Communication and Culture | Senior Seminar in Communication and Culture (Topic: Peace-Building Communication)
C401 | 15296 | Ivie, R.

MW, 1:00 PM-2:15 PM, Location: TBA

Instructor: Robert Ivie
Office: Mottier Hall 203
Phone: 855-5467
Instructor Website:

Description of Course Theme: This course explores communication
practices that address conflict constructively and contribute to the
building of a peace culture.   It examines how communication
contributes alternatively to the articulation of cultures of war and
peace, giving special attention to the role of language in shaping
the meanings of war and peace in contemporary America and throughout
the history of peace movements in the U.S.  Language practices are
located at the center of peace-building as a key resource for
critiquing dehumanizing discourses of war and imagining re-
humanizing alternatives.  Peace-building communication, in this
sense, is conceptualized as a creative and constructive practice of
language critique, an expression of moral imagination that
contributes to positive social change by transcending the cycle of
mutual recrimination.

The course will examine peace-building communication strategies,
tactics, and rituals that encompass the role of media, including
creative uses of new media, in the artful dissent from war.  It will
consider modes of language critique that contest demonizing
discourses of war, foster a humanizing language of democratic
citizenship and political friendship, transcend the viewpoint of
war, and apprehend the competing perspectives of adversaries. It
will feature a range of case studies, including peace-building
critiques of the war on terrorism.

Readings: Final selections for course readings will be made over the
summer, but they are likely to include books such as the following:
Lisa Schirch, Ritual and Symbol in Peacebuilding (Kumarian Press,
2005), Robert L. Ivie, Dissent from War (Kumarian Press, 2007 in
press), John Paul Lederach, The Moral Imagination:  The Art and Soul
of Building Peace (Oxford University Press, 2005).

Class Format and Assignments: The course is designed as an
undergraduate research seminar.  The emphasis is on discussion of
assigned readings and of each studentís term research project.  Each
student will design a research project that builds on the assigned
readings of the course applied to a specific peace-building
challenge that is of particular interest to that student.  Students
will discuss their developing plans for their term projects with one
another throughout the semester and share the final results of their
research at the end of the semester in oral and written reports.
Regular class attendance is presumed and active participation in
class discussions is encouraged.