Course Offerings

What inspires you?

The Program on Justice and Peace offers an undergraduate Major in the Georgetown College of Arts and Sciences; a Minor in the College, the McDonough School of Business (MSB), and the School of Nursing and Health Studies (NHS); and the School of Foreign Service (SFS). Before declaring the Major, students must take JUPS 123: Introduction to Justice and Peace ( offered every semester and online in summer) as their first course in the program. Students should talk to their advising Dean about their fields of study, and are also encouraged to arrange a meeting with the JUPS Program Directors.

Please click on the course title to view a brief description of the course.

Core Courses

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. 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. ( Offered spring, fall and online in summer).

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. ( offered spring, fall)

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. ( offered spring, fall)

Offered in the fall and summer semesters, this 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 research proposal as they move toward completion of the JUPS major. Open to JUPS minors and majors, or by permission of the instructor. ( offered spring, fall)

JUPS 303 is a requirement for majors that may be fulfilled in one of two ways. (1) Students will complete 3 JUPS module courses. They can be taken in one semester or spread out and taken separately throughout the student’s senior year. (2) The senior seminar can also be completed with students taking JUPS 303 in Spring semester of their senior year and completing a capstone paper/thesis. ( offered spring)

Fall 2020 Core Electives

‘Yeah, right’, say the skeptics: dream on, all you pacifists. But are the pacifists dreaming? This course, taught by longtime peace educator and former Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy, examines a wide range of the time-tested alternatives to violence—from military and governmental violence to domestic, sexual, and environmental violence. The course will be largely discussion-based, with all viewpoints welcomed and appreciated. Course texts include “Strength Through Peace” and –skeptics take note — “Peace Is Possible.”

Over the past few decades, there has been a substantial growth in the literature on gender and immigration. Contained within this vast body of literature are real stories of immigrant women and men that capture the diversity of experiences among immigrants and raise many questions about social justice. In this course, students will explore the intersections between gender, migration, and social justice by engaging with a variety of texts across a range of disciplines and methodologies. Readings will be drawn from disciplines include women’s and gender studies, history, sociology, justice and peace studies, theater and performance studies, and ethnic studies. Methodologies will include ethnographies, oral histories, film, narrative storytelling, and memoirs. Students will engage in a semester-long project that will require them to engage with this topic in a variety of contexts.

This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of post-conflict justice and reconciliation models including truth commissions, war crimes tribunals, reparations, and related responses to genocide, crimes against humanity, and other mass atrocities. To debate how to adequately deal with the past in newly democratizing countries, exploring the relative benefits of “forgetting” or “remembering” gross violations of human rights. Students will gain an understanding of the constraints on legal theory and practice in the context of the creation of a culture of human rights in post-conflict countries.

This course examines the expression of resistance, dissent, and protest in American literature. A primary goal of protest literature is to convey the impact of oppressive social and legal policies in hopes of prompting reform. This course will consider protest literature from the perspective of multiple marginalized or “outsider” communities, including Native Americans, minorities, veterans, immigrants, individuals with disabilities, drug addicts and prisoners. Outsider narratives create empathy and offer a vicarious experience of the impact of social and legal policies; by drawing attention to injustice, the author hopes to prompt change. Second, we will consider protest literature that concerns itself with gender, environment, and health care—challenges that affect majority as well as minority populations. Protest literature typically conveys private pain and outrage; we will see how effective protest literature seeks to awaken a broader audience to the need for change. Where relevant we will also compare our readings to film portrayals to see how fiction and film work together to communicate protest.

Fall 2020 One Credit Modules

Restorative Justice is a community-based philosophy and approach to preventing and responding to harm with roots in indigenous traditions. It involves facilitated group processes that emphasize accountability through shared understanding and repairing the harm done. It has been used successfully in many contexts, including school and juvenile justice systems. This course is intended to introduce participants to the restorative justice movement, as well as to support participants in learning and integrating key concepts, tools, and skills related to restorative justice through an experiential, interactive, and self-reflective approach. Participants will be asked to think about the role of Restorative Justice in the modern US social context, as well as in their own personal lives.

