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Grant number: AQ-51022-14

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AQ-51022-14

Moravian College (Bethlehem, PA 18018-6650)
Bernardo Cantens (Project Director: 09/13/2013 to present)
Kelly Denton Borhaug (Co Project Director: 05/05/2016 to present)

NEH Enduring Questions Course on Diverse Concepts of Peace

The development of an upper-level undergraduate course on the meaning of peace in diverse cultural and historical settings and on the conditions under which peace might be obtained.

The development of an upper-level undergraduate course on the meaning of peace in diverse cultural and historical settings and on the conditions under which peace might be obtained. Bernie CanteƱs, a philosophy professor at Moravian College, and Kelly Denton-Borhaug of the religion department develop an upper-level undergraduate course open to all students on the question, What is peace? They engage the subject by studying subsidiary questions: How do we define peace? Why are there so many different visions of peace? Is peace realistic in a world filled with so much violence and war? What are the greatest challenges to achieving peace? Is peace sustainable? What role do social, political and economic conditions play in our understanding of peace? Are we obligated to pursue peace? These questions point to the relationship of peace to ideas about justice, equality, security, morality, violence, nonviolence, compassion, resentment, and revenge. The course is divided into four units: 1) visions of peace, encompassing reason, religion, consent, rights, democracy, and pragmatism; 2) theoretical themes emerging from the first unit, including human nature, inner and outer peace, positive and negative peace, just war, and violence and non-violence; 3) case studies of peace, focusing on the careers of the nonviolent Chicano activist Cesar Chavez and the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh; and 4) consideration of the future of peace, in which students investigate the question as manifested in their own lives. The course asks students to develop analyses and plans to build peace and then present their ideas to the class. Readings are drawn from such classic works and authors as the Bible, the Qu'ran, Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Kant, Clausewitz, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thich Nhat Hanh, and contemporary writers and theorists including Hannah Arendt, Michael Walzer, Daniel Berrigan, the Dalai Lama, Joam Evans Pim, Jose Antonio Orosco, Gene Sharp, and Jody Williams. From an extensive core reading list, students are expected to read 75-100 pages per week. The course includes an opening visit to the Brandywine Peace Community and uses electronic media for dissemination. Course development complements and expands the directors' research on forgiveness, political reconciliation, just war theory, and U.S. war culture and sacrifice. The course ties in with the college's general education curriculum, which is currently focused on the central themes of poverty and inequality, sustainability, health care, and war and peace.

Project fields:
Area Studies; Ethics; Religion, General

Program:
Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Division:
Education Programs

Total amounts:
$32,256 (approved)
$29,461 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2014 – 12/31/2016