POL S 333
Anyone following the news today is likely to believe we that we live in particularly violent times. This century started with 9/11, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, genocide in Darfur, and more recently mass shootings in Norway, Arizona, Colorado and Connecticut. However, carefully collected data on homicides, wars, genocide, and other forms of violence, indicate that perhaps we live in an unusually peaceful time. In this class we will start by examining the trends of various forms of violence from past millennia to the present and we will see that violence has indeed declined. Rather than most classes examining violence, we will not ask “why is there war?” but “why is there peace?” After establishing that violence is declining we will examine and evaluate a number of theories and arguments that can help explain this trend. We will also look at specific case studies that will help us understand how it is possible to maintain peace over time.
Student learning goals
Evaluation of theories and arguments
Assessing various forms of empirical evidence
Developing testable arguments and hypotheses
General method of instruction
Lectures and discussion
Political Science 203 or other courses that cover basic theories of International Relations. A general interest in current events regarding political violence.
Class assignments and grading
Grades are based on participation (15%), two exams (25% and 30%) and a 5-7 page paper (30%).