What is Peace? A course at Moravian College sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities
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The National Endowment of the Humanities Enduring Questions grant program supports faculty members in the preparation of a new course on a fundamental concern of human life as addressed by the humanities. This question-driven course would encourage undergraduates and teachers to join together in a deep and sustained program of reading in order to encounter influential ideas, works, and thinkers over the centuries.

What is an enduring question? The following list is neither prescriptive nor exhaustive but serves to illustrate.

Are there universals in human nature?

What is the source of moral authority?

What is evil?

Can war be just?

How do we differ from other animals?

Is peace possible?

What is worth dying for?


On the surface, most undergraduate students probably feel confident answering this question. They may respond that peace is simply an absence of conflict or war, or a state of feeling content and tranquil. However, pushed to think further, they begin to realize that these are superficial responses that generate even more questions. How do we define peace? Why are there so many different visions of peace? Is peace realistic in a world filled with so much violence and war? What are the greatest challenges to achieving peace? Is peace sustainable? What role do social, political and economic conditions play in our understanding of peace? Are we obligated to pursue peace?

This new course will address these questions and introduce undergraduate students to the complex notion of peace through its historical origins, evolution of meaning, and relation to second-ordered concepts. We will critically guide students through a carefully selected core reading list that presents them with a pluralistic view of theories and practices of peace, diverse approaches to peace, and numerous perspectives and prospects for achieving peace


Also satisfies requirements in the religion and philosophy depts.