Just Peace calls us to a moral framework that invites us to see the integral relationship between justice and peace. This is particularly relevant for policy issues linked to conflict. Just peace offers a unique way of doing advocacy by challenging us to orient our initiatives by an ever-emerging vision of human flourishing. In turn, just peace provides norms such as virtues, principles, and practices to cultivate a way of being that is better enabled to develop the skills for fruitful advocacy toward just peace policies. The course is intended to introduce participants to the basic practice of just peace advocacy, as well as to support participants in learning and integrating the framework, key components, and skills. Meaningfully learning what just peace advocacy is, why it is relevant, and how to do it calls for an experiential and interactive format. In addition to intellectual exploration, participants will witness, experience, and practice alternative modes of just peace advocacy. They will also draw on their own experience to learn, apply, asses, and refine the practice of just peace advocacy. Oral, written, and experiential forms of assessment will be utilized.

This course gives students a foundational understanding of the field of community organizing, as well as local knowledge around the issues and challenges of movements for social justice in D.C. and other U.S. cities. Students will be able to learn about prominent theories, current trends in organizing and gain hands on experience by meeting with local organizers and practicing critical skills for organizing. During the 2 day course, students will articulate the skills, vision and values of community organizing and describe the main contemporary tensions within organizing. This course takes place only on Saturday Oct 3rd and Saturday Oct 10th (10.00 am-6.00 pm). It is taught by Professor Nawal Rajeh.

Summer 2020 Current Courses

Venture to a cosmopolitan city that is still emerging from decades of apartheid, and is marked by its history of legal and racial discrimination, inequality and oppression, but is all a hub for community organizations working on issues related to human rights and social justice. You will be working with community organizations and through discussions, lectures, site visits and meetings with community leaders, you will gain insight into the history of South Africa and the system of apartheid and extend this understanding to analyze the ongoing impact of past injustices on present policies and social movements. In addition to lectures and discussions led by faculty and site visits to historical places, you will be working and immersed in local cultural contexts through a placement at a community service organization where you will observe and participate in community struggles for economic, education, and social equality. ( offered every summer)

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. This course is open to all students and highly recommended for first-year students and sophomores interested in pursuing the JUPS major or minor. ( offered online every summer)

Spring 2020 Core Electives

This course explores the role of religion in both fueling conflict and in fostering peace and justice. The rise of extremism and inter-religious violence in many places has brought growing attention and concern to the role of religion in promoting conflict. Yet across contexts, religious actors also play critical roles as peace-builders, including as mediators and negotiators, peace educators, social justice advocates, and in supporting the healing and reconciliation of their communities. For many people in conflict, their religious and spiritual beliefs serve to strengthen their resilience, capacity for forgiveness, and their motivation for peace and justice. By studying this paradox of religion and the dynamic roles of religious identity, ideology, values and faith, students in this course strengthen their analysis of conflict and understanding of how to encourage more effective peace-building. Drawing on a diversity of recent and current cases across contexts and religions, this course looks at the peace-building approaches of different religious actors, including traditional institutions, interfaith networks, and religious individuals as both official and lay leaders. Particular attention will be paid to gender-inclusive religious peace-building as well as inter- and intra-faith approaches to transforming cultures of violence.

This course will examine historical and contemporary international, US, Palestinian, and Israeli efforts to resolve the conflicting issues between the Palestinian national movement and the Zionist movement/Israel over the past century. This course also will delve into the policies established and legislation enacted by the United States in relation to Israel and the Palestinian people to explore whether they have helped or hindered these efforts.

