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Haverford College
Haverford College Course Catalog

Areas of Concentration / Programs: Peace, Justice and Human Rights, 2010-2011

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The interdisciplinary concentration in Peace, Justice and Human Rights offers students the opportunity to study the history, philosophy and critiques of the rights tradition, examine themes of human rights and justice in their local and international contexts, and apply philosophical, social scientific and ethical reasoning to real-world problems. Three core courses are combined with three elective courses focused on a particular theoretical problem, geographical region, or comparative study, which will expand upon the focus students pursue in their majors. Students will also learn to communicate about their studies across disciplinary boundaries, and will be encouraged to develop creative new perspectives on entrenched problems.

The concentration is open to students in any major who wish to focus on topics such as:

  • human rights and critical rights discourse (universalism, localism, relativism, formal equality, group and special rights categories, individual and state responsibility, critiques of the rights tradition);
  • recovery from conflict and mass violence (reconciliation, restorative justice, reparations, truth commissions, cultural renewal, legal mechanisms);
  • war, conflict, peace-keeping and peace-making (weapons, conflict resolution, just war, sustainable peace);
  • globalization and global governance (sovereignty, trade and capital, global justice, international economic institutions, technology, the media, immigration);
  • politics of life (medicine/health, environment);
  • space and the built environment (links between rights, social justice and the building of urban spaces, policing urban areas, urban poor);
  • technology and politics (technology and media, weaponry).

The above fields are not intended as tracks or limitations. The list of topics will be as long as the creativity of students and faculty will allow.

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Jill Stauffer

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Sophomores meet with the director in the spring of their sophomore year to work out a plan for the concentration. All concentrators are required to take three core courses: PEAC 101 Introduction to PJHR (or POLS B 111 Intro to PACS); PEAC 201 Ethics and Justice: Applied Ethics of PJHR; and PEAC 395 Advanced Topics in PJHR (or a similar advanced course chosen in consultation with the director or acting advisor).

One course must be from a discipline outside the major and, if possible, outside the major's division, but with compatible focus. No fewer than two but no more than three courses for the concentration must also form part of the student's major.


Students are required to take three additional elective courses for the concentration. They will choose these courses in consultation with the director or acting advisor, working out a plan that focuses the second part of the concentration regionally, conceptually, or around a particular substantive problem. Possible areas of focus include: transitional justice viewed comparatively or regionally; philosophical or historical analysis of possibilities for peace; comparative study of genocide; race and human rights; gender and international justice; rights and the media; public health; literatures of conflict or reconciliation; technologies of war; the relationship between history, memory and trauma; social justice and urban space; environmental justice/injustice; energy and weapons; critique of the rights tradition; etc. The field is full of possibilities, and students will be encouraged to come up with creative new approaches to current problems and historical ways of thinking.


Students will also be encouraged to undertake an internship, research project, or other form of field learning as part of their concentration. This will help students face the challenges of integrating data and theory into original analyses.

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The courses below offer a partial listing of courses that may count towards the concentration. Because the concentration in interdisciplinary and open to new ideas, a listing of courses will never cover every possible combination. Contact the concentration's Director, Jill Stauffer, for further course recommendations or to suggest courses to add to this list.

PEAC H101 Introduction to Peace, Justice and Human Rights

This course offers an introduction to the study of peace, justice and human rights, surveying philosophies of rights in relation to justice; historic and contemporary approaches to (and reasons for) peace, war, and nonviolence; clashes between human rights and conflict resolution approaches; the role of human rights prior to, during and after violent conflict; domestic and international problems and challenges to peace, justice and human rights; and why the study of human rights is necessarily interdisciplinary.

PEAC H202 Forgiveness, Mourning and Mercy in Law and Politics

Examination of the possibilities and limits of forgiveness, apology and mercy in politics, and the role mourning plays in recovery from violence, focusing on historic and contemporary instances of forgiveness, mercy and apology, and philosophical approaches to recovery from violence.

PEAC H201 Ethics and Justice: Applied Ethics of Peace, Justice and Human Rights

This is a course in applied ethics geared toward 1) introducing students to major schools of ethical thought in the western tradition, 2) helping students understand ethical arguments about peace, justice and human rights, and 3) preparing students to formulate their own creative approaches to ethical problems, and 4) facilitating an approach to argument that emphasizes diplomacy, perspective-taking and empathy over the search for the one right answer or the infallible argument. It will also consider some critiques and alternative approaches. In addition, the course introduces students to the philosophy of law, which is intertwined in a complex way with the western tradition of ethical thinking.


ANTH H249 Colonialism, Law and Human Rights in Africa
ANTH H263 Architecture and Space
ANTH H315 Human Rights, Gender and Knowledge


BIOL B210 Biology and Public Policy


COML B211 Primo Levi, Holocaust and Aftermath
COML H322 Politics of Memory in Latin America


ENGL H211 Intro to Postcolonial Literature
ENGL H343 Transatlantic Exchanges


FREN H312 Le Genocide Rwandais


HIST B287 Immigration in the U.S.
HIST H310 Political Technologies of Race and Body (Cross-listed in Peace, Justice & Human Rights)
HIST B325 Topics in Social History: Radical Movements
HIST H347 War and Warriors in Chinese History


ICPR H281 Violence and Public Health
ICPR H221 Epidemiology and Global Health
ICPR H301 Human Rights: Development and International Activism
ICPR H302 Bodies of Injustice
ICPR H310 Restorative Justice


PHIL H302 Topics in Philosophy of Law (Cross-listed in Peace, Justice & Human Rights)
PHIL B225 Global Ethical Issues
PHIL H257 Critical Approaches to Ethical Theory
PHIL B344 Development Ethics


POLS B141 International Politics
POLS H151 International Politics
POLS H161 Politics of Globalization
POLS H171 Democratic Authority
POLS H232 Peace Building
POLS H266 Sovereignty
POLS H345 Islam, Democracy and Development
POLS H229 Latino Politics in the U.S. (Cross-listed in Peace, Justice & Human Rights)
POLS H235 African Politics
POLS H334 Politics of Violence (Cross-listed in Peace, Justice & Human Rights)
POLS H370 Topics in Political Theory (Cross-listed in Peace, Justice & Human Rights)


SOCL H235 Class, Race, and Education
SOCL B354 Comparative Social Movements

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