Goucher College 2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalogue 
    Mar 24, 2018  
Goucher College 2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalogue

Peace Studies Major

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The Peace Studies program was initiated in 1990 with one course “Human Rights”.  It has since grown into a full-fledged department encompassing over twenty-five courses and a faculty of five, with cross-listed courses in five departments. The requirements of the major include a study-abroad component, national and/or international internship, facility in a third language, and optional training and certification in conflict mediation. The curriculum offers courses in the study and understanding of just, peaceful, sustainable, replicable, and generative social relations and the political struggles that bring them about, both historically and in the present. The program aspires to nonviolence as both personal and political practice.

The vision of Peace Studies is that the academic program will provide students with the intellectual and strategic tools necessary to be change agents. As students of peace, they will learn to analyze conflict, identify key actors and their objectives, propose alternatives, and design appropriate interventions to bring about peace at various social levels. In the process, students will learn the virtues of non-violent relationality, deductive reasoning, just-mindedness, creativity, and effective communication. The means to this vision is a curriculum built around the concept of positive peace, the lens through which we focus and/or refract peace study and peace work. Positive peace looks at the results of human endeavors on Earth - to find those moments that demonstrate our most compassionate, cooperative and inclusive practices and constructs. These are the historical, contemporary and future exemplars of how humans make positive peace, perhaps even more sustainably and more often than we do violence.

The Program

Peace Studies is an inter- and trans-disciplinary program. It combines a range of epistemologies to explore the theories and practices of peace building and the end of violence in all its forms. The program proposes that the existence of conflict is not the absence of peace. Rather, the presence of violence is the absence of peace. Conflict provides the opportunity to build peace through effective communication, conflict mediation, and social transformation through mutual understanding. Peace, then, is the foundation for just, compassionate and sustainable communities and nations. Peace Studies at Goucher College privileges the presence of such exemplars of positive peace. We study the social values, structures and practices that encourage the emergence of these peaceable persons and societies.

The Curriculum

A positive peace curriculum is a lens through which students and faculty focus and/or refract peace theory and practice. It hones our questions as well as our interventions. Whilst negative peace seeks answers about war, positive peace seeks the means to end it. Positive peace asks how communities at peace problem-solve and imagine different outcomes. How do they identify and implement just social and economic policies? What differs when individuals, groups and entire societies are in conflict? At Goucher, we study the factors that tip the balance toward peace or toward violence. We ask how we can transform communities and societies in conflict by examining the economic, political and social resources required. We look closely at where it has been done, what it looks like, and how these strategies can be replicated elsewhere.  

Student and Community

Who is a peacemaker and how does s/he make peace? Peace work is personal, social and political engagement; it arises from and re-informs peace theory. Peacemakers work for peace in whatever arena they are able. Some are laborers, some are farmers; others are diplomats, ecologists, soldiers and veterans. They are relief workers, teachers, and politicians. All are practitioners and students of peace, and all are members of communities. Students will expand upon and implement their learning through concrete experiences in such communities, including their communities of origin, Baltimore city, national and international contexts, and in their internship programs.

At Goucher, cities are the foci of peace work and the vectors of analysis, including historical and contemporary cities, future cities, divided cities, utopian cities, unofficial metropoli, pleasure cities, mega-cities and city-states.

Course Requirements

Successful completion of the Peace Studies major and minor will mean that the prospective graduate has developed, 1) a reliable and ongoing set of competencies, 2) the ability to conduct academic and applied work collaboratively, and 3) has understood the value and constant practice of mentorship.

Competencies: The program comprises eight core competencies: Writing, Research, Analysis, Attentive Listening, Verbal Acuity, Teamwork, Innovation/Imagination, and Mapping. Competencies are the tools by which we implement learning. With these tools we conceptualize, construct, collaborate, express and/or implement peace thought, a peace project or an intervention for peace. The competencies are arrayed under three over-arching goals: Vision, Cooperation, and Articulation.

Analysis Analysis Analysis
Research Attentive Listening Writing
Imagination/Innovation Team-building Verbal Acuity
Mapping Verbal Acuity Mapping


Collaboration and Mentoring: Mentoring provides a structure for the practice of collaboration and of inter-dependence.  All majors and minors will have a faculty and a student mentor and will, in turn, become student mentors.


We ask students to be organized and intentional when preparing for registration advising. Majors and minors must have an updated Peace Studies Advising Worksheet demonstrating progress in course requirements, including the study-abroad component, the writing-in-the-major course, and the liberal education requirements. All majors and minors will be asked to keep a four-year electronic portfolio that documents–in text and images, websites, wikis, etc.–the peace student’s intellectual and social growth as a member of a Peace Studies community on campus and beyond.

Forty-four credit hours (11 courses) are required for the major, including

Recommended elective courses:

Economics (EC 100) -Course now inactive.

Introduction to Africana Studies (AFR 200)

European History (HIS 116/216 and/or HIS 117/217)

Intercultural Communication (COM 257)

Environmental Alternatives (BIO 170)

Law and Society (SOA 204)

Relational Psychology (PSY 226)

Political Philosophy (PHL 231)

African Politics (PSC 257)

Contemporary Literature (ENG 285)

Visual Thinking (ART 102)

Protest: Legacy of the Sixties (SOA 271)

Environmental Ethics (PHL 405)

Statistics (MA 140 or MA 141) both inactive

Overseas (ENG 325)

Personal Financial Planning (BUS 160)

Introduction to Astronomy (PHY 110)

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