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ANTH 260

Wars and Militarism

This seminar is on wars and militarism and how these effect and shape human lives. We discuss whether or not wars and the concomitant militarization of human societies are inevitable aspects of our existence. Do wars and militarism reflect primordial human biological and psychological instincts and are therefore inevitable features of human existence? Or can these be traced to certain social, political, and economic contingencies and processes? Can wars be conceptualized only in terms of armed conflicts between nation-states or do wars encompass much more than is usually accepted or understood? This course is intended to blur several boundaries: normative understandings of wars and peace; differences between legitimate and unjust wars; and wars waged by nation-states and by insurgent and terrorist groups. Through an interdisciplinary lens that brings together insights from anthropology, security-studies, cultural-studies, feminist theory, political-science and history, we will define, identify, and understand the different kinds of wars that are being fought in contemporary times. The focus of the course will be to highlight the lived experience of wars and militarism, the strategies of survival that people employ in sometimes extremely adverse situations; the underlying assumptions of wars and militarism that are reflected in social institutions seemingly little connected to them; and most importantly, the power differences that underpin and drive contemporary wars.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science 1 course