Please click on the course title to view a brief description of the course.
JUPS 123: Introduction to Justice and Peace
This gateway course surveys the histories, theories, concepts, actors, and pedagogies that compose the growing transdisciplinary field of justice and peace studies. We will familiarize ourselves with current issues in the field, as well as the movements and structures that both contribute to and provide obstacles to the creation and sustainability of a more just and peaceful world. The course presents a wide range of theoretical and practical perspectives on peace and social justice, including: poverty, hunger, and homelessness; racism, sexism, and homophobia; violence, oppression, slavery, and colonization; and complex issues of sustainable development and humanitarian aid. Through historical and contemporary analyses, the course addresses critical issues of militarism, inequality, and injustice, emphasizing the development of viable alternatives. Enrolled students will have the option of adding a community-based learning (CBL) component. This course is highly recommended for first-year students and sophomores interested in pursuing the JUPS major or minor. As an introductory course, it requires permission for seniors.
JUPS 202: Nonviolence in Theory and Practice
This foundational seminar is taught each fall and spring semester; it is designed to introduce students to a perspective on nonviolence that integrates theory and practice, drawing upon a wide range of literature and examples. A central aim of the course is to develop a holistic view of nonviolence as a set of practices that range from the personal and local to the national and global. The course seeks to foster an experiential engagement with the tenets of nonviolence, through participation in workshops, activities, and projects in the community and region. The overarching objective is to develop a systematic analysis of nonviolence in order to cultivate effective approaches to addressing contemporary challenges in society through nonviolent means, as well as envisioning and animating a world built on the tenets of nonviolence.
JUPS 271: Conflict Transformation
This course offers a thorough grounding of Conflict Transformation as a philosophical orientation, practical approach, and theoretical framework, as well as an analysis of its recent developments. The course strives to “transform” our understanding of three major aspects of conflict: 1) what we think about conflict; 2) how we think about conflict; and 3) how we engage in conflict. Students focus their learning on various contexts as contested spaces for social change and transformation regarding issues of violence, oppression, injustice, development, and difference. Particular emphasis is placed on the work and philosophies of John Burton, John Paul Lederach, Johan Galtung, and Paulo Freire, with a grounding in Conflict Transformation’s foundation of ‘peace by peaceful means’. Drawing on Lederach’s idea that Conflict Transformation is a way of “looking and seeing” conflicts, the course explores the deep culture and structure (Galtung) of conflicts in different settings, and identifies approaches to positive and sustainable change through a social justice lens.
JUPS 299: Research Methods in Justice and Peace
Offered in the fall and summer semesters, this community-based learning (CBL) course explores the theories, practices, and ethics unique to research methodologies in the JUPS field. The course examines both qualitative and quantitative research frameworks including: participatory action research, feminist research methods, ethnographic methodologies, community-based research, ethnomethodologies, phenomenology, and participant observation. Students gain knowledge and experience with various techniques appropriate to inquiries in peace studies and social justice, such as active interviewing, working in fragile contexts and conflict settings, considering context, constructing meaningful surveys, identifying cases appropriate for study, and utilizing research as a tool for social change. The course considers the ethical issues involved with such research, from informed consent and IRB concerns to “ownership” of data and responsible use of research results. Through theoretical and practical engagement, students acquire the research skills necessary for developing a thesis proposal as they move toward completion of the JUPS major. Open to JUPS minors and majors, or by permission of the instructor.
JUPS 303: SENIOR SEMINAR
This required senior seminar is a three-credit capstone course taken in the fall of the senior year that prepares students to write a major paper in close collaboration with a faculty mentor. The thesis is completed over the course of the senior academic year and the grade is awarded retroactively in the spring once the thesis is completed. There are several fundamental and mutually supportive goals for this course: •Work collaboratively as a Justice and Peace cohort for the goal of each student to successfully complete a thesis for completion of the major, through a healthy process. •Hone analytical, writing, presentation, and research skills as justice and peace junior scholars. •Ensure that each thesis is researched and written in ways that further the pursuit of more just and peaceful living, starting with our own. •Create and follow a structured, viable thesis plan agreed upon by the advisor, student, and professor. •Work individually and in small peer groups to create artifacts and revise drafts to achieve clear and direct text. •Dialogue about ethical issues regarding thesis writing, research, and presentation including plagiarism, intellectual property, research ethics, and public responsibility. •Communicate/present the thesis or parts thereof. •Explore how to keep the thesis alive beyond graduation and support one another through the senior year.
