Peace Psychology

PSYC 2850

Professor: Dr. Linda M. Woolf

Office Hours:

Readings:

Course Description:

Peace psychology is broad discipline as conflict and the need for peace occurs in all human arenas. Peace psychology research has been conducted in a variety of contexts examining such disparate concerns as domestic violence; school shootings; structural forms of violence (e.g., institutionalized forms of bias and the systematic violation of human rights); and mass violence, including ethnopolitical conflict, genocide, terrorism, and war. Peace psychologists have also worked to develop and assess programs aimed at teaching concepts and strategies of peace, effective conflict resolution skills, as well as reconciliation and reconstruction following conflict. Such programs have been implemented around the globe with such disparate populations as young school age children in the United States to survivors of the Rwandan genocide.

Peace psychology is not a stand-alone discipline. Rather it draws on research from other disciplines outside of as well as within psychology, including but not limited to clinical psychology, social psychology, political psychology, media psychology, developmental psychology, political science, history, education, sociology, international relations, and peace studies.

This course examines the key concepts, themes, theories, and practices involved in peace psychology. You will be introduced to the issues of peace and conflict across a wide range of interpersonal, community, national and international contexts. We will focus on multiple levels of analysis from micro to macro, and multi-disciplinary perspectives.

PSYC 2850 has been coded for the Global Understanding content area.

PSYC 2850 has been coded for the Oral Communication skill area.

For it isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it. -- Eleanor Roosevelt

Course Objectives:

  1. Objective: To become more knowledgeable concerning the core concepts and methods involved in peace psychology.

  2. Objectives: To become familiar with various forms of direct violence ranging from intimate violence to mass violence and war.

  3. Objective: To examine the concept of structural violence and its impact on individuals, groups, and communities.

  4. Objective: To become familiar with the importance of and the strategies involved in understanding the various aspects of conflict including partisan perceptions.

  5. Objective: To examine the nature of conflict resolution including the psychological dimensions associated with peacekeeping and peacemaking for all parties involved in a conflict.

  6. Objective: To examine the psychological aspects of peacebuilding as individuals, groups, and communities move from intervention to reconciliation and reconstruction.

  7. Objective: To examine the steps involved in thinking like an activist.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Outcome: Students will be able to articulate and define the core concepts and methods involved in peace psychology.

  2. Outcome: Students will be define and highlight the core issues related to forms of direct violence including violence between intimates and violence within and between groups (e.g., genocide, war).

  3. Outcome: Students will be able to discuss the role of structural violence in societies, its impact on groups such as women, children, minorities, and its relation to such topics as globalism and human rights.

  4. Outcome: Students will be able to analyze a conflict and articulate the problem from multiple frames of reference. They will be able to articulate the concept of partisan perceptions and apply this concept to a conflict situation.

  5. Outcome: Students will be able to articulate the ideas and methods associated with various forms of conflict resolution.

  6. Outcome: Students will be able to discuss the psychological aspects of peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peacebuilding and the differences between the three approaches.

  7. Outcome: Students will be able to address the issues of forgiveness, reconciliation and reconstruction in situations post-conflict.

  8. Outcome: Students will be able to develop and implement an activism plan addressing some area of peace psychology.

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

Class Meetings:

The class will meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00-11:50. Attendance is strongly recommended as material will be presented that is not in the book and class discussion will enhance your understanding of the material. Due to the importance of not only class attendance but also class participation, class participation constitutes a significant percentage of your final grade.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. --Bishop Desmond Tutu

Course Requirements:

Four exams and three graded presentations. Other presentations are expected but not formally graded.

Percent of Grade:

Examinations 70%
Presentation 1 5%
Presentation 210%
Presentation 315%

Examinations: The four exams are designed to test for basic understanding of core concepts and ideas. They will cover material presented in class, readings, videos, and discussion. Exams will be worth 60% of your final grade.