Although reports on youth and development often focus on youth involvement and motivations for violence, engagement among youth in proactive peacebuilding is increasingly a reality at the local, national, and regional levels. Such peacebuilding is often initiated by youth themselves, and is supported by local, national and international development and other organizations. This course will explore: evidence-based factors associated with youth engagement in peacebuilding; the wide range of peacebuilding activities and their demonstrated outcomes; and the roles that public and private sector organizations play in supporting and/or presenting barriers to youth engagement in peacebuilding. The course will entail interactive lectures by both youth who have been engaged in peacebuilding and others who have collaborated with youth on their peacebuilding activities and virtual participation in an international conference regarding youth and peacebuilding. Students will write two brief discussion papers; prepare a critical review of a published report on youth engagement in peacebuilding; and design a community-based project for youth engagement in peacebuilding.

This course examines the vexed interchange between humans and animals in commodity culture. We encounter animals daily, although likely we pay little attention to, or don’t recognize, these encounters Each week we will review these practices of engagement between human and non-human animals. We eat animals, we wear them. Our beauty, health and home products are tested on them. Animals perform for us and satisfy our need for intimacy, as well as novelty. Human agency and indifference removes animals from their natural lives, and displays them for a variety of human pleasures. But in what sense can we say that we own them? Western culture– and its mix of theologies generally — positions animals as subservient to humans; post-colonial rhetoric subjugates their bodies in the same discursive frame that gave Harriet Beecher Stowe the sub-title for Uncle Tom’s Cabin: “The Man Who was a Thing”. The course is specific, practical, and political: Participants will be encouraged to see how their lives daily intersect with animals in terms of the fashions we wear, the foods we eat, the places we shop, the commodities we buy and how we choose our entertainments, and the pets we “keep.” Ultimately our questions are those of ethics and justice. Students will also be responsible for practicum work with an animal-agency of their own choosing.

Spring 2020 One Credit Modules

History has shown that stories are inextricably linked to what it means to be human. Before there was formal communication, there were stories–on cave paintings, within ancient temples, and passed down verbally from every culture and generation our world has known. It should come as no surprise, then, that individuals, groups, and organizations looking to advance justice and peace should utilize storytelling as a key tool to drive influence and social action. This course will teach students how to create–and then practice telling–strategic stories that spark action in order to advance the issues they care about most. Upon course completion, students will have created a working portfolio of the key stories every change leader must know how to deliver while also reflecting upon topics like the ethics of storytelling, how storytelling will evolve in the future, and which story archetypes frame their own thinking.

Restorative Justice is a community-based philosophy and approach to preventing and responding to harm with roots in indigenous traditions. It involves facilitated group processes that emphasize accountability through shared understanding and repairing the harm done. It has been used successfully in many contexts, including school and juvenile justice systems. This course is intended to introduce participants to the restorative justice movement, as well as to support participants in learning and integrating key concepts, tools, and skills related to restorative justice through an experiential, interactive, and self-reflective approach. Participants will be asked to think about the role of Restorative Justice in the modern US social context, as well as in their own personal lives.

Recent years have seen more recognition of the impact of interpersonal violence on our culture and communities than ever before. This course will explore models of understanding interpersonal violence, media portrayals of interpersonal violence, the shortcomings of current approaches, and the tools we have to make change on both the local and national levels. Together, we will consider what and whose narratives of survivorship we encounter most often, and generate more inclusive policy and resources. We will hear from professionals working in varied capacities in the field of interpersonal violence response and prevention, both from Georgetown and the DC community. Class sessions will discuss how we can translate the theory from readings into the day-to-day of prevention work, and equip students with the practical ability to facilitate change in their communities.

Current JUPS Cross-Listed Courses

This course examines public opinion, traditional political participation, and the political philosophy of race. We will engage ideas dealing with racial formation, the study of race relationally, and exploring the difficulties of governing amidst diverse constituencies.

This course will center on the writings of Coates, especially his important and influential essays in the Atlantic. As a public intellectual, Coates has used the power of his pen to advance a number of issues essential to African Americans, including reparations, politics, and mass incarcerations. We will examine the nature and effectiveness of his writerly activism as we learn from the public histories he proffers.

