October 31, 2013 at 8:52 am

Conflict and Cooperation: A War and Peace Thematic Track

College of Arts & Sciences faculty are tackling the challenges of the 21st century by building interdisciplinary and team-taught courses around a new set of curricular themes.

The War and Peace Studies Curriculum Committee is working on the theme “Conflict and Cooperation.” The committee has developed a list of optional courses as well as a list of the courses already approved for this theme. And they are providing a description of the criteria for getting a course included.

Thematic Track in War and Peace Studies

The theme “Conflict and Cooperation” requires students to take one of five introductory courses—either INST 1700: Peace-making and conflict resolution, specially designated POLS or 1500, 1600, HIST 1220 or ENG 1600. Then students are to take two courses each from the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities. They will finish this theme by taking either an approved Tier III course or a capstone course developed especially for WPS. The result will be that they will have completed most of their distribution requirements and that they will only need to take two more courses to receive a War and Peace Studies Certificate.

Criteria for Courses

The War and Peace Studies program explores the many facets of both organized violence between political groups (war) and of societal tranquility, justice, and well-being (peace); two sides of a coin, neither of which can be understood without its other. This specific focus on war and peace is intrinsically connected to broader social conditions of conflict and cooperation. These broader patterns of human activity are those that in particular contexts give rise to either devastating instances of war or the kinds of enriching periods of calm that we call peace. Thus, courses from across the Humanities and Social and Natural Sciences that centrally deal with issues of cooperation and conflict—issues of human struggle and antagonism and /or issues of human association and common effort, respectively—make up the thematic track developed by War and Peace Studies. To be included, courses must not only deal with an instance or instances of conflict and/or cooperation—for nearly any human activity might be categorized as part of one or the other—but will spend some effort to connect their concrete subject matter to our understanding of how conflicts and cooperative endeavors function generally, what they mean for humankind given the specific subject under investigation, and how we might choose to act as agents of the future in light of such issues.

For more information, contact Dr. David Curp, Associate Professor of History, at,  and Dr. Benjamin Banta, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at


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