Peace, Justice, and Human Rights

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, to expand or enhance 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).


Students meet with the director, ideally 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; PEAC 201 Applied Ethics of PJHR; and PEAC 395 Capstone Seminar in PJHR. Alternate courses may on occasion fulfill a core requirement.

Students are required to take three additional elective courses for the concentration. They will choose these courses in consultation with the concentration director, working out a plan that focuses the concentration regionally, conceptually, or around a particular substantive problem. A course does not have to appear on an existing list of electives or have "peace" or "justice" in its title to count toward the concentration. The aim is to articulate a focus that helps each student pursue her or his interests in PJHR.

The PJHR concentration may overlap with students' majors by 1-2 courses but need not do so. Each student will work out a plan of study appropriate to his or her focus with the concentration director.


The program encourages students to take advantage of the many opportunities for enriching their academic work through independent research and/or internships, in both domestic and international settings. This will help students face the challenges of integrating data and theory into original analyses. Possibilities include traditional social science fieldwork, archival research in the humanities, guided research in the sciences, advanced work in applied ethics backed by research, and so on. Haverford students may seek support through Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC), from the Hurford Humanities Center, or the Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center (KINSC).

Examples of recent CPGC-funded projects include: an internship with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; a humanitarian relief project in Panabaj, Guatemala following civil war and a devastating mudslide; research into the struggles of Philadelphia refugees from conflict zones; a summer internship at a school for street children in Indonesia; internships at Voice of Witness in San Francisco; and participation in the World Social Forum in Venezuela.


Visiting Assistant Professor Peace, Justice & Human Rights

Associate Professor & Director of Peace, Justice & Human Rights
Hall 9B

Learning Goals

Students who complete a concentration in Peace, Justice and Human Rights will possess:

  • Knowledge of the various schools of thought and modes of practice of peace, justice and human rights.
  • Familiarity with diverse approaches to conflict and peace.
  • Fluency with various schools of ethical and legal thought.
  • Understanding of the complexity of international and domestic issues of peace, justice and human rights.
  • Confidence in the ability to understand and analyze philosophical and practical problems, and come up with creative solutions to these problems.
  • Good oral and written communication skills, gained through discussion of ideas, the practice of writing, and the practices of speaking and teaching, commenting on the work of peers, and revision of work over time.
  • A working sense of the ways in which theory and practice are different but inseparable.
  • Ability to formulate and advance original arguments about issues of peace, justice and human rights.
  • Sensitivity to the different factors affecting reception of arguments about divisive or emergent issues.
  • Experience with field methods, archival research, practical internships or other work or study outside of the traditional classroom setting.
  • Insight into what interdisciplinary study entails and how it complements or augments work within the disciplines, including a sense of the differing methodological approaches: historical/archival, philosophical, legal, ethnographic, institutional, textual.
  • Aptitude for communicating and collaborating with peers—and audiences in the wider world—whose disciplinary language, values and methodological concerns differ.
  • Humility with regard to the complexity of conflict and its resolution.