University Bulletin 2002-03
An interdepartmental program
Peace and Conflict Studies

Courses of Study:

Program website:


Since the end of World War II, peace and conflict studies (PAX) has emerged as an interdisciplinary area of inquiry drawing on social science, the humanities, the creative arts, and science in efforts to understand reasons for war and possible ways of resolving conflicts without resorting to violence. In the last few years, for many people the primary focus of inquiry is shifting from the Cold War and the nuclear threat to conflict resolution in small and large contexts. Along with the larger goal of ending war altogether, the Brandeis program reflects this tendency.

This is a time to examine the many meanings of "security," to investigate the nature of power and political participation and to develop ideas and ways of addressing conflicts that honor the integrity of all parties involved. This is a time, in other words, to learn alternatives to violence and a time to learn the ways of disarmament and ending of war.

How to Become a Program Member (Minor)

Students who wish to take peace and conflict studies as a minor in addition to their major can construct an individually tailored minor in consultation with program advisors on the Peace and Conflict Studies Committee.


Gordon Fellman, Chair

Silvia Arrom
(Latin American Studies)

Seyom Brown

Steven Burg

Cynthia Cohen
(International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life)

David Cunningham

Reuven Kimelman
(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Robert Lange

Richard Parmentier

John Schrecker

Silvan Schweber

Andreas Teuber

Dessima Williams


Requirements for the Minor

Students are to take six required courses, configured this way:

A. Two core requirements (comprehensive course or project).

1. SOC 119a (War and Possibilities of Peace).

2. Either PAX 92a/b (Internship in Peace and Conflict Studies) or a senior honors thesis.

The internship consists of at least 10 hours a week in a social change organization in the greater Boston area or, if the student is abroad, an appropriate equivalent. The intern is supervised by a PAX professor or staff person, keeps a daily journal, presents and does the reading of a bibliography on the topic of the internship and its larger framework, and writes a paper of 15-20 pages at the end of the internship. The student is expected to meet weekly or biweekly with the supervisor and to email weekly or biweekly if doing the work abroad. Internships are organized around but not limited to those we find through the Hiatt Career Center.

The senior thesis is undertaken in the student's major, on a topic central to peace and conflict studies. With the department's permission, a member of the PAX Faculty Committee will serve on and represent the PAX Program on the thesis committee.

B. Two or more core electives: At least two courses (and up to four) from this list. Core electives must be taken in at least two different departments.

Core electives include courses that offer critical analyses of violence and non-violence and that consider information, ideas, and examples of productive ways of resisting violence and working toward peace and justice (what in the peace studies field is called "positive peace," as distinct from "negative peace," which is the absence of war but not of conditions that appear to lead to war). These courses offer perspectives on major institutions and possible alternatives, explore some strategies for change, and encourage students to envision and work toward a world based more on positive peace than on negative peace or war.

C. Maximum of two related electives: No more than two courses from this list can count to meet requirements for the minor, and they must be taken in different departments.

These courses relate directly or indirectly to international, domestic, organizational, intergroup, interpersonal, or personal conflict and also include consideration of perspectives that promote understanding, reconciliation, and transformation. They need not focus on violence and non-violence, positive peace or encouraging students to envision positive peace. Students may apply courses from the "core electives" list that they have not taken to fulfill core requirements, to this requirement.

D. Students are urged to take at least one course from a school other than Social Science to fulfill their PAX requirements.

E. Students may petition the PAX Committee for special consideration of courses not listed here that the student wishes to propose as appropriate for her/his PAX minor.

Courses of Instruction

PAX 92a and b Internship in Peace and Conflict Studies
Signature of the instructor required.
Usually offered every year.

PAX 110a International Nonviolent Initiatives
[ ss ]
Explores the potential of nonviolent struggle and related efforts to reduce violence worldwide. The sociological mechanisms and ethical outlooks of forms of "nonviolence" are studied, as well as the workings of "people power" on five continents. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Irwin

PAX 120b Inner Peace and Outer Peace
[ ss ]
Enrollment limited to 20.
Examines the relationship between inner state and effective peace-making at levels ranging from the self within itself to interpersonal, intergroup, and international relations. Addresses concerns about structural change and the relationship between inner state, peace-building, and justice seeking. Special one-time offering.

PAX 186a Introduction to Intercommunal Coexistence
[ ss ]
Enrollment limited to 15. Required for students selected as Ethics and Coexistence Fellows.
Investigates the emerging field of intercommunal coexistence, partly through case studies, and by analyzing "coexistence," "tolerance," "reconciliation," and related concepts. Investigates methods of intercommunal work, including encounter, dialogue, activism, and the arts. Considers tensions between coexistence and values of equity and justice. Usually offered every spring.
Ms. Cohen

Core Requirements
PAX 92a and b Internship in Peace and Conflict Studies
Signature of the instructor required.
Usually offered every year.

SOC 119a War and Possibilities of Peace
[ ss ]
Ponders the possibility of a major "paradigm shift" under way from adversarialism and war to mutuality and peace. Examines war culture and peace culture and points in between, with emphases on the role of imagination in social change, growing global interdependence, and political, economic, gender, social class, and social psychological aspects of war and peace. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Fellman

The following courses are approved for the minor. Not all are given in any one year. Please consult the Course Schedule each semester.

Core Elective Courses

LGLS 130a
Conflict Analysis and Intervention

PAX 110a
International Nonviolent Initiatives

PAX 186a
Introduction to Intercommunal Coexistence

PHIL 19a
Human Rights

POL 127b
Seminar: Managing Ethnic Conflict

POL 161b
Causes and Prevention of War

POL 163a
Seminar: Human Rights and International Relations

SOC 112b
Social Class and Social Change

SOC 153a
Sociology of Empowerment


Women in Culture and Society: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

Related Elective Courses

AAAS 60a
Economics of Third World Hunger

AAAS 80a
Economy and Society in Africa

AAAS 123a
Third World Ideologies

AAAS 126b
Political Economy of the Third World

AMST 143a
War and the American Imagination

AMST 175a
Violence in American Life

ANTH 139b
Language, Ethnicity, and Nationalism

Human Reproduction, Population Explosion, Global Consequences

BIOL 17b
Conservation Biology

The Planet as an Organism: Gaia Theory and Human Prospect

ECON 33a
Business in the Global Economy

ECON 57a
Environmental Economics

HIST 139b
Fascism East and West

HIST 186b
War in Vietnam

HOID 111b
September 11: Roots and Aftermath

LGLS 120a
Sex Discrimination and the Law

LGLS 124b
Law and Development: International Perspectives

LGLS 125b
International Law, Organizations, and Conflict Resolution

Ethics and the Jewish Political Tradition

NEJS 147b
The Arab-Israeli Conflict

PHIL 20a
Social and Political Philosophy

POL 15a
Introduction to International Relations

POL 144a
Latin American Politics I

POL 144b
Latin American Politics II

POL 178a
Seminar: International Politics of the Pacific

SOC 107a
Global Apartheid and Global Social Movements

SOC 157a
The Sociology of the Israeli-Palestinian Confrontation

SOC 161a
Society, State, Power: The Problem of Democracy