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PAX 250: Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies
An investigation of key questions in the field of peace and conflict studies: What are the causes and conditions of violence and the conditions that foster peace and social justice? What is the difference between “negative” and “positive” peace? How do ordinary citizens, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations such as the United Nations contribute to peacebuilding? What are the ethical values and practical tools of peacebuilders across cultures and traditions? Our research takes us into the community to interview people representing diverse views and disciplinary backgrounds—soldiers, peace activists, law-makers, human rights lawyers, economists, physicians, psychologists and artists as well as religious and spiritual leaders. The aim of the course is to deepen understanding of peace research and initiatives as well as the root causes of violence. – Candace Walworth, PhD., Department Chair
Meets Tuesday & Thursday 12-1:20 pm Sycamore 8150
PAX 335: Nonviolence: Theories and PracticeStudy of the theories and practice of nonviolence from historical and contemporary perspectives. This online course explores a central paradox of contemplative life. One of the distinguishing features of contemplative life is the aspiration to live in the present moment, timelessly. On the other hand, contemplatives have often been deeply involved in activist struggles to improve the social and political conditions of their time and place. Examples from around the globe engage students in understanding the dynamics of this paradox in different settings and in their own lives. Students examine their own ethical principles and practices, deepening the inquiry through shared exploration. Online fees apply.—Thomas B. Coburn, PhD., President Emeritus, Naropa University
PAX 340: Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation
This course examines the multiple and interrelated causes of conflict and approaches to peacebuilding across cultures. Students build practical skills in conflict transformation through mediation training (interest-based negotiation). We investigate assumptions about conflict, the potency of cultural and religious differences in conflict, the complexities of invention and the possibility of transformation. Topics include peacebuilding as an artistic process, the role of the media in peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance, and peacebuilding after mass violence. Through a study of the South African Truth and Reconciliation, we explore how forgiveness and reconciliation are understood politically, socially and spiritually.—Candace Walworth, PhD., Department Chair
Meets Friday 9-11:50 am Sycamore 8140
PAX 3XX: International Affairs
An introduction to the field of International Affairs, tracing three key themes: globalization, geopolitics and nationalism. The course explores the historical evolution of globalization, traces the historical roots of geopolitical thinking, and examines the influence of geography on U.S. foreign policy and contemporary U.S. geopolitics. Students will analyze the upsurge of various nationalisms since the end of the Cold War and evaluate their impact on the existing state-system. Using a case study approach, we will explore the three key themes in various regional contexts. Case studies will vary from semester to semester but may include contemporary political-economy in Latin America, the geopolitics of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the conflict in Israel-Palestine, the geopolitics of the 2003 U.S. Invasion of Iraq, and U.S.-Iranian relations.–Ian Feinhandler, PhD., Geographer and International Affairs Specialist
Meets Wednesday 6-8:50 pm Sycamore 8150
Checked out the reflections of the outstanding Naropa BFA Performance students who are preparing a beautiful production of Dead Man Walking!
A recent guest post by Peace Studies chair Candace Walworth highlighted student reflections after visiting the Boulder County Jail. One student wrote:
“I do not fear people in the jail like I did before I went on the tour because I have come to realize that they are just people who made bad choices. Studying restorative justice before going to the jail helped me develop this perspective. Restorative justice has helped me understand the needs of the offender as well as the victim, and I have some interest in working with offenders in their healing process. This unit has given me a whole new insight into both justice systems and has sparked a new curiosity to continue this exploration.”
Be sure to check back this month for exclusive rehearsal footage and interviews.
Dr. Green brings to her work a synthesis of personal change, social responsibility and spiritual awareness. Dr. Green will explore root causes of conflict, obstacles to peace, and the creation of learning environments and cultures of peace. Dr. Green has extensive international experience in peacebuilding and taught at several graduate schools, universities, and other educational centers worldwide before coming to SIT in 1995. As a facilitator in interethnic dialogue, conflict transformation, and community reconciliation, she has worked in Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Israel and Palestine, the Caucasus, Rwanda and Eastern Africa, Sri Lanka, Burma, Nepal, India, and many other regions. Dr. Green founded and directs the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, an NGO located in Amherst MA. In addition to consulting and training, Dr. Green has been an active board member of several international peace organizations, including the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. She is the author of numerous internationally published articles and chapters. Dr. Green co-edited the textbook, Psychology and Social Responsibility: Facing Global Challenges.
