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PEACEST 3B03 Peace-Building And Health

Academic Year: Winter 2016

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Nancy Doubleday

Email: doublen@mcmaster.ca

Office: Togo Salmon Hall 723

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23087


Office Hours: Friday 11-12 in TSH 312 and 1:30-2:30 in UH304

Course Objectives:

We will construct an action-learning approach oriented toward understanding the process enhancing peace and health as a process of healing and transformation in which individuals and institutions are understood to have agency to work for change for the health, well being and happiness of themselves and others. To this end we will examine the broad contextual determinants of health, including social, cultural, ecological, economic, and institutional arrangements, as well as issues of capacity for adaptation, empowerment, engagement and agency. We will employ a relational ethical stance to allow us to situate ourselves and to understand more deeply our own positionality with respect to contextual issues and to the development of capacity and agency.

We will consider multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary sources concerning peace, happiness, health and healing and related practices; develop an appreciation of complex social-cultural-ecological systems, and examine examples of the connections to peace and health resulting from such systems, for individuals and groups. We will consider relational ethical practices and their potential for transformation and for “healing” where conflict, or the potential for conflict, also exists. We will also engage in a range of practice exercises intended to enhance self-knowledge through experiential learning and students will be asked to reflect individually and in small groups on their experiences in discussion, as well as written, performance and/or multimedia work.

Specifically, we will consider the meanings and constructions of “peace”, “health” and the concepts related to the development of new fields such as “building peace through health”, and “happiness”, in relation to current needs for human development as expressed in the recommendations of the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promoted by the United Nations, as well as in the policies of the World Health Organization, and other bodies.

During the course each student will consider his/her own life experience, identify and explore case materials, and conduct exercises leading to deeper understanding of the diverse linkages between peace and health, including (but not restricted to) justice, conflict, trauma, education and therapeutic approaches.

We will also consider the broader dimensions of health as “wellness” or “well-being”, and we will examine connections to the emerging field of “happiness and human flourishing”.

We will design conceptual projects to create greater societal awareness of the relationship of peace to health in personal, social, environmental and political spheres.

We will implement projects to demonstrate the mobilization of the knowledge we create and to celebrate positive outcomes.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Readings will be provided online, where possible, at no cost.

Library resources will be made available on reserve.

All students are understood to have a HSR bus pass. We may conduct one or more site visits using public transport, and in this case students who have not arranged a bus pass should be prepared to pay for return bus fares for themselves.

Method of Assessment:

1) JANUARY 14 - IN CLASS ASSIGNMENT: Individual Personal Profile and Statement 15%

Length: 2 pages (point form) + 1 page (clean version, diagram, table, text etc.) all pages are to be hand written, total 3 pages. Time available: 30 minutes; lined paper provided.

Due: Hand in at end of class.

2) JANUARY 14 - 28 Group Formation and Choice of Major Project 25%

Length: 1 page describing team members + 4 pages describing the rationale for the Major Group Project topic, typed, 12 pt Times New Roman font, total 5 pages.

Due: February 4 - submit Word.doc file to A2L

3) FEBRUARY 11 - Major Project Summary 10%

Length: 20 pages, typed, 12 pt Times New Roman font, + up to 40 pages of optional supporting documentation (references, illustrations, maps, etc.), total 60 pages (maximum).

Due: February 11 - submit Word.doc file to A2L

4) FEBRUARY 25 to end of course: Major Group Project staging AND resource materials handout (in class).

Length: Staging time will be 15 minutes per group (4 people), + 5 minutes Q&A, + 5 minutes scoring = 25 minutes per group.

Group Project Handouts: Each group will provide an outline (2 pages, typed, 12 pt Times New Roman font) including:

  • names of group members,
  • key question(s) addressed and
  • references.

This document is to be distributed to all students in class in hard copy and submitted on A2L at least 2 days before the class in which the group is staging their project.

Instructor evaluation 20% and Peer to peer evaluation 10% (=5% from the class as a whole + an additional 5% from members of your group for your performance as a group member).

Criteria will include:

  • Clarity of ideas communicated
  • Quality of background research attempted
  • Coordination of the presentation among group members
  • Innovation

Score cards will be provided.

5) MARCH 31 - In class Test 20%.

