the minor may be found at: www.swarthmore.edu/academics/peace-and-conflict-studies/academic-program.xml. This form should be submitted to the Programs Office, preferably with the Sophomore Plan.
Honors students’ sophomore papers should describe and justify their proposed honors preparation in terms of its suitability for examination and its contribution to the student’s interests in peace and conflict studies. Students should obtain advance approval from faculty members who teach the courses that are to be included in an honors preparation. If the preparation involves a thesis, the student should specify a thesis topic and a thesis adviser. All applications must be approved by the Peace and Conflict Studies Committee.
Applications for special majors are considered on a case-by-case basis. Students who wish to propose a special major should consult with the program coordinator and should identify a sponsoring faculty member in the early stages of developing the major.
Students must complete the special major form available from the Registrar’s Office, and submit it to the Programs Office along with an updated Sophomore Plan that explains in detail the rationale for a special major. For further guidance on proposing a special major, please visit the program’s special major information located at: www.swarthmore.edu/academics/peace-and-conflict-studies/academic-program/special-majors.xml
If you are proposing an honors special major, please also complete the Honors Program in Peace and Conflict Studies form. This form requires that you describe your proposed preparation and explain why you believe it is appropriate, and how it is central to your study of peace and conflict. If your preparation involves two one-credit components, please explain how the components work together to constitute a cohesive preparation.
Off-campus study is encouraged for both special majors and minors of peace and conflict studies. In particular, the Northern Ireland Semester, based in Derry/Londonderry and Belfast, focuses on ongoing efforts to understand the legacy of the Troubles and build peace. A unique feature of the semester involves placements in local community groups, which contribute in a variety of ways to the development of a shared and sustainable democratic future in Northern Ireland.
Swarthmore students attend this program under the College’s Semester/Year Abroad Program for one semester. One credit is awarded for community placement, one credit for a required course on peace and conflict in Northern Ireland, and two credits for peace and conflict studies courses taken in Belfast at the Irish School of Ecumenics (Trinity College). Normally, no more than three courses taken outside of Swarthmore College may be counted toward the major or minor, subject to the approval of the peace and conflict studies coordinator. In the case of the Northern Ireland semester, all four courses may be applied, subject to the approval of the peace and conflict studies coordinator. Further information is available at www.swarthmore.edu/academics/northern-ireland-program.xml.
Possibilities exist for summer research and/or service work in Northern Ireland arising from participation in the program.
Research and Service-Learning
Student programs can include an internship or fieldwork component, and an internship is highly recommended. Fieldwork and internships normally do not receive credit. However, students can earn up to one credit for special projects that are developed with an instructor and approved in advance by the Peace and Conflict Studies Committee.
Peace and conflict studies minors and honors minors are encouraged to apply for funding from the Julia and Frank Lyman Student Summer Research Fellowship, the Joanna Rudge Long ’56 Award in Conflict Resolution, the Simon Preisler Student Research and Internship award and/or the Howard G. Kurtz, Jr. and Harriet B. Kurtz Memorial Fund. Applications are due in February, and information can be obtained from the program’s website.
Additional information on funding, internships, training, and career opportunities are also available on the Peace and Conflict Studies Program website at www.swarthmore.edu/peacestudies.
Life After Swarthmore
Peace and conflict studies alumni often develop or work in organizations that promote peace and justice locally and globally. Many pursue graduate work in fields directly or closely related to peace and conflict studies. You may find a growing digest of student and alumni activities on the program’s website at www.swarthmore.edu/peacestudies.
The following courses may be applied toward a minor in peace and conflict studies. Each of the courses designated as PEAC is open to all students unless otherwise specified. In the event of an oversubscribed course, preference in enrollment will be given to declared peace and conflict studies minors. Courses that are eligible to count toward a concentration or minor in Peace, Justice, and Human Rights at Haverford College or Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice at Bryn Mawr College may also be applied toward a course minor in peace and conflict studies at Swarthmore. Student programs may, subject to prior approval by the committee, also include independent study; special attachments to courses that are not listed here; courses offered at the University of Pennsylvania; and courses taken abroad.
Courses noted with an asterisk * are eligible for a peace and conflict studies minor by obtaining written approval of the instructor and the program coordinator before the drop/add period ends. Course materials may be requested for confirmation after course completion. Course approval forms may be downloaded from the Peace and Conflict Studies Program website.
