Living Beyond War

Instructor Name: 
Deborah Kaufman
Course Description: 

Students will be challenged to examine their assumptions about war and to become part of building a world beyond war --personally, in our community, and in the world. This course will introduce students to the foundational ideas of Beyond War ( and the projects of the Earth Wisdom Alliance (, and give them opportunities to participate in both.   Students will practice and process the ideas through reading, writing, dialogue and participation in other class activities, and will support the Earth Wisdom Alliance in presenting a symposium called "Generation Waking Up" at the end of the term.  Regular attendance and openness to diverse views are important for success in this class, as well as a solutions-orientation and the willingness to genuinely participate.  Community Partners:  Beyond War; Earth Wisdom Alliance

Goals of the Capstone Program

  • Inquiry and Critical Thinking - Students will learn various modes of inquiry through interdisciplinary curricula—problem-posing, investigating, conceptualizing—in order to become active, self-motivated, and empowered learners.
  • Communication - Students will enhance their capacity to communicate in various ways—writing, graphics, numeracy, and other visual and oral means—to collaborate effectively with others in group work, and to be competent in appropriate communication technologies.
  • The Diversity of Human Experience - Students will enhance their appreciation for and understanding of the rich complexity of the human experience through the study of differences in ethnic and cultural perspectives, class, race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability.
  • Ethics and Social Responsibility - Students will expand their understanding of the impact and value of individuals and their choices on society, both intellectually and socially, through group projects and collaboration in learning communities.
Project Description: 

In this Capstone, students will have the opportunity to examine their own and our society's assumptions about war and conflict. Students will also be able to explore alternative solutions to conflict at the personal, community and international levels.

Reading:  The reading for this class will be concentrated in the first several weeks in order to ground you in the subject.  Later in the term, time outside of class will be focused on your Community Partner Project.

Assigned readings are intended to get you started on the subject.  In the schedule below, required readings are followed by "additional resources."  These are materials that many people have found meaningful and helpful, and I hope that you will take the time to read them.  Many of them are simply quotes or short articles or even cartoons.  This is a dynamic field.  It is expected that you will take some initiative to do further reading.  This will optimize what you get out of the class and your contribution to our partner.

Written assignments and projects:  Plan to do some writing each week.  At a minimum, you will have a Weekly Writing Assignment (WWA) that will be due one week after it is assigned.  The required length is 800 to 1000 words.  Topics will be assigned each week.  Some topics will be related to discussions and/or reading we have had; others will be more reflective writing.

In order to receive the maximum points on the assignment, your paper must be well-written, thorough, follow the instructions and show some creativity. You should show that you have done the reading and been attentive in class by incorporating the concepts in your writing.  However, I am not interested in re-reading exactly what is in the texts or a detailed summary of a class discussion.  Papers that are creative and show initiative in learning about the topic will receive the most points.  Papers are to be submitted via Blackboard.  If you are unclear about my expectations, please ask!  I am happy to discuss them with you.

In addition to the above, we will be working on the following activities during the term:

  • Finding and presenting examples of individuals and organizations who are living beyond war
  • Participating in dialogue groups during class
  • Participating in online discussion communities
  • Creating World View Charts

This is a 6-credit course, so you should budget 6 to 10 hours per week for related work in addition to class time.

Class Participation:  Examples of participation are speaking up in class discussions, asking questions, demonstrating that you have done the reading, and being prepared for class activities.  I encourage participation by everyone for two reasons.  First of all, it allows me to see that you have done the reading and are engaged in the topic.  Second, and most important, a range of diverse perspectives greatly enriches the class and what we all get out of it.  The more people who speak up, the more diverse perspectives we get to experience.  For those who do not feel comfortable speaking in front of the class, there will be opportunities to submit written notes that will enable you to earn full participation points.