The test will take 1 hour in class and the questions will allow you to consider and communicate your approach to:

  • Establishing the recognition of links between “Peace” and “Health”,
  • Identifying design principles and strategies to address issues that adversely affect the peace and health experienced by individuals and groups, and/or
  • Analysing the components of “Happiness” (as set out by Helliwell et al., 2015) to show how they enhance our understanding of the connections among peace, health and well-being.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Work is due as indicated on the course outline. MSAF must be used where applicable.

Group peer to peer and instructor assessments will take into consideration punctuality in meeting deadlines, as well as other aspects of performance (please see "Other Course Information", below). Up to 5% of the value of an assessment grade, up to a total penalty of 5% for the course as a whole, maybe lost for lateness. 

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:



Please Note: Links and other references appear in the section at the end labeled “resources”.


Topics and Timing: 

January 7 (Week 1) Introduction: Peace, Health, Well-being and Structural Violence


1) Arya & Santa Barbara, Table of Contents and Chapter 1. ON RESERVE in Mills Library

2) Truth and Reconciliation Commission (referred to after this as “TRC”), Chapter 1


January 14 (Week 2) Systems: Social, Cultural, Ecological Processes and Transformation


TRC Executive Summary – scan the report and choose one topic section to focus on and read it in detail.


January 21 (Week 3) The World in Transition

UNHCR Statistical Yearbook 2014 “Table of Contents, Main Findings, Introduction”

TRC Volume 2 “The Inuit and Northern Experience”


January 28 (Week 5) Local-Global-Personal  Panel Discussion on Peace & Health

Panelists: Dr. Mark Loeb, Dr. Ellen Amster, Dr. Lisa Schwartz, Dr. Harry Shannon, Dr. Anne Niec 


February 4 (Week 6) New Foundations, Fresh Assumptions: Is Change Possible?


1) “The World We Want” https://www.worldwewant2015.org/

2) 2015 Time for Gobal Action http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/

3) UN General Assembly Resolution adopted on September 25, 2015.



5) TRC Volume 5 “The Legacy”


February 11 (Week 7) Envision, Plan, Design, Map, Act

1) TRC Recommendations

2) Bertrand Russell Society Media Release http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/650709-1450636313-international-society-of-scholars-condemns-fascistic-trends-in-the-united-states.html

3) UN General Assembly Adopts 28 Forth Committee Texts: http://www.un.org/press/en/2015/ga11737.doc.htm




February 25, March 3, 10, 24, 31, April 7 (Weeks 9-10, 12-14):

  • Workshops,
  • Staging of Major Group Projects,
  • Feedback dialogue and missed assignment make-up sessions.

All workshop, staging and feedback and make-up sessions will be scheduled in consultation with the class and Major Group Project teams before Reading Week.


NOTE: No class on March 17 – instead there will be a downtown visit or campus tour with your group, on your own time, with an itinerary to be distributed in advance.


NOTE: March 31 (Week 13) – One Hour In-Class Test




Neil Arya and Joanna Santa Barbara, Peace Through Health: How Health Professionals Can Work for a Less Violent World. Kumarian Press, Inc., 2008. ISBN 978-1-56549-258-5  340 pp. This work will be used selectively as a reference. It will be available in Mills Library on Reserve.


2) TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION OF CANADA: http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=10

Calls to Action


This work, as well as the TRC Final Report (available on December 15, 2015) will be used selectively as references. This report will be available online.



Edited by John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard, and Jeffrey Sachs

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/article24073928.ece/BINARY/World+Happiness+Report.pdf This work will be used selectively as a reference. It is available online.



Joseph E. Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, Jean-Paul Fitoussi,


This work will be used selectively as a reference. It is available online.



UNHCR STATISTICAL YEARBOOK 2014, “Table of Contents, Main Findings, Introduction” and CHAPTERS 1, 2 and 3.


This work will be used selectively as a reference. It is available online.




Word Document available at:


Other Course Information:

This course relies on individual commitment to collaborative work, respect for academic integrity, and making the best contributions possible. To this end, the scoring of the Major Group Project includes a “within group” score of each member’s contribution by the group members. Where a group appraises a contribution of a group member as significantly below the contribution made by other members, and it is determined that there is an attempt to take advantage of the group (i.e. as a “free rider”, or by chronic lateness in meeting deadlines), a penalty of up to 5% of the grade attained by that individual for the course as a whole may be levied by the instructor in consultation with the group.