Global Displacement in a Hostile Time. This community-based research seminar on migration combines anthropology and principles of activist research. With 65 million people forcibly displaced, and over 244 million more migrants living abroad worldwide, migration in its various forms is one of the most pressing human rights issues today. As an anthropology class, we will read about the lived experience of migration spotlighting the distinctions and commonalities between migrants, refugees, asylees, and trafficked persons. And as members of a 4-credit community-based research class, students will conduct field research and create advocacy opportunities on behalf of migrants in the Metropolitan D.C. area. In this way, you will learn from the communities around you while contributing in ways that they identify

Did you know that a mere few miles from GU, sunken ghost ships of WWI eerily crest a rivers surface at low tide and a kayak will ferry you there to cavort with the herons, the eagles, and your own vision of a war fought 100 years ago? The somberly sonorous voice of Yeats in his 1920 The Second Coming perhaps most wondrously confronts both the horror of WWI, the brute itself, and the ensuing madness unleashed upon a new century perceiving its ideals lost but not gone: Turning and turning in the widening gyre. . . Things fall apart. . . The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere [t]he ceremony of innocence is drowned. . . And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, [s]louches toward Bethelehem to be born? Modernisms vision ghosts the wars bitter but resilient afterbirth, offering us a battlefield strewn with individual suffering and resurrection beside the mass shame and redemption. And we, the 2020 readers in English 168, enter the surreal fray begun in 1914 of chivalric courage that becomes the sacrificial charge to rescue friend and the barbaric attack to defeat foe. This course invites its participants to read a medley of perspectives and genres of WWI literature in order to ask how and why this war both reflected and catapulted change in the ways we understand and value life, provoking such questions as where is our present or immediate identity, both individual and collective, in light of this wars influence? How did this particular war cause chivalry to give way to the monstrous? What happens to perception when the beautifully strong becomes the grotesque freak? Did we land in the abyss of the Great Wars aftermath because we leapt from Edwardian extravagance or Victorian hubris or even complacency? Why did this world experience (the Great War and its effects), which destroyed the lives of so many, also propel liberation for women? How and to what effect did its technological advances even with humanitarian aims – participate in moral degradation? Why did so many artists respond NOT with anger or grief but instead with cynical detachment did they reflect the sympathies of the masses or were they a movement unto themselves? And given the unique (Heroic? Showy? Game-Changing?) role of the U.S. in this war, how has our own nations history in global fighting been shaped by this war? How does the Great Wars Art of its own time and of our time provoke us to re-view this war and our role within it as well as on its borders? Isnt it intriguing to consider that the language of the performing arts, such as theatre (a space of entertaining audiences and perspectives), resounds in identifying battlegrounds, often referenced as theatres of war, and the medical operating room, often marked as the surgical theatre? How were entertainment halls theatres sites of recruiting soldiers as were propagandist posters appealing to womens power, the value of family, and an individuals right and responsibility to enact moral duty? Participants will complete two short papers reflecting on our course readings, and one longer argumentative research paper embracing both course texts/discoveries and your own primary research, come to each class prepared to interact in critical thinking responses to texts and their ideas, and collaborate with colleagues to prepare a panel (see topics below on course calendar). Last, but not least, we will visit the new memorial in DCs Pershing Park, The Weight of Sacrifice, personally led through its spaces and art by its amazing architect, Joe Weishaar.