Electives and Concentration Courses
JUPS 224: Labor/Sexuality/Human Rights
This course explores the junctures of globalized labor, national "development," and the "postcolonial" world system by exploring the concepts of labor, sexuality, and bodies. When and how do we become "workers"? How do we imagine and represent sexualities and bodies in the contexts of national developments and policy making procedures? How do third world workers negotiate their agency from the positionality of the "subaltern"? We will read and discuss literary and cultural texts, fact-finding documents, and theoretical investigations so that the more rigorously historicized concepts of labor, sexuality, and globalization enhance our understanding of social justice, equality, and violence prevention. This is a student-centered, process-oriented seminar in which students work individually and in groups to prepare written and oral reports and critiques. Each student is asked to make two oral presentations and to write a short essay (3-5 pages) and a longer term paper (8-10 pages).
JUPS 260: Violence/Gender/Human Rights
Anyone entering the thickets of argument relating to violence, gender, and human rights today has to contend with the range and variety of meanings that these concepts have accrued in current usage. While there is broad consensus that there does exist a contemporary crisis around global violence, how the relationships between globalization and human rights violations, and between violence against women and redefinition of human rights, are to be interpreted, and what is to be done about it, are matters of vigorous intellectual and political debate. This class aims to explore the gendered manifestations of violence in public and private spheres within the context of the more general relationship among globalization, development, and human/civil/citizen rights. We will pay attention to banal violence (that is, daily and “mundane" violence in everyday life), spectacular violence at moments of crisis, and the type of violence that blurs the boundary between the two. Special emphases will be given to the issues of racism, sexual exploitation, poverty, labor, health care, heterosexism, homophobia, militarism, and globalization.
JUPS 400: SUSTAINING ACTIVISM
This is a course designed to help students who are already engaged in activism in college think through how this might productively fit into the rest of their lives. It is common among those who are active in college to become less so later in life. All sorts of things get in the way – children, career, hobbies, health issues, changing social networks, exhaustion and burnout, etc. Now of course one might consciously choose to do less activist work later in life, and it is not part of this course to tell you what you ought to do. But in many cases the drop-off is not a conscious choice. Indeed, it is frequently something that arises despite one’s intention to maintain activism as a part of life. On a more theoretical level, the long-term activist (radical, oppositional figure) fills an unusual place in society. They are at once living in that society, and at the same time, by virtue of their chosen path, not a part. They can be assimilated neither to the external force, nor to the unproblematic participant. How such a role in society plays out in concrete practice is the central issue we aim to explore in this class. The course will offer lots of different models of ways that people keep their commitment to grassroots political engagement with issues of social justice over the long-haul. Most weeks we will have a guest come to class – someone who has built a life at least partly structured around their commitments. They will give you a bit of a bio, and then you will interview them. We will also do some reading about other examples, as well as work through some theoretical reflections on how to live as a social activist in a society like ours. You will write a number of reflection exercises designed to think through what this all means for you, as well as two more substantive papers.
JUPS 401: STRENGTHENING PROTECTION FOR VULNERABLE POPULATIONS
In this course we will use a multidisciplinary approach and examine the “social” of psychosocial theories and practice as they relate to developing environments or countries engaged in political transition. Emphasis will be placed on how approaches in health, education and psychology may reciprocally influence one another and the potential to integrate these areas in crisis, transition, and development programs. These programs are aimed at interrupting oppression, promoting psychosocial support for vulnerable populations, and enhancing the quality of teaching and learning environments in order to address well-being with a focus on children and youth. This course will utilize the education domain as a primary entry point to explore effective approaches to enhancing well-being, protection and peacebuilding.
JUPS 402: Critical perspectives on political violence
The discourse and study of terrorism is based around a strict interpretation of good versus evil, legitimate versus illegitimate, majority over minority, and government versus radical socio-political movements. Through a lens carefully crafted by State and corporate interests, violent acts are often explained as ‘insane, senseless acts of extremism’ – explanations that are devoid of context, political analysis, or personal history. In this course, students will explore why individual actors and movements carry out acts of political violence. Instead of only reading academic and government agency explanations, students will explore the narratives offered by the ‘terrorists’ themselves. The aim of the course is to understand non-State actors from a variety of perspectives including academic, popular media, political theory, and so-called ‘insider accounts’ of radical movements. While we will cover the key texts of terrorism studies, we will draw mainly from primary source documents penned by terrorists, insurgents, revolutionaries, and a variety of militants. Though the course will cover the methods and strategies of al-Qaeda, Hamas and other contemporary newsmakers, it will focus on first-hand accounts from revolutionary leftists, animal liberationists, ‘eco-terrorists,’ Christian militants, right wing anti-government militiamen, and all those in between.