Oral Presentations: To assess oral communication, students in PSYCH 2850 will have to complete three 10-15 minute presentations throughout the semester on a variety of peace psychology concepts, contemporary issues, and controversial topics. In each instance, students will be provided feedback on their ability to organize their presentation, use of language, delivery of content, support materials, and the overall message they are attempting to convey. The presentations will be assessed using the GCP rubric for Oral Communication embedded in specific instructions related to this course. Presentation topics for the first presentation will be assigned at the beginning of the second week of class. Presentations for the second presentation will be assigned prior to the fifth week of class. Students may select a topic for their third and final presentation (it cannot be a topic already presented to the class). Topics must be approved in writing by the instructor (email to woolflm@webster.edu and focus on the description/evaluation of and proposal for a peacemaking or peace building project.

Oral Communication: A prepared and purposeful presentation designed to increase knowledge, to foster understanding and/or to promote change in the listener's attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.

Upon the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:


Scoring rubric for the presentations:

Oral Communication Rubric
(adapted from the AAC&U VALUE rubrics and adapted to fit the needs of this Peace Psychology course)

Definition: Oral communication is a prepared, purposeful presentation designed to increase knowledge, to foster understanding, or to promote change in the listeners' attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors. Proficiency in oral communication develops incrementally; final assessment of a student's oral communication skills is more accurate when it reflects multiple presentations.

Students who complete the Global Citizenship Program will be able to: Communicate ideas, opinions, and information effectively by preparing and delivering purposeful oral presentations designed to increase knowledge, to foster understanding, or to promote change in the listener's attitudes.

* Evaluators are encouraged to assign a zero to any work, sample or collection of work that does not meet Beginning (cell 1) level performance.
Exemplary (4)Proficient (3)Developing (2)Beginning (1)
OrganizationOrganizational pattern (specific introduction and conclusion, sequenced material within the body, and transitions) is clearly and consistently observable, is skillful, and makes the content of the peace psychology presentation cohesive. Presenter is able to effectively answer questions that occurs within the context of the presentation without losing organizational structure.Organizational pattern (specific introduction and conclusion, sequenced material within the body, and transitions) is clearly and consistently observable within the peace psychology presentation. Presenter is able to effectively answer questions that occur within the context of the presentation with only minor disruption to organizational structure. Organizational pattern (specific introduction and conclusion, sequenced material within the body, and transitions) is intermittently observable within the peace psychology presentation. Presenter is able to effectively answer questions that occur within the context of the presentation but digresses from the topic and organizational structure.Organizational pattern (specific introduction and conclusion, sequenced material within the body, and transitions) is not observable within the peace psychology presentation. Presenter is not able to effectively answer questions during the presentation.
LanguageLanguage choices are imaginative, memorable, and compelling, enhance the effectiveness of the presentation but also, reflect the language of the discipline of psychology. Language facilitates retention and attention by being unique to the oral channel. Language in presentation is appropriate to audience and reflects significant knowledge of the peace psychology topic. Language choices are thoughtful and generally support the effectiveness of the presentation. Word choice generally reflects the language of the discipline of psychology. Language includes choices that reflect an orally communicated message as opposed to a written message. Language in presentation is appropriate to audience and reflects knowledge of the peace psychology topic.Language choices are mundane and commonplace, partially support the effectiveness of the presentation, and partially reflect the language of the discipline of psychology. Language helps minimally in promoting retention and attention of the audience. Language in presentation is appropriate to audience but doesn't demonstrate a strong knowledge of the peace psychology topic. Language choices are unclear and minimally support the effectiveness of the presentation. Language does not reflect the uniqueness of the oral channel. Language in presentation is not appropriate to audience and suggests that the presenter does not understand the peace psychology topic presented.
DeliveryDelivery techniques (posture, gesture, eye contact, and vocal expressiveness) make the presentation compelling, and speaker appears polished and confident. Delivery appears natural and purposeful. There are no signs of speech anxiety.Delivery techniques (posture, gesture, eye contact, and vocal expressiveness) make the presentation interesting, and speaker appears comfortable. Delivery generally appears natural and purposeful. Signs of speech anxiety are minimal and, if present, disappear as the speech begins.Delivery techniques (posture, gesture, eye contact, and vocal expressiveness) make the presentation understandable but delivery sometimes lacks purpose and, at times, appears rehearsed. Speaker appears tentative with signs of speech anxiety present intermittently. Speaker reads over 25% of the material from the slides or prepared notes.Delivery techniques (posture, gesture, eye contact, and vocal expressiveness) detract from the understandability of the presentation. Delivery choices lack purpose and virtually any appearance of being natural. The speaker appears uncomfortable, being controlled by speech anxiety. Speaker reads over half of the material from the slides or prepared notes.
Reasoning and SupportClaims are reasonable, clearly stated, and thoroughly explained with a combination of evidence and the speaker's own critical analysis. A variety of types of supporting materials (research from the psychology literature, explanations, examples, illustrations, statistics, analogies, quotations from relevant authorities) are used to develop ideas. The presenter establishes his/her credibility through use of reasoning and research support. All questions are answered effectively and grounded in material from the presentation. Presenter can augment answers with material from the research literature that was not presented but is directly related to the topic. Claims are reasonable, stated with relative clarity, and supported with a variety of supporting materials (research from the psychology literature, explanations, examples, illustrations, statistics, analogies, quotations from relevant authorities). The presenter periodically integrates critical analysis into the speech. The presenter is generally seen as credible as a result of reasoning and research support. All questions are answered effectively and grounded in material from the presentation. Presenter attempts to augment answers with material from the research literature that was not presented but largely repeats information presented. Claims are generally reasonable and clearly stated, while supporting materials (research from the psychology literature, explanations, examples, illustrations, statistics, analogies, quotations from relevant authorities) make periodic reference to information or analysis that partially supports the presentation. Many claims lack support and the presenter's credibility on the topic is questionable. Tends to focus on personal opinion and anecdotal evidence.Claims are typically unsupported assertions that lack sufficient supporting materials (research from the psychology literature, explanations, examples, illustrations, statistics, analogies, quotations from relevant authorities). The presenter fails to develop arguments because of a lack of his/her own analysis and evidence beyond personal claims. The presenter's credibility is very weak because of a lack of reasoning. Questions are generally answered effectively and grounded in material from the presentation. Presenter cannot augment answers with material from the research literature that was not presented.
Central MessageCentral message is compelling (precisely stated, appropriately repeated, memorable, and strongly supported.) Message is appropriate for purpose, context, and audience. The presentation is focused and reflects the assigned topic.Central message is clear and consistent with the supporting material. Message is generally appropriate for purpose, context, and audience. The presentation is focused and reflects the assigned topic but includes some minor irrelevant information.Central message is basically understandable but is not often repeated and is not memorable. Message may fall short of adhering to purpose, and lacks a consistent appropriateness for context and/or audience. The presentation includes over 25% of material not directly related to the topic.Central message can be deduced, but is not explicitly stated in the presentation. Message is not clearly in line with purpose and lacks a consistent appropriateness to audience and context. Significant inclusion of irrelevant information (over 50% of presentation) that is not directly related to the assigned topic. Questions are not answered effectively and presenter appears not to understand the material presented.