This section will be taught by Mimi Khc The Body Perfect and Imperfect: Disability Studies through Stories, Law, and Social Policy This course explores disability from an interdisciplinary perspective: literature, first-person accounts, public policy advocacy, and the basic legal framework. Texts include short stories, personal narratives by individuals who have disabilities or by their family members, and articles by disability rights activists. We integrate film study with our readings to critically examine how pop culture represents, and misrepresents, disability and bodily difference. We will watch and discuss classic film productions of “”The Christmas Carol”” and “”The Glass Menagerie,”” as well as clips from recent episodes of “”Glee”” and “”House.”” We begin the course with a cluster of related topics: What is Disability? Why do definitions matter? How is disability socially constructed? We explore challenges for individuals with autism spectrum disorder, psychiatric disorders and PTSD, deafness and/or blindness. We also consider the intersection between disability and aging, focusing on Alzheimers as an example. We examine the advocacy efforts by parents of children with disabilities as they seek to access resources to meet their childrens needs. We consider the difficult policy choices that arise in health care allocation, educational opportunities, and social services in view of budget constraints.

This class will provide an introduction to the craft of fiction writing. Using short stories and prose excerpts by various writers as models, this course will show you how to create fiction for the purpose of social action. You need not be an experienced fiction writer in order to take this course; you need only be excited by the opportunity to advocate for a cause through thoughtful and intentional storytelling. You will write a brief (2-3 pages) response paper for each of 8-10 assigned readings, examining how these artists identify and address injustice in their work. You will also complete a few writing exercises to practice technique and approach. The primary goal of the course, however, will be for each student to produce, through extensive drafts, one solid, 20-page piece of short fiction that takes a position on a public issue.

To queer means to spoil or ruinat least according to most dictionaries. To queer theorists, it means to analyze, contest, or subvert the power of the normal. Queer Theory, Queer Cinema will begin by reading canonical texts of queer theory, essays and book chapters that collectively established a zone of inquiry around anti-normative sexual acts and identities, including but not limited to LGBTQIA affiliation. Using films to jumpstart our conversations, well explore how queer theory destabilizes and challenges traditional and restrictive ideas about sexuality and gender. But writing is only one way in which people think, and the second half of this course will shift the balance from theory-with-film to film-as-theory. While well continue to read writers who can help us understand film better, well examine queer filmmaking as a way of staking arguments about this world and imagining other worlds. Writers well engage include Gayle Rubin, Jos Muoz, Adrienne Rich, E. Patrick Johnson, and Susan Stryker, who will help us consider concepts like sexual politics, disidentification, compulsory heterosexuality, intersectional and queer of color critique, and trans knowledges. Films well watch include Tongues Untied, Scorpio Rising, Funeral Parade of Roses, Dyketactics, and A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantstica). If these names arent familiar to you already, dont worry. Our goal in this course is to familiarize ourselves with the ways that queer theory and queer cinema can change our lives!

ENST 350-01 and WGST 350-01 are cross-listed. Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors only.

Students must have taken one of the pre-requisites or receive permission of the instructor.

Everywhere we witness greater tensions and confrontations between religions and the secular principles of the international system. This course will address the following questions: Has secular nationalism failed? Why is religion seen as a legitimate alternative form of politics nationally and internationally? Is there a proclivity to violence from religious extremists? This course will assess the influence of religion on political violence at both the domestic and international level by looking at the theories of war in Islam and Christianity and their resonance with current conflicts in Iraq, Syria, sub Saharian `Africa and South East Asia. Each session will present the evolution of theological positions in different political contexts as well as the ways secular conflicts tend to become sacralized. It will analyze the multifaceted calls to Jihad from Hezbollah or Hamas to ISIS. It will compare religious revolution and religious nationalisms from a Christian and Muslim perspectives. No specific knowledge of Arabic or Islam will be required. Information on the Islamic religion will be provided in class.

Enrollment in this course is by permission of instructor

The Atomic Age refers to the era of human history that began with the detonation of the first atomic bomb weapon in 1945 and is still with us today. Early on the era shaped a generation trained in the art of civil defense, spawned a culture now regarded as kitsch, and reconfigured the globe according to who possessed nuclear weapons, nuclear know-how, nuclear materials, nuclear energy, and nuclear radiation. The course will begin with the Manhattan Project and the detonation of the first atomic weapons over Japan. It will then turn to the multifarious dimensions of the culture of the Atomic Age.