JUPS 403: Literature, Media and Social Change
This course provides a critical introduction to the topic of Literature, Media and Social Change. We will focus on great books and media events that changed the world. We will examine how these books and media events precipitate actual social movements beyond the sphere of private reading. We will adopt a critical methodology derived from Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation, as practiced by Lederach, Galtung, Freire, Boulding and others, and place that tradition in perspective with complementary social movements such as Marxism, feminism, civil rights, sexual equality and national independence. What is the role of literature in social change? How can cultural representations influence real political struggles? Special focus will be on contemporary media practices and the changing face of the current media environment. Texts will include literature, theory, economics, film, critical media studies.
JUPS 404: Education, Peace, and Conflict
UNESCO’s recent Education for All Global Monitoring Report, “The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education,” reported that of the 67 million primary school age children not enrolled in 2008, 28 million of those lived in conflict-affected countries. Education is protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet these youth are denied access to and enrollment in school as a result of civil war and violent conflict. Beyond schooling, conflict also interrupts indigenous, informal, and intangible ways of knowing and traditions of transmitting local peace and other knowledge among all members of a society. Educators, ministry officials, and funders working to support educational endeavors as a life-sustaining component of the humanitarian response in crisis-affected countries and reconstruction contexts encounter interrelated challenges that are deeply entrenched in the local political and socio-economic realities. This course examines the role of education along the following spectrums: promoting to diffusing violence; exacerbating to resolving conflict; and thwarting to sustaining peace. Together we will investigate the most pressing challenges facing students, teachers, donors, international and local NGOs, governments, civil society, and competing power factions. A significant portion of this course will be devoted to laying the theoretical foundations of peace education given its central problematic of violence. For this course, “peace education” is understood as simultaneously education about and for peace. We will analyze real examples of formal and informal peace education initiatives in the context of their particular conflicts, assess the factors contributing to or hindering their efficacy, and propose interventions for project or program improvement, sustainability, monitoring, and evaluation in light of conflict resolution. Students will receive training on practical tools that will help them to develop peace education curriculum and projects with relevance to their area of interest. Through this course, we will question assumptions about security and violence, in order to consider the consequences of educating people for a more secure and peaceful world.
JUPS 409: ENVIRONMENTAL PEACEBUILDING
In a globalized and networked world, the linkages between social and environmental issues are becoming increasingly evident. From climate change and sustainability to resources and economics, scholars and practitioners have been bridging the divide between society and ecology. This connection has yielded an emerging perspective suggesting that environmental issues need not be a source of conflict, but rather can offer a basis for promoting peace. Environmental Peacebuilding is at the forefront of this transition, constituting both the ecological realm of peace and the peacemaking potential of ecology. In this course, we will explore this integrative paradigm in terms of its history, its present relevance in concrete settings, and its potential for transforming the future.
JUPS 410: Immigration and Social Justice
This course will examine the history, policies, and social forces that have shaped migration to the United States, focusing in particular on the post-1960s period. We will discuss global patterns of movement, migrants' rights, and the sociopolitical and economic factors that contribute to the movement of people. We will review the history of U.S. immigration policy, responses to past and current waves of migration, and immigrant integration. Given the contentiousness of the issue of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., we will focus on understanding the social and legal construction of one's immigration status, federal and local efforts to control unauthorized migration, and the immigration reform debate. The second half of the course will be spent exploring the life experiences of undocumented immigrants in the areas of education, health, housing, and employment. We will also discuss the DC-immigrant community, including the challenges they face and efforts to assist them by faith-based and community-based organizations. Class discussions will be based on guest speaker presentations, documentary films, and assigned readings, including books, research articles, reports, ethnographies, and testimonies.
The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, includes: American University, Catholic University of America, Gallaudet University, George Mason University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Howard University, Joint Military Intelligence College, Marymount University, National Defense University, Southeastern University, Trinity University, University of the District of Columbia, and the University of Maryland-College Park.
Consortium enrollment is available on a space-available basis to degree-program students currently enrolled in a Consortium member school visiting another member school. For Links to Consortium standard Cross-Registration rules and procedures, Consortium schools' class schedules and academic calendars, plus standing list of courses excluded from Consortium registration, see the Consortium website.
See our listing of DC-area Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies higher education programs under the Resources tab.