2016-17 catalog

Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice Studies

Students may complete a concentration in Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice Studies.

Advisory Committee

  • Alison Cook-Sather, Mary Katherine Woodworth Chair and Professor in the Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program and Director of Peace, Conflict and Social Justice
  • Jill Stauffer, Associate Professor of Philosophy & Director of Peace, Justice & Human Rights, Haverford College
  • Lee Smithey, Associate Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of Peace and Conflict Studies, Swarthmore College

The Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice Studies program reflects Bryn Mawr’s interest in the study of conflicts, peacemaking, and social justice and offers students the opportunity to design a course of study, to sustain a thematic focus across disciplinary boundaries, and to enrich their major program in the process. Students are encouraged to draw courses from the programs at Haverford and Swarthmore as well.

Students in the concentration can pursue a wide range of theoretical and substantive interests concerning questions such as: intra-state and international causes of conflict; cooperative and competitive strategies of negotiation and bargaining; intergroup relations and the role of culturally constituted institutions and practices in conflict management; social movements; protests and revolutions; the role of religion in social conflict and its mitigation; human rights and transitional justice in post conflict societies; and social justice and identity questions arising from ethnic, religious and cultural diversity and the implications of these constructions for the distribution of material and symbolic resources in society as well as the practical capacities to engage individuals and groups across constructions of difference by linking practice and theory. A list of courses student have included in their concentrations can be found here: www.brynmawr.edu/peacestudies/courseoptions.html. Below is a more general description of the concentration requirements.

Students in the concentration are encouraged to explore alternative conceptions of peace and social justice in different cultural contexts and historical moments by emphasizing the connections between the intellectual scaffolding needed to analyze the construction of social identities and the social, political and economic implications of these constructions for the distribution of material and symbolic resources within and between societies and the challenges and opportunities to engage individuals and groups to move their communities and societies towards peace and social justice.

Concentration Requirements

Students who wish to take the concentration meet with a faculty advisor by the spring of their sophomore year to develop a plan of study. All concentrators are required to take three core courses: (1) an introductory course, Introduction to Peace, Social Justice and Human Rights at Haverford or Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore; (2) a 200-level course (Conflict and Conflict Management, International Law, Politics of Humanitarianism, or Forgiveness, Mourning, and Mercy in Law and Politics), and (3) a project involving community participation and reflection by participation in bi-semester meetings, attendance at lectures/workshops, and development of a portfolio in their junior and senior years. This constellation of this second option earns students a single credit that is awarded upon the successful completion of all components.

In addition, students are required to take three courses chosen in consultation with their advisor, working out a plan that focuses this second half of their concentration regionally, conceptually or around a particular substantive problem. These courses might include international conflict and resolution; social justice, diversity and identity, ethnic conflict in general or in a specific region of the world (e.g. Southern Africa, the Middle East, Northern Ireland); a theoretical approach to the field, such as nonviolence, social justice movements, bargaining or game theory; an applied approach, such as reducing violence among youth, the arts and peacemaking, community mediation or a particular policy question such as immigration or bilingual education.

The following courses are pre-approved. To see if other courses might be counted toward the concentration, contact the program coordinator, Alison Cook-Sather, acooksat@brynmawr.edu.


ANTH B281 Language in Social Context

Studies of language in society have moved from the idea that language reflects social position/identity to the idea that language plays an active role in shaping and negotiating social position, identity, and experience. This course will explore the implications of this shift by providing an introduction to the fields of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. We will be particularly concerned with the ways in which language is implicated in the social construction of gender, race, class, and cultural/national identity. The course will develop students’ skills in the ethnographic analysis of communication through several short ethnographic projects. Prerequisite: ANTH B102, ANTH H103 or permission of instructor.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Child and Family Studies; Peace, Justice and Human Rights
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Weidman,A.
(Spring 2017)

ECON B385 Democracy and Development

From 1974 to the late 1990’s the number of democracies grew from 39 to 117. This “third wave,” the collapse of communism and developmental successes in East Asia have led some to argue the triumph of democracy and markets. Since the late 1990’s, democracy’s third wave has stalled, and some fear a reverse wave and democratic breakdowns. We will question this phenomenon through the disciplines of economics, history, political science and sociology drawing from theoretical, case study and classical literature. Prerequisites: ECON 200; ECON 253 or 304; and one course in Political Science OR Junior or Senior Standing in Political Science OR Permission of the Instructor.
Counts towards: International Studies; Peace, Justice and Human Rights
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Rock,M.
(Spring 2017)

HIST B127 Indigenous Leaders 1492-1750

Studies the experiences of indigenous men and women who exercised local authority in the systems established by European colonizers. In return for places in the colonial administrations, these leaders performed a range of tasks. At the same time they served as imperial officials, they exercised “traditional” forms of authority within their communities, often free of European presence. These figures provide a lens through which early modern colonialism is studied.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Latin American, Iberian and Latina/o Studies; Peace, Justice and Human Rights
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2016-2017)

HIST B200 The Atlantic World 1492-1800

The aim of this course is to provide an understanding of the way in which peoples, goods, and ideas from Africa, Europe. and the Americas came together to form an interconnected Atlantic World system. The course is designed to chart the manner in which an integrated system was created in the Americas in the early modern period, rather than to treat the history of the Atlantic World as nothing more than an expanded version of North American, Caribbean, or Latin American history.
Approach: Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Africana Studies; Latin American, Iberian and Latina/o Studies; International Studies; Peace, Justice and Human Rights
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2016-2017)

POLS B141 Introduction to International Politics

An introduction to international relations, exploring its main subdivisions and theoretical approaches. Phenomena and problems in world politics examined include systems of power management, imperialism, globalization, war, bargaining, and peace. Problems and institutions of international economy and international law are also addressed. This course assumes a reasonable knowledge of modern world history.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
Counts towards: International Studies; Peace, Justice and Human Rights
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Wang,Z.
(Fall 2016)

POLS B348 Culture and Ethnic Conflict

An examination of the role of culture in the origin, escalation, and settlement of ethnic conflicts. This course examines the politics of culture and how it constrains and offers opportunities for ethnic conflict and cooperation. The role of narratives, rituals, and symbols is emphasized in examining political contestation over cultural representations and expressions such as parades, holy sites, public dress, museums, monuments, and language in culturally framed ethnic conflicts from all regions of the world. Prerequisites: two courses in the social sciences.
Counts towards: Peace, Justice and Human Rights
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2016-2017)

PSYC B358 Political Psychology of Ethnic Conflict

This seminar explores the common interests of psychologists and political scientists in ethnic identification and ethnic-group conflict. Rational choice theories of conflict from political science will be compared with social psychological theories of conflict that focus more on emotion and essentializing. Each student will contribute a 200-300 word post in response to a reading or film assignment each week. Students will represent their posts in seminar discussion of readings and films. Each student will write a final paper analyzing the origins and trajectory of a case of violent ethnic conflict chosen by agreement with the instructor. Grading includes posts, participation in discussion, and the final paper. Prerequisite: PSYC B208, or PSYC B120, or PSYC B125, or one 200 level course in political science, or instructor’s permission.
Counts towards: Peace, Justice and Human Rights
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2016-2017)