Communication and Culture | Senior Seminar in Communication and Culture (Topic: Peace-Building Communication)
C401 | 2074 | Ivie, R.

MW, 1:00 PM-2:15 PM, C2 203

Instructor: Robert Ivie
Office: C2 247
Phone: 855-5467
Instructor Website:

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.

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), 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.