Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Student group plans seminar to promote peace

Northwestern Students Opposing War and Racism will hold its second student-organized seminar during Spring Quarter. Titled “Active Nonviolence and Social Change,” the seminar is an off-shoot of a similar class NOWAR held last spring and is part of the group’s push for a Peace Studies program at NU.

Last spring, Weinberg Assistant Dean Mary Finn said the program could not be approved through Weinberg because it is not proposed by a department or program.

NOWAR can petition through the Associated Student Government but needs a Weinberg faculty member to propose the new program.

Weinberg sophomore Sharlyn Grace, who is co-teaching this spring’s seminar, said there are peace studies programs at many large schools around the United States, including University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind., and University of California at Berkeley.

“The campaign is still in its preliminary stages, but we found several classes in NU’s curriculum that would fit very nicely into peace studies,” Grace said.

Peace Studies would be an interdisciplinary program, incorporating classes from sociology, political science, gender studies and African-American studies. Grace described the discipline as “looking at peace as an active process, not just the absence of war.”

Weinberg senior Laura Dunn, who is co-teaching this spring’s seminar with Grace, said NOWAR is hosting a dinner at the end of the quarter for faculty that might be interested in starting a Peace Studies program.

“We haven’t found someone who is willing to do it yet,” she said.

Last spring’s seminar covered three areas of peace studies: theories of non-violence, economic justice and individual peace and identity, Dunn said.

“We’re focusing the class on non-violence this quarter because last year the non-violence section of the class was the most popular,” Dunn said. “The class will look at non-violence both as a method of social change and a personal, ethical choice.”

Dunn said the class will look at the Civil Rights movement and the 1960s anti-war movement as well as methods of bringing peace to individual communities. She said she hopes students outside the NOWAR group will take an interest in the seminar.

“People don’t have to agree with the principle; it’s an academic investigation,” she said. “Last year there were people in the seminar who were really pacifist and anti-war but then there were others who were just curious about these sorts of theories.”

Dunn and Grace, both participants in last year’s seminar, said between 15 and 30 students attended the original class. They expect a similar number this year.

Reach Amanda Palleschi at [email protected].

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Student group plans seminar to promote peace