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Haverford College

2011-12 Course Catalog

Areas of Concentration / Programs: Peace, Justice and Human Rights, 2011-2012

DescriptionDirectorRequirementsCore CoursesCoursesDepartment Homepage


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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Assistant Professor of Philosophy 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.

Note: a course does not have to be on the list below, nor does it have to have "justice," "peace" or "human rights" in its content or title in order to count towards the concentration. Students will propose a list of courses after discussing their interests with the concentration director.


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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Peace, Justice and Human Rights Core Courses

101 Intro to Peace, Justice and Human Rights SO)

Introduction to the study of peace, justice and human rights, surveying philosophies of rights and justice; approaches to (and reasons for) peace, war and nonviolence; clashes between human rights and conflict resolution; why study of human rights is necessarily interdisciplinary.

201 Applied Ethics of Peace, Justice and Human Rights HU)

This course surveys major legal and ethical theories with a view to helping students understand arguments about peace, justice and human rights and formulate their own creative approaches to ethical problems. Theories will be applied to concrete problems of justice.

202 Forgiveness, Mourning, and Mercy in Law and Politics HU (Cross-listed in Philosophy)

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. Does not count toward the major.

229 Latino Politics in the U.S. (A,T) SO (Cross-listed in Political Science, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Latin American and Iberian Studies)

Political thought and practice of Latinos and Latinas in the U.S.; ways in which ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class affect the quest for economic and political empowerment. Prerequisite: One Political Science course or consent.

249 Colonialism, Law, Human Rights in Africa SO (Cross-listed in Anthropology and African and Africana Studies)

This course examines the colonial legacies of contemporary discourses of human rights and development as they are relevant in contemporary global politics. By taking an historical approach to the idea of rights we will make connections between sovereignty, the rule of law and the rights of citizenship. We will use a critical eye to explore the conditions of possibility that allow states, development organizations, donor agencies and individuals to unwittingly reproduce centuries-old tropes of poverty, degradation and helplessness of non-Western peoples. Using historical descriptions of the encounters between Europeans and Africans in West Africa and South Africa we will unpack assumptions about African societies. We will also explore liberalism and it connections to British colonialism its contemporary incarnations. Prerequisite: One course relating to Africa, African politics, African literature.

302 Topics in Philosophy of Law. Topic for 2010/11: The Rule of Law in Political Reconciliation HU (Cross-listed in Philosophy)

Prerequisite: One 200-level Philosophy course and Junior standing or consent of the instructor.

305 Political Technologies of Race and the Body SO (Cross-listed in History and Gender and Sexuality Studies)

This course examines the technologies, ideologies and material strategies that have created and specified human beings as racialized and gendered subjects in the U.S. Readings cover biopolitics, disability studies, material culture, histories of disease, medicine, violence and industrialization. In our discussions and research, we will aim to decode the production of "reality" at its most basic and molecular level. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or higher.

334 Politics of Violence (C) SO (Cross-listed in Political Science and Peace, Conflict and Social Justice Studies)

Examines the evolution, the nature and the causes of violent, intra-state conflict. It pays attention to assessing alternative explanations that include the fear and insecurity provoked by failing states, resource scarcity and the spread of infectious disease and/or a manipulative and self-serving leadership. It places these conflicts in the context of writings about collective violence, revolutions and genocide and asks about the contribution and the responsibility of the international community to resolving civil strife. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or consent of instructor.

350 Social and Cultural Theory: Crime and Punishment in the Age of Globalization SO (Cross-listed in Anthropology)

The late 20th and early 21st century have seen a global turn towards penalization as the answer to a growing array of perceived social ills, from drug use to undocumented immigration. While often justified by claims about increases in crime, the penal turn has often preceded such increases, and so cannot be explained by crime rates alone. Placing the penal turn in cross-cultural contexts, this course will examine a range of texts from history, philosophy, anthropology, political science and sociology to allow us to understand the conditions of possibility that motivate this turn and its accompanying practices: criminalization, incarceration, etc. As part of this, we will consider how "criminalization" is both a material process with profound structural outcomes that perpetuate future criminalization, such as the development of for-profit prison systems, and also an interpretive process that creates hierarchies of personhood, in which some types of people are seen as inherently criminal: a process with historical antecedents that far pre-date our current politics of crime and punishment. This discussion will bring us to consider criminality as a culturally and historically specific construct that often intersects with the construction of race, class and gender. Prerequisite: ANTH 303.

370 Becoming a People: Power, Justice, and the Political (T) SO (Cross-listed in Political Science)

Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing or consent.

Peace, Justice and Human Rights Courses

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 Intro to Peace, Justice and Human Rights
POLS B111 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies
PEAC H201 Applied Ethics of Peace, Justice and Human Rights
PEAC H202 Forgiveness, Mourning, and Mercy in Law and Politics


ANTH B206 Conflict and Conflict Management: A cross-cultural approach
ANTH H249 Colonialism, Law and Human Rights in Africa
ANTH H252 State and Development in South Asia
ANTH H261 Memory, History, Autobiography
ANTH H263 Architecture and Space
ANTH H315 Human Rights, Gender and Knowledge
ANTH H350 Social and Cultural Theory


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


BIOL H301 Genetic Analysis
BIOL H308 Immunology


CHEM H 261 Environmental Chemistry


ECON H 100 The Economics of Public Policy
ECON H 220 Economics of Immigration
ECON H 224 Women and the Labor Market


ENGL H211 Intro to Postcolonial Literature
ENGL H343 Transatlantic Exchanges


FREN H312 Le Genocide Rwandais


HIST H209 Modern Latin America
HIST H227 Statecraft and Selfhood in Early Modern Europe
HIST H240 History and Principles of Quakerism
HIST B287 Immigration in the U.S.
HIST H310 Political Technologies of Race and Body
HIST B325 Topics in Social History: Radical Movements
HIST H347 War and Warriors in Chinese History


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


PHIL B225 Global Ethical Issues
PHIL H257 Critical Approaches to Ethical Theory
PHIL H302 Topics in Philosophy of Law
PHIL B344 Development Ethics


POLS H151 International Politics
POLS H161 Politics of Globalization
POLS H171 Democratic Authority
POLS H232 Peace Building
POLS H235 African Politics
POLS H242 Women in War and Peace
POLS H252 Human Rights and Global Politics
POLS H266 Sovereignty
POLS B283 Modern Middle East and North Africa
POLS H345 Islam, Democracy and Development
POLS H229 Latino Politics in the U.S. (Cross-listed in Peace, Justice And Human Rights)
POLS H334 Politics of Violence (Cross-listed in Peace, Justice And Human Rights)
POLS H370 Topics in Political Theory (Cross-listed in Peace, Justice And Human Rights)


RELG H264 Religion and Violence
RELG H266 Religion, Nonviolence and the Meaning of Peace


SOCL B205 Social Inequality
SOCL H235 Class, Race and Education
SOCL B354 Comparative Social Movements

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