"There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another." ---Emma Goldman

Policy Statements:

Use of Electronic Devices in the Classroom: Please respect others in the class by turning off all cell phones and pagers before entering the room. Text messaging during class is not acceptable. Laptops may be used in class but are only to be utilized for class related activities (e.g., taking notes). If it becomes apparent you are using the computer for non-class activities (e.g., checking Facebook, playing games) then you will be asked to turn off your computer and refrain from bringing it into class in the future. Laptop use is restricted to the back or sides of the classroom so that other students are not distracted during lecture.

Plagiarism (attempting to pass off the work of another as one's own) is not acceptable. Plagiarism includes copying all or part of another's writings (even a single sentence), inappropriate paraphrasing, using another student's paper as your own, submitting a paper for more than one class. All papers will be submitted to the university's plagiarism database for review. Plagiarism, either intentional or unintentional, will result in a grade of 0 for that assignment and will be turned over to the appropriate university source for disciplinary action. In addition, cheating on exams will also result in the same fate.

Here are some Web sites that will help you avoid the problem of plagiarism particularly plagiarism resulting from paraphrasing too closely to the original source. -

It should be noted that, as is common in many university courses, little time will be spent lecturing on topics adequately addressed by the text. Students are expected to arrive at class meetings having already read the material assigned, and to ask questions to clarify any areas that remain unclear. While every attempt will be made to explain or expand upon particularly difficult areas, the primary purpose of classroom lecture is to enhance, rather than to duplicate, the textbook material.

