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PEACEST 1A03 Intro:Peace Study (C01)

Academic Year: Spring/Summer 2018

Term: Spring

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Prof. Jorge H. Sanchez Perez

Email: sanchej@mcmaster.ca

Office: University Hall B119

Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: Mondays 5 pm



Course Objectives:

This course aims to: 

  • Provide students from a variety of backgrounds with an introduction to the field of peace studies and to contemporary debates.
  • Expose students to the interdisciplinary approach that informs peace studies as a search for justice.
  • Allow students to reflect on historical and contemporary understandings of the nature of social conflict and peace.
  • Convey an understanding of a range of possible strategies to achieve peace in different scenarios.
  • Examine the diverse difficulties that we as a global community face while trying to achieve the goal of peace.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

The material will be uploaded to Avenue to Learn. It consists of a series of articles and papers that reflect the development of the field. There are no fees for this material as it was collected by the professor following the fair use of copyrighted material guidelines of the university.


Method of Assessment:

Mark Breakdown 

1. Reflective Essay (1500 words, due Friday May 25) = 25%  

2. 4 Reflections of The Week (250 - 400 words/1 page each week due on Wednesdays) = 20% 

3. Report on Extracurricular Activity (750 words, due Friday June 8) = 10%  

4. Group Project Essay/Multimedia Project/Etc. (1500 words max, 10 min of presentation max due Friday May 31) =20% 

5. Final Exam (TBD): 25%  


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

• Late assignments will be penalized at a rate of 5% for every day (including weekends). If the due date is Friday, then the assignment should be submitted by 11: 59 pm of that day. It is under my discretion to accept papers submitted more than one week late.  

• 3 marks (out of 100) will be deducted from essays for every 100 words more than the prescribed limit  

• You must retain copies of all work submitted, both in hard copy and digital form. As you work on your assignment, you must back-up of computer files on a regular basis because neglecting to perform backing up is not an acceptable reason for failing to hand in your work.

• I understand that students sometimes are unable to complete an assignment for legitimate medical or other kinds of reasons. If you find yourself in such a situation, please contact me as soon as possible. Once I have been made aware of the situation, I can take steps to help you stay on track in the course and to ensure you are not unduly penalized. 

• Unless extreme circumstances no extension will be given after the deadline of an assignment.   


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:

Week 1: Introduction to the Course and the Idea of Peace

Introduction to the Course- Why is it important to talk about peace?

  • Reading: Syllabus + Instructions (please read these materials before the lecture)
  • Galtung, “An editorial: What is peace research?”
  • Galtung, “Visions of Peace for the 21st Century”
  • Wright, “Public Opinion and War”
  • Case Study Number 1
  • Webel, “Toward A Philosophy and Metapsychology of Peace”
  • Chenoweth, “A Proactive Definition of Peace”
  • 2015 Global Peace Index - Visit Website: http://www.visionofhumanity.org, http://www.visionofhumanity.org/#/page/indexes/global-peace-index) –
  • Case study Number 1

Week 2: Methodological Aspects of Peace Studies

Why is it important to think about peace?

  • Brunk, “Shaping a Vision- The Nature of Peace and Conflict Studies” (P&C, Ch. 1)
  • Alger, “Peace studies as a transdisciplinary project”
  • Galtung and Webel, “Peace and conflict studies: Looking back, looking forward”
  • Case study Number 2

Week 3: Basic Concepts in Peace Studies: Human Nature and War    

Is human nature something taken from a chapter of Game of Thrones or the Walking Dead?

  • Hobbes, “The State of Nature”
  • Arendt, “On Violence”
  • Benjamin, “Critique of Violence”
  • von Clausewitz, “On War”
  • Wright, “A Definition of War”
  • Case study Number 3

Week 4: Basic Concepts in Peace Studies: From Violence to Non-Violence and Pacificism

Can we turn the other cheek when facing violence? Should we?

  • Jones, “Transforming Violence to Nonviolence”
  • Berstein, “Reflections on Nonviolence and Violence”
  • Ghandi, “Ahimsa, or the Way of Nonviolence”
  • Fox, “Two Moral Arguments Against War”
  • Russell, “The Future of Pacifism”
  • Case study Number 4

Week 5 - Building Negative Peace: Systemic Violence, the Right to Resist, the Einstein-Russell Manifesto and the Responsibility to Protect

Can I be violent without being physical? Can an institution be violent?

  • Galtung, “Violence: Direct, Structural and Cultural”
  • Gargarella, “The Right of Resistance in Situations of Severe Deprivation”
  • The Einstein-Russel Manifesto
  • UN, “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”
  • UN, “Responsibility to Protect”
  • Case Study Number 5

Week 6 – Building Positive Peace: Peace, Justice and Gender

Can we talk about Peace without Justice or vice versa?

Week 7 – Review of the Course


Other Course Information:

Instructor’s Teaching Philosophy

My primary goal is to allow others to engage in critical thinking in different areas of human knowledge. I want to make sure that all ideas are open for debate and that everybody can feel safe while discussing them. Respect for others is fundamental to my approach and learning from everybody around me is one of my most important motivations. If I can motivate you to be open and to learn from others as well, I think the course will be a success.