This listening-intensive course looks at music as a component of cultural identities and collisions through the dual lens of ethnomusicology (anthropology of music) and world music (a popcultural/journalistic/marketing view). The syntheses that arise from the interactions of the dominant Western culture with its others are politically charged as much as they may be musically potent, and are increasingly dependent upon globalization and technology for their creation and dissemination. Case studies will examine the dynamics of different forms of cultural interaction over the past couple of centuries, from Cold War nationalism in the Bulgarian Radio Choir to the impact of the Chernobyl meltdown on the underground rock scene of the Belarusan intelligentsia; from the meteoric rise (and fall) of Anglo-Indian pop of the 1990s to the complex multi-ethnic mix that has driven flamenco across a millennium from Moorish Andaluca to the art-school scene of Barcelona of the 2000s. Other subjects include Javanese gamelan and its confluences with Western art music, South African township jive echoing the arc of apartheid, the alliance of dance forms with nationalism in 20th century South America, the colonial and diasporic sources of the Riverdance phenomenon, and the multiple Francophone audiences of Cajun-American rocker Zachary Richard. Fulfills HALC requirement. X-List: Justice and Peace Studies, Sociology.

Sociology Core Topics Course: This course has three complementary parts. Students begin with an overview of the U.S. justice system. We pay special attention to the last 35 years and the impact of the War on Drugs on society, especially mass incarceration. Using the sociological theory of dramaturgy, students have the opportunity to make it real through mock trials. Playing the roles of attorneys and witnesses, students learn the mechanics of a trial and create legal strategies to best represent their clients. It all comes together when students enact the trials in courtrooms at Georgetown Law with legal professionals serving as judges. The last third of the course focuses on Hot Topics in the law. Students will read landmark Supreme Court cases on such topics as, gun ownership, climate change, campaign finance, immigration, and the criminalization of poverty. Students choose one topic they will be an expert in and, in small groups, create an informative website and accompanying short video or performance informing their peers why they need to know about the issue and what they can do about it.

Sociology Core Lecture course. The emphasis of this course is on the sociological understanding of the origin and operation of criminal law and criminal justice. The course is divided into three parts: a review of theoretical perspectives; the application of theories to case studies; and an examination of the contemporary administration of criminal justice with particular attention to the police handling of domestic assault and the relationship to the black community, as well as, the criminal justice system’s handling of sexual assault between acquaintances. A field trip to a local court will be arranged. In addition, students are encouraged to contact local police departments to arrange rides with the police.

The course will apply the theological method of Bernard Lonergan, S.J. to four phases of the African-American struggle in order to discern and describe the transcendent presence of God. We will examine how, when, and where God shows up in the experience of African-Americans. We will look at four periods: (1) Contemporary Black Culture, (2) The Civil Rights Movement (including readings from James Baldwin, Dr. King and Malcolm X), (3) Reconstruction and Turn of the Century, and (4) Slavery. We will understand the theological method of Lonergan and apply it to these four phases of the struggle in an effort to understand faith, and its impact on the struggle of African-Americans and other marginalized communities. Lonergan’s notions of cognition, history, dialectic, doctrine, conversion, and bias will be treated.

How do we become courageous but not reckless? Maintain hope in a world full of despair? Discover how discourse, habits and Christian virtues sustain courage, hope and justice in its religious, psychological and social dimensions. We will explore physical, moral, and spiritual courage, hope, and justice through the lives of individuals, such as Colin Kaepernick, and communities, such as the protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We will look at how courage and hope manifest in everyday lifein addiction, in financial stress, playgrounds and context of a warming planet. While there is an emphasis on Christian ethics, readings and discussion are not limited to Christian approaches. This course is a Community Based Learning course through which students partake in 20 hours of work over the course of the semester with local community organizations as part of regular course work. Partnering opportunities include working with after school programming, people experiencing homelessness, or through existing CSJ programs. Transportation costs are covered. Questions? Please email Kerry.Danner@georgetown.edu

ENST 350-01 and WGST 350-01 are cross-listed. No first year students, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors only.

