Peace Studies (PCS)

Academic Catalog: 2015–2016

  • Seán Easton (Classics), Program Director

Peace Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study which addresses the problems of war, social oppression and violence, and the challenges of implementing nonviolent conflict resolution and social justice. Peace Studies serves to focus knowledge from diverse disciplines to converge on the problems of violence and the challenges of finding peaceful solutions.

The mission of the Peace Studies program intersects with and supports the mission of Gustavus Adolphus College in several specific ways: it is interdisciplinary and international in perspective, it stresses the development of values as an integral part of intellectual growth, and above all it encourages students to work toward a just and peaceful world. The Peace Studies program strongly recommends study or work abroad for its students to gain international awareness and experience. Many institutions with which Gustavus has an official affiliation offer courses in the areas of peace studies and conflict resolution, which may be substituted for Gustavus courses (up to two) and applied toward the Peace Studies minor.

Students are encouraged to consult with the following faculty who serve as resource persons and advisors in the various disciplines that contribute to the minor in Peace Studies: Seán Easton (Classics), Sidonia Alenuma-Nimoh (Education), Kristian Braekkan (Economics/Management), Thia Cooper (Religion), Loramy Gerstbauer (Political Science), Brian Konkol (Chaplains’ Office), Glenn Kranking (History), Richard Leitch (Political Science), Joaquín Villanueva (Geography), and Suzanne Wilson (Sociology/Anthropology).

Peace Studies Minor: Five courses chosen in consultation with an advisor in Peace Studies. No more than two of the five courses may be from the same department. They are to be distributed as follows:

  1. PCS-211, Introduction to Peace Studies.
  2. At least one course must be selected from each of the following three tracks. Courses must be taken from at least two departments. When possible, students wanting any of these courses to count toward the minor should notify the instructor at the start of the course.

Track I: Global Justice: International Norms, Institutions, and States

Courses in this track will address the questions: What are the origins of global conflict, whether historical or contemporary, among nation-states or other actors? How have peace and justice movements evolved in response?

  • E/M-276 Economic Development
  • GEG-102 World Regional Geography
  • GEG-215 Political Geography: Power, Territory, and States
  • GEG-235 Sub-Saharan Africa
  • HIS-104: Environmental History
  • HIS-265 Mexican American History
  • HIS-323 European Minorities
  • POL-130 International Relations
  • POL-250 Politics of Developing Nations
  • POL-340 Issues for U.S. Foreign Policy
  • S/A-243 Globalization
  • S/A-270 Ethnic and Religious Conflict

Track II: Theology, Philosophy and Ethics, and Culture: Courses in this track will address the questions: How do competing normative, philosophical, religious, and cultural perspectives foster or impede peace and social justice?

  • COM-257 Intercultural Communication
  • ENG-126 Intro to US Ethnic Literature
  • MLC-265 Exploring Intercultural Relations Through Film PHI-209 Philosophies of Environment
  • PHI-212 Racism and Sexism
  • POL-280 Revolution, Resistance & Liberation
  • REL-115 World Religions
  • REL-233 Christian Social Ethics
  • REL-265 World Religions in America
  • REL-273 Religion & Politics in Latin Am.
  • REL-373 The Holocaust and Theology
  • REL-383 Liberation Struggles in the 2/3 World
  • S/A-111 Cultural Anthropology

Track III: Social and Historical Issues
Courses in this track will address the questions: In what ways do conflict and Injustice exist in communities, and in what ways are they addressed?

  • GEG-397 Peace, Crime and Violence
  • GWS-224 Staying Alive, Living on the Margins
  • GWS-244 Islam, Gender and Sexuality in U.S. Media
  • GWS-236 Women and the Holocaust
  • HIS-160 Introduction to Latin America
  • HIS-232 African American History
  • HIS-236 American Dissent
  • HIS-334 Civil Rights Movement at Community Level PHI-105 School and Society
  • PCS-244 Conflict and Resolution
  • S/A-113 Social Problems
  • S/A-235 Social Inequality
  • T/D-136 Creating Social Justice Theatre
  • T/D-236 Theatre and Society
  1. One course credit selected in consultation with an advisor from the following choices: independent study, study abroad, senior thesis.


211 Introduction to Peace Studies (1 course) This course is about violence and its alterna- tives. We examine the causes and nature of violence and aggression among individuals, groups and nations. We consider whether there are appropriate uses of violence by weighing the competing claims of just war versus pacifist theories. We explore the meaning of peace, includ- ing concepts of negative and positive peace and structural violence as they relate to issues of societal oppression, human rights, and culture. We investigate possibilities of peace, introducing students to conflict resolution literature and skills. SOSCI, Spring semester.