Late withdraws from this class will not be approved by the instructor except in cases of emergency discussed with the instructor. No late withdraws will be approved on the basis of poor class performance.

This syllabus is subject to change at the instructor's discretion. All changes concerning course requirements will be provided in writing. Changes concerning exam dates may be made at the instructor's discretion and communicated verbally to the class.

It is understood that remaining in this course (not dropping or withdrawing from this course) constitutes an agreement to abide by the terms outlined in this syllabus and an acceptance of the requirements outlined in this document. No grade of Incomplete will be issued for this course.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
--Dwight D. Eisenhower




Course Outline

The schedule below provides a general guideline to the semester and is flexible based on any need for additional discussion of a particular topic and variability due to class presentations.

Week EndingTopic Readings
January 17
January 24
Introduction Presentations

Introduction to the Class

What is Peace Psychology?
Core Concepts

  • Christie, D. J., Wagner, R. V., & Winter, D. (2001). Introduction to peace psychology.

January 31 Direct Violence: Intimate Violence

Exam I

  • Abrahams, N. (2001). Intimate violence.

February 7

Direct Violence: Violence against Minorities

  • Woolf, L. M., & Hulsizer, M. R. (2004). Hate groups for dummies: How to build a successful hate group. Humanity and Society, 28, 40-62.

  • Murphy, B. C. (2001). Anti-gay/lesbian violence in the United States.

February 14
February 21

Direct Violence: Genocide, Democide, and War

  • Woolf, L. M., & Hulsizer, M. R. (2005). Psychosocial roots of genocide: Risk, prevention, and intervention, Journal of Genocide Research, 7, 101-128.

  • Druckman, D. (2001). Nationalism and war: A social-psychological perspective.

  • Extra Credit Opportunity: Elie Wiesel's Night - Instructions to be provided in class.

February 28Direct Violence: Terrorism

Exam II

  • Woolf, L. M., & Hulsizer, M. R. (2002/2003). Intra- and inter- religious hate and violence: A psychosocial model. Journal of Hate Studies, 2, 5-26.

March 7 Structural Violence: Social Justice

  • Opotow, S. (2001). Social injustice

  • Woolf, L. M., & MacCartney, D. (In Press). Sexual and gender minorities. In C. V. Johnson, H. Friedman, J. Diaz, B. Nastasi, & Z. Franco (Eds.). Handbook of social justice and psychology. .

  • Extra Credit Opportunity: SNAP Challenge - Instructions to be provided in class.

March 21Structural Violence: Women and Children

  • Schwebel, M., & Christie, D. (2001). Children and structural violence.

  • Mazurana, D., & McKay, S. (2001). Women, girls, and structural violence: A global analysis.

March 28Structural Violence: Globalism and Human Rights
  • Pilisuk, M. (2001). Globalism and structural violence.

  • Lykes, M. B. (2001). Human rights violations as structural violence.

April 4 Conflict Resolution: Theoretical and Practical Concerns

Exam III

  • Sanson, A., & Bretherton, D. (2001). Conflict resolution: Theoretical and practical concerns.

April 11The Psychology of Peacekeeping and Peacemaking
Reconciliation and Issues of Forgiveness

  • Langholtz, H. J. (1998). The evolving psychology of peacekeeping. In H. J. Langholtz (Ed.). The psychology of peacekeeping (pp. 3-16). Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

  • Pedersen, P. B. (2001). The cultural context of peacemaking.

  • Borris, E., & Diehl, P. F. (1998). Forgiveness, reconciliation, and the contribution to international peacekeeping. In H. J. Langholtz (Ed.). The psychology of peacekeeping (pp. 207-222). Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

April 18
April 25
May 2
Towards Peace and Peacebuilding

Final Presentations

  • Montiel, C. J. (2001). Toward a psychology of structural peacebuilding.

  • Steger, M. B. (2001). Peacebuilding and nonviolence: Gandhi's perspective on power.

  • McKay, S., & Mazurana, D. (2001). Gendering peacebuilding.

  • Wessells, M. Schwebel, M., & Anderson, A. (2001). Psychologists making a difference in the public arena: Building cultures of peace.

See Final Exam Schedule Final course wrap-up/discussion and Exam 4



World Peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor - it requires only that they live together with mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. --John F. Kenney


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