Past Elective Courses 

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).

Recent years have seen more recognition of the impact of interpersonal violence on our culture and communities than ever before. This course will explore models of understanding interpersonal violence, media portrayals of interpersonal violence, the shortcomings of current approaches, and the tools we have to make change on both the local and national levels. Together, we will consider what and whose narratives of survivorship we encounter most often, and generate more inclusive policy and resources. We will hear from professionals working in varied capacities in the field of interpersonal violence response and prevention, both from Georgetown and the DC community. Class sessions will discuss how we can translate the theory from readings into the day-to-day of prevention work, and equip students with the practical ability to facilitate change in their communities.

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.

How do societies remember the past in the aftermath of historical injustices, genocide, war or periods of mass violence? Should they confront or forget the legacies of the past? In remembering, should there be focus on unraveling the truth or pursuing justice? What are the social, moral and political implications of each? In what way can shaping and ownership of a nation’s memory be considered a crucial tool of political power? What specific role do museums, commemorative practices, history text books and calendars play in memory making and state sponsored representations of the past? In this class students consider the complex challenges at different levels in addressing historical injustices. We begin with history, struggles, cases, social movements and ideas that later on led to the advancement in the broader field of transitional justice from an interdisciplinary perspectives. Taking a comparative approach we consider the diverse pathways in moving toward reconciliation from amnesties, forgiveness, truth commissions, memorials, apologizing, and trials. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

War, armed conflict, famine, violation of human rights and forced migration have direct consequences on the lives and livelihood of people. Humanitarian action as a philosophy and practice has emerged as a new moral imperative to respond to such crisis in a timely manner to alleviate suffering. But what does helping others mean? How does our understanding of humanity and our relationships in what we consider as a community affect the notion of “humanitarianism”? Is aiding others a responsibility or an act of charity? What are the challenges and ethics of this practice? We start with history and key ethical and policy debates underpinning the emergence of humanitarianism from multidisciplinary perspectives. We explore the root causes that lead to the breakdown of societies and the network of local, national and international aid actors involved. Using multiple case studies including current issues such as military intervention, hunger, poverty alleviation, refugee education and health crisis we broaden our scope and understanding of the potentials of incorporating justice in humanitarian action.

The wealth gap in the contemporary United States, as in other developed nations, is vast, unprecedented, and growing—making it clear that economic inequality is a major social justice issue of our time. This class starts by examining some major recent grassroots responses to economic inequality—Occupy Wall Street and the broader Occupy Movement; the Solidarity Economy Movement; the Poor People’s Campaign—as windows onto discourses and practices of the multi-faceted economic justice movement in the contemporary US. We will then situate recent events in in the long history of people’s movements for economic justice, looking back at important milestones in that history (e.g., abolitionism, the beginnings of the labor movement, and first wave feminism in the mid-nineteenth century; the Populist movement of the 1890s and Progressive-era labor reform; the fight to establish of the New Deal welfare state; the Civil Rights Movement and the War on Poverty of the 1960s; the second-wave feminist movement of the 1970s); we will also examine neoliberalism and globalization as the context for our current situation. Along the way we will address various ideologies and political and cultural traditions (the idea of the “commons” and a “moral economy”; humanitarianism and human rights; various theological traditions (e.g., Jewish ethical traditions, especially tikkun olam (healing the world) and Catholic liberation theology); communitarianism and principles of distributive justice; socialism and communism) that have inspired, anchored and legitimated the pursuit of economic justice. Finally, throughout the course, we will pay special attention to the role of cultural productions—specifically, literature, film, and music–in publicizing forms of economic inequality, class exploitation, and “economic violence,” in imagining more just worlds, and in mobilizing individuals and communities in pursuit of social change.