Introduction to peace and conflict studies addresses not only the proliferation of coercive and violent means of conducting conflict but especially the growth of peaceful alternatives, both institutional and grassroots, global and local. These include nonviolent collective action, diplomacy, mediation, peacekeeping, community relations work, and aid and development work. Several theoretical and philosophical lenses will be used to explore human dispositions, conflict in human societies, and conceptualizations of peace. The course will take an interdisciplinary approach with significant contributions from the social sciences.
Fall 2013. Smithey.
(Cross-listed as SOAN 040H)
Threats to security exist on many levels: environment, community, nation, human rights, and others. People naturally mobilize for defense, but often choose among a very narrow set of options. This course broadens the framework to focus on modes of nonviolent defense which have had concrete application sometimes involving millions of people, but which remain “off the radar” of most strategic analysis. Students will learn from cases of successful nonviolent defense of nations, communities, environmental resources, and human rights under threat and will research and write “forgotten cases” for publication in the Global Nonviolent Action Database, providing experience with the data of civilian resistance. They will also take an example of threat in today’s world and begin to explore how a nonviolent strategy could be devised given the circumstances. Through these activities students will gain research skills and broaden their view of the dynamics of struggle.
Fall 2013. Lakey.
Credit hours to be arranged with the coordinator.
(Cross-listed as SOAN 071B)
The focus of this research seminar is the continuing development of our web-based database which contains crucial information on campaigns for human rights, democracy, environmental sustainability, economic justice, national and ethnic identity, and peace. The Global Nonviolent Action Database serves activists and scholars worldwide. The seminar will include research/writing methods and theories of the field. Of interest will be strategic implications for today drawn both from theory as well as what the group learns from documented cases of wins and losses experienced by people’s struggles.
Spring 2014. Lakey.
Peace Studies and Action aims to bridge the gaps between peace research, theory, and implementation by encouraging students to move between each as we study nonviolent ways of conducting conflict and the challenges of developing and sustaining effective peace work. Emphasis is placed on getting close to the experience of peacemakers and activists by reading autobiographical writings, visiting local peace organizations, and/or dialogue with invited guests. As a class, we will collaborate with and contribute to the work of a local organization while developing our own research skills. Discussion over course readings and exploration of peace studies literature will also be emphasized. This course will encourage collaboration and active participation in delivering the content of the course.
Spring 2014 and spring 2015. Smithey.
Credit hours to be arranged with the coordinator.
Each semester. Staff.
Each semester. Staff.
Each semester. Staff.
ARAB 025. War in Arab Literature and Cinema
DANC 004. The Arts as Social Change
HIST 001B. Human Rights as History
HIST 001N. Oil and Empire
HIST 006B. Modern Middle East*
HIST 017. Social Movements in the Arab World
HIST 027. Living with Total War: Europe, 1912–1923
HIST 028. Nations and Nationalism in Eastern Europe: 1848–1998
HIST 034. Antisemetism Through the Ages
HIST 037. History and Memory: Perspectives on the Holocaust
HIST 049. Race and Foreign Affairs
HIST 055. Social Movements in the 20th Century*
HIST 134. U.S. Political and Diplomatic History
POLS 004. International Politics
POLS 013. Political Psychology and Moral Engagement*
POLS 019. Democratic Theory and Practice
POLS 047. Democracy, Autocracy and Regime Change
POLS 061. American Foreign Policy
POLS 067. Great Power Rivalry in the 21st Century
POLS 069. Globalization: Politics, Economics, Culture, and the Environment
POLS 075. The Causes of War
POLS 079. Comparative Politics: Revolutions
POLS 112. Democratic Theory and Civic Engagement in America
POLS 113. International Politics: War, Peace, and Security
PSYC 035. Social Psychology*
RELG 001C. Religion and Terror in an Age of Hope and Fear
RELG 005. World Religions*
RELG 023. Living in the Light: Quakers Past/Present*
RELG 028B. Religious Radicals: Religious Socialism of Martin Luther King
RELG 039. Good and Evil
RELG 100. Holy War, Martyrdom, and Suicide in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam
Sociology and Anthropology
SOCI 010J. War, Sport, and the Construction of Masculine Identity
SOCI 010T. 1968 and Origins of the New Left: Social Theory, War and Student Revolt
SOCI 025B. Transforming Intractable Conflict
SOCI 035C. Social Movements and Nonviolent Power
SOAN 040H. Security and Defense: Nonviolent Strategies
SOAN 071B. Research Seminar: Strategy and Nonviolent Struggle (W)
Please consult www.swarthmore.edu/peacestudies for updates, descriptions, and scheduling.