- March: Brown bag lunch discussion sets the stage for an enriching production!
Naropa’s cast of Dead Man Walking watched and reflected on Sister Helen Prejean’s visit to Naropa last spring and shared their first thoughts and concerns on addressing the death penalty in this production. They gathered for a lunch meeting to discuss the DMW project with Candace Walworth, Peace Studies chair, Lee Worley, faculty member of the Performance and Education departments and Martine McDonald, alumna of the Peace Studies program.
“It was a fourth of a mile but spiritually I traveled a galaxy, because I finally saw poor people.”
-Sr. Helen Prejean on her first visit to St. Thomas housing project and the journey to advocating for communities living in poverty.
The group discussed their first thoughts and present knowledge of the death penalty and how they understand justice and forgiveness in their own life.
- March: Watching Dead Man Walking for campus movie night was a moving, thought-provoking experience. You can watch the movie for free on Hulu.
- Peace Studies, BFA and Education classes visit the Boulder County Jail. Blog reports to follow…
- The BFA Performance cast of DMW at Naropa started a blog! Follow their rehearsals and reflections here.
I’ve been thinking about what it means for Naropa to participate in the Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project. Naropa’s mission states that we prepare graduates “…both to meet the world as it is and to change it for the better.”
The DMW School Theatre Project is an attempt to build a university and community-wide learning community that strikes both chords (“meet the world as it is” and “change it for the better.”)
First, meet the world as it is: Listen! Listen to the mother and father who cry out for revenge, as well as to the parents who say “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” will not assuage our grief. Sister Helen dedicates her book The Death of Innocents to “Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, who show us the way.”
Listen to the men and women sitting on death row. Find out who they are, how they got where they are, and who isn’t where they are. (Who isn’t on death row?)
Listen to the stories of defense attorneys, prosecutors, “peacemaking criminologists” and to human rights advocates who investigate the underlying dynamics of race and class that affect death-sentencing in the United States.
Listen to the voices within diverse religious communities, as they struggle with the ethical questions: “Is there another way? Are there nonviolent alternatives to capital punishment?”
Listen to the poets who raise the question, “How can death be a “penalty?”
Listen to the arguments of the Supreme Court justices and to Sister Helen Prejean’s dialogue with the justices and their constitutional arguments (Chapter 3, The Death of Innocents).
The last few days I’ve been re-reading Sister Helen’s book Dead Man Walking. She seems to be speaking directly to Naropa, as she tells the story of her personal journey as a nun whose religious community made a commitment to “stand on the side of the poor” in 1980.
Sister Helen describes her reluctant acceptance of this view, and how it challenged her childhood faith — “where what counted was a personal relationship with God, inner peace, kindness to others, and heaven when this life was done. I didn’t want to struggle with politics and economics. We were nuns, after all, not social workers, and some realties in life were, for better or worse, rather fixed — like the gap between the rich and poor” (p. 5).
It’s here, I think, that the DMW School Theatre Project challenges Naropa to the second chord of our mission (“…to change the world for the better.”) The project requires that we, too, struggle with politics and economics and with the voices (within and without) that say, “All we can do is to be kind be kind to ourselves and others.”
As I understand it, the DMW School Theatre Project says “yes” to inner peace and developing kindness, and it says “yes” to taking a next step — to investigating the roots of violence in ourselves and in the public policies that we support, ignore or work to change. Rather than asking us to side with inner or outer transformation, the project asks that we embrace the totality of our mission.
–Candace Walworth, Chair of the Peace Studies Department, Naropa University
Last semester I took a class on the lives of Gandhi, Dorothy Day and Malcolm X. We analyzed their personal transformations as it related to the social transformations they helped to inform. Please take a look at the lives of each of these three great figures. While none of the three were perfect, they certainly were courageous. Each of them underwent tremendous personal transformation. They exemplify, each in their own way, the relationship between personal and social transformation. I’m not a Hindu, a Muslim, or a Catholic, yet I learned how to be a better person from each one of these figures. Take a look at the links below. A note on the Malcolm X video: Many videos one can find on youtube of Malcolm X are of his early years. Notice the change in him from early in his life to his later thinking (he wore a beard more later in his life, you should be able to hear the difference in his message, much more ecumenical, less vitriolic and polemical). It’s pretty easy to judge any of these figures by seeing a small clip of them orating, but for a more informed look I recommend reading each of their autobiographies.
Dorothy Day —
Malcolm X —