This seminar introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of peace education from both theoretical and applied/practical perspectives. The course content and processes will explore a range of conceptual, analytical, and praxis-oriented perspectives and encourage students to reflect on the possibilities and challenges of educating for peace in a world of complex and escalating conflicts and violence. It provides an overview of the history, central concepts, scholarship, and practices within the field, with a particular focus on case-studies of peace education in practice worldwide. Additional focal points include the role of culture, ethnicity, gender, intergenerational relations and religious affiliation on peace education dynamics and non-violent conflict resolution processes. Given the pedagogical focus of peace education, this course requires the active and thoughtful participation of all class members. Seminar-style discussions, lectures, guest presentations and practical exercises constitute the bulk of the course’s structure, supplemented with occasional videos and guest speakers.

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.

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.

This seminar course will examine the complex relations between humans and animals. We encounter animals daily, although likely we pay little attention to – or don’t recognize – these encounters. That is, we eat animals, we wear them, we cutify them. Beauty, health, and home products are tested on them. Animals perform for us and satisfy our need for intimacy, as well as novelty. Western culture positions animals as subservient to humans, and postcolonial rhetoric often subjugates their bodies as “things” or commodities. This course considers the implications of these issues through specific, practical, and political inquiries. Students will be encouraged to see how their lives daily intersect with animals in terms of the fashions they wear, the places they shop, the commodities they buy and how they choose to entertain themselves, and the pets they “keep.” Ultimately our questions are those of ethics and justice. Are animals ours? In what sense can we say that we “own” them? What are our moral obligations – as individuals, as a culture, as a species – to the animals with whom we coexist? Course units will include weekly readings, derived from ancient as well as contemporary media and texts. We will view documentary and video work, and consider advocacy and legal texts. Students potentially will be engaged in practicum work with an animal welfare agency as well. Work will be conducted individually as well as in groups, with a capstone presentation expected upon completion of the course.

There is a preponderance of evidence that our global system of militarized security does not lead to a stable or positive peace. More often than not, the militarized approach entangles us in a vicious cycle of violence, fostering insecurity from the local to the global. If this system doesn’t work, then what new system(s) might and must emerge? This seminar style course will explore the “software” and the “hardware” of an alternative system: a system in which peace is pursued by peaceful means. In exploring the “software,” we will ask what truly makes us secure? What are the moral, social, political, philosophical, ecological and pragmatic foundations of a culture of peace? In exploring the “hardware” we will examine and assess alternative, nonviolent approaches to security that are being modeled and employed by civil society, governments and the United Nations. We will inquire about the possibilities for humane global governance, the effectiveness of international law, and will give special attention to civil society efforts. We will also vision, imagine and design new approaches and systems to address the gaps in current security thinking. The seminar will culminate in the design of an alternative system, including proposals for the actions and strategies that might be pursued to facilitate the transition.

In recent years we’ve seen a technological explosion that has reformulated every aspect of human life, from healthcare and commerce to education and entertainment. Half a century ago, Martin Luther King Jr. reflected on the potential for technology to eclipse our sense of humanity: “We have to face the fact that modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit, which stands in glaring contrast to his scientific and technological abundance. We’ve learned to fly the air like birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.” As King inferred, scientific progress could give the illusion that equivalent gains had been made in the social, cultural, and political realms, thus rendering the realization of justice even more elusive. When such concerns are expressed, one may hear the retort that it’s “just technology” in the sense that any ethical concerns are dependent upon what we do with it. Yet what if we took this notion and inquired what “just technology” would look like in practice, if it was produced, consumed and utilized with justice infused throughout the chain? How might values of access, mobility, collaboration, and equity transect the aims of technology and justice? How are movements for justice using technology, and how are they regulated with it? In this seminar, we will engage these queries through an array of texts, events, guest speakers, workshop opportunities, and experiential activities for mapping the ethical implications of our interactions with technology. The aim is to deeply interrogate core issues of justice embedded within modern technology. 

Consortium Courses 

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.