This course will first investigate the idea of peace in the context of traditional warrior cultures, varying religious traditions, and specific concepts such as “just war,” “nationalism,” and “making peace with the earth.” Through role-playing and reflective writing, students will also be called to consider their own personal roles as agents on the world stage. We will study direct violence, killing and warfare, and consider how this might be alleviated through conflict resolution, peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peace-building. Beyond this, we will employ Johan Galtung’s formulation of “structural violence,” those conditions that shorten a person’s life, be it starvation, lack of health care or whatever. Through this lens, the pursuit of peace seeks not just to achieve the “negative peace” of halting warfare, but also to nurture “positive peace,” those life-affirming policies and conditions that promote social justice. Students will work in teams to investigate and report on the history and current situation regarding prospects for both negative and positive peace for each of our ports of call. Our goal in each situation will be learn from the situations we encounter, and wherever possible to identify opportunities for positive personal or group interventions, always in a spirit of friendship and respect.
Field WorkCountry: South Africa
Date: March 20, 2017
This field class will offer an intense and full day of involved participation at significant religious and political sites in and around Cape Town. We will begin with a walking tour focusing on the history and experiences of three religious faith communities: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We will first visit the Bo-Kaap Mosque and then the Jewish Museum. After lunch we will visit St. George’s Cathedral. Shifting our focus to the South African struggle for political freedom, we will next visit the District Six Museum, and then travel to Langa Township for a second walking tour. Here we will pause at the sites of the 1960 Langa March, and witness the township’s ongoing social and economic progress. Led by our local expert guide, Mr. Terry Crawford-Browne, students will have opportunities to question local resource persons and to gain an understanding of, and empathy for the experiences of those involved in these complex and still evolving historic struggles.
Field Class Objectives: To gain an understanding of the historical conditions that led to apartheid and of the nature and scope of the oppression that Nelson Mandela and his fellow freedom activists had to overcome; to appreciate all the conditions, legal and physical, under which they carried out their successful struggle. To witness and assess the situation today where apartheid has gone, but social and economic disparities still exist, and to consider what is now South Africa’s best way forward.
Field Class Assignment: Students will be evaluated for this field class by 1) their engaged participation in all aspects of the day’s program and 2) by a written reflection on the day’s events. This should be both impressionistic, conjuring the feel and texture of the day, and critical, reflecting on what was said by whom, and how the student himself feels and where he/she stands in relation to all that was seen, spoken and heard in the course of the day. This reflection must also refer to and incorporate references not just to the sites we visit, but also to the student’s reading in preparation for our visit. Beyond this, each student can use a camera or sketchpad to record visual evidence to complement the written record. Minimum final length: 1500 words. Field Lab is worth 20% of course grade.
1. Visit important sites in Cape Town connected with the city’s racial history.
2. Learn of the history and course of the anti-apartheid struggle.
3. Appreciate the contrast between white and black South Africa by visiting a township and learning of the local resident’s attempts to advance their community.