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Grant number: AQ-50979-14

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AQ-50979-14

Macomb County Community College (Warren, MI 48088-3896)
Elliott Meyrowitz (Project Director: 09/13/2013 to present)

NEH Enduring Questions Course on the Just War Tradition

The development of a community college course on the circumstances under which war may be justified and whether it can be conducted ethically once begun.

The development of a community college course on the circumstances under which war may be justified and whether it can be conducted ethically once begun. Elliott Meyrowitz, a Vietnam combat veteran with a J.D. degree and a Ph.D. in history, develops a course for community college students on the question, What is a just war? Meyrowitz argues that the position that "all war should be condemned" is untenable; as a result, "from the time of the Roman Empire and early Christianity philosophers and theologians began to develop the concept of a 'just war.'" Given contemporary problems of war and conflict, the enhancement of "students' ability to distinguish between justifiable and unjustifiable use of armed force" is pressing. The course is organized into four units: 1) just war theories over time and in the western and eastern traditions, as exemplified by important writers; 2) how these thinkers as well as military strategists have developed alternatives to just war theory; 3) case studies of World Wars I and II, Vietnam, and recent American actions in the Middle East and Afghanistan; 4) application of just war theory to a range of circumstances such as total war, nuclear war, guerrilla war, genocide, ethnic cleansing, civil war, asymmetric war, and terrorism. The core readings for the course include writings by Thucydides, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Kant and recent scholars and theorists including Michael Walzer, John Keegan, James Turner Johnson, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Christopher Paul, and David Fisher.

[Media coverage]

Project fields:
History, Other

Program:
Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Division:
Education Programs

Total amounts:
$22,000 (approved)
$22,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2014 – 6/30/2015