Postgraduate Course: War and Peace: Anthropological Perspectives (PGSP11601)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course provides PG students with an introduction to the anthropological study of War and Peace. In particular, the course explores how social anthropology can contribute to a critical understanding of the causes, characteristics, and effects of war and peace as features of the current global landscape. The focus is on what war is like for those caught up within it, rather than on battles, elite war strategies, and relations between states.
This course examines anthropological approaches to the study of war and peace. The focus is on what war is like for those caught up within it, rather than on battles, elite war strategies, and relations between states. In particular, the course explores how social anthropology can contribute to a critical understanding of the causes, characteristics, and effects of war and peace as features of the current global landscape. We examine the spectacular and everyday violence of war in terms of structures of inequality, perceptions of difference, and the politics of representation. This involves examining the moral, legal and political particularity of war as a distinct form of violence, as well as the relationship between war and peace. We will also look at efforts that have been made to prevent war, particularly at the local level, and the social and cultural implications of the aftermath of war.
Questions this course addresses include: How is a society mobilized for war? How are societies changed, in the short and long term, by war? What, if anything, does human nature have to do with warfare? Who is most likely to die and kill in wartime? What distinguishes "war" other forms of violence and "peace"? What kinds of global and local anti-war movements have there been, and have they been effective? What can we learn about war and peace using anthropological methods?
Indicative topics to be covered include: militarism; trauma and injury; atrocity and the intimacy of violence; accountability and criminal justice; peace movements; grief and commemoration, humanitarian intervention; and veterans.
This course will be delivered by seminar (two hours per week), combining lectures and student participation and discussion. The course will expose students to multiple ethnographic accounts of war. It will also draw upon literature from related disciplines, including history, politics, sociology, law and literature. Case studies will be drawn from different parts if the world. Films, visual art, and music will be used to complement the readings. Students will be asked to approach these latter materials with an "ethnographic eye" to practice their ethnographic argumentation. Students will engage with these different sources in a critical, rigorous and comparative manner, developing their understanding of the potentials and limits of anthropological forms of analysis and evidence in relation to questions of war.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should have a background in Anthropology
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||A mid-semester essay (30%, 1500 words), followed by a 3000 word essay at the end of the course (70%, 3000 words). «br /»
||Feedback on the short essay will be provided before the hand in date of the long essay.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate advanced and critical knowledge of anthropological approaches to war and peace.
- place anthropological approaches to war and peace within wider debates in the social sciences and humanities.
- apply anthropological tools to understand questions of war and peace in an advanced and manner.
- synthesize materials from the course in an advanced and critical way in order to discuss topics in class and to write clear, detailed, creative, and convincing essays.
- have an advanced and critical understanding of the methodological and ethical challenges of carrying out anthropological research on issues of war and peace
|Aretxaga, B. 2005. States of Terror: Begon¿a Aretxaga's Essays. Reno, NV: Center for Basque Studies, University of Nevada, Reno. |
Green. L. 1999. Fear as a Way of Life: Mayan Widows in Rural Guatemala. NY: Columbia University Press.
Lubkemann, S. 2010. Culture in Chaos: An Anthropology of the Social Condition in War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Scheper-Hughes, N. and P. Bourgois, (eds.). 2004. Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
Thiranagama, S. 2013. In My Mother¿s House: Civil War in Sri Lanka. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||- critically analyse highly complex theoretical and empirical texts
- discuss complex topics in a considered and sensitive manner, not only talking but truly listening to others
- collaborate and debate at an advanced level with peers
- communicate through writing and speech to form original and persuasive arguments
|Course organiser||Dr Tobias Kelly
Tel: (0131 6)50 3986
|Course secretary||Mr Adam Petras