Trauma, Human Rights and Reconciliation I

Tide Instructors:

Judith M. Maxwell
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology

Jillandra Rovaris
Assistant Director, ERC

John Moran
Department of French and Italian

Steve Wiegand
student facilitator
Linguistics Program

1. Course description

This course explores the roots of violence, situating aggressive acts within the setting of human needs and responses. Particular acts of violence are examined from the perspective of the perpetrators and from that of the victims. "War" is contrasted with "terrorism". The perceptions and representation of acts labeled "war" will be explored through the print and visual media and then compared with acts labelled "terrorism". Once a "war" has been fought, peoples must find a way to live together again. Processes of reconciliation and reconstruction are needed to "stabilize" war zones. Examples of past and current wars and post-war strategies will be examined. World War II and the current "War on Terrorism" will be given special attention.

2. Course goals

We hope to (a) build an understanding of the causes of violence; (b) examine particular cases to enhance theoretic perspectives; (c) identify structural weaknesses in social relations that encourage, permit, or foment violence; (d) identify marketing strategies for ideologies; (e) critically review past peace processes and the ensuing world/social structures; (f) unpack the issues of nationalism, self-interest, religion and world view in on-going conflicts; (g) evaluate post-conflict strategies.

3. Requirements

  • Excellent class attendance and participation in classroom discussions
  • Adherence to Tulaneís honor code
  • timely completion of the readings and written assignments
  • Readings are available through ERES and/or the websites cited. ERES password: trauma.
  • participation in the blackboard discussions
  • 4. Method of Evaluation (Grading)

    (a) readings and class discussions 30%

                note: you must be present to discuss

    (b) Discussion Board Participation. Students must be registered users of the class Blackboard site ( and check the site to access announcements. Students will be required to post weekly responses to reflection questions. Grades are based on regularity of postings, demonstrated knowledge of material, and the reflection with which students respond to each other. 20%

    (b) 3 position papers (2-3 pages), due approximately every third week 30%

    (c) participation in group activities and planning 20%

                (includes attending 2 films and 2 other planned activities)


    5. Schedule of classes (Fall Semester) with assignments:

    Sept 5 What are basic human needs? Basic Human Rights?

    read: The Universal Declaration of Human rights. or on ERES "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" in Headline Series. 76: 55-62.

    assignment: check media for 9/11 coverage, national and international, cf. for example

    Sept 12 What happens when these needs are not met, the rights not respected?

    read: R. Brian Ferguson (1990) "Explaining War" in The Anthropology of War. Jonathan Haas, ed. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. pp. 27-55 and Clayton Robarchek (1990) "Motivations and material causes: on the explanation of conflict and war" in The Anthropology of War. Jonathan Haas, ed. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. pp. 56-76. and Robert B. Edgerton (1992) "From Discontent to Rebellion" in Sick Societies: Challenging the Myth of Primitive Harmony. The Free Press: New York pp. 144-159

    Assignment: scan newspapers for coverage of violent acts, domestic and international. Select keywords for week three discussions.


    Sept 17 and 18 Film screenings. Attend one or the other of "Hiroshima Mon Amour", 7 p.m. location TBA

    Sept 19 Talking about violence. Spin-doctoring. Discussion of newspaper key word project

    Sept 26 Class discussion of the presentation and representation of world war II.

    read: Wendy Ng (2002) "Chronology of Events in Japanese-American History" in Japanese American Internment During World War II: a History and Reference Guide. Greenwood Press: Westport, Conn. pp. xvii-xxvi.

    and Page Smith (1995) "The Decision Nobody Made" in Democracy on Trial: The Japanese American Evacuation and Relocation in World War II. Simon and Schuster: New York. pp. 102-130

    and William Minoru Hohri (1988) "Remembering" and excerpt from "Will America be Repaired" in Repairing America: an account of the movement for Japanese-American Redress. Washington State University Press: Pullman, WA pp.15-19 and pp. 225-226.

    and "Delivering the Promise" Mitchell T. Maki, Harry H.L. Kitano, and S. Megan Berthold (1999) Achieving the Impossible Dream: how Japanese Americans Obtained Redress. University of Illinois Press: Urbana, IL pp.213-227.

    First paper due

    Sept 28 Visit to the D-Day museum. Gather on the St. Charles side of Gibson Hall. Twelve noon.

    Oct 1 and 2 Film screenings. Attend one or the other of "Kandahar", 7 p.m. location TBA

    Oct. 3 Discussion of the perceptions of war privileged by the museum and by the the films. Attend screening of at least one movie depicting war. Films shown for this class will include WWII movies and films about Afghanistan.

    Oct. 10 Afghanistan.

    readings: from world news web sites and the Department of Treasury on terrorism.

    check out:

    if you have difficulty accessing these try ERES "Treasury Department documents"

    Oct. 15 and 16 Film screenings. Attend one or the other of "Todos Los Santos", 7 p.m. location TBA

    Oct. 17 War vs. terrorism

    readings: Beau Grosscup (1987) excerpt from "The Explosion of Terrorism: what we know and donít know in The Explosion of Terrorism. New Horizon Press: Far Hills, NJ. pp.10-23

    and Donald J. Hanle (1989) "Terrorism" in Terrorism: the Newest Face of Warfare. Pergamon-Brasseyís International Defense Publishers, Inc.: Washington, D.C. pp. 103-120.

    and Peter A. Flemming and Michael Stohl and Alex P. Schmid (1988) The Theoretical Utility of Typologies of Terrorism: Lessons and Opportunities. in The Politics of Terrorism. Marcel Dekker, Inc: New York. pp.153-171.

    second paper due


    Oct 24 1) Discussion of post-WWII reconstruction/reconciliations in Europe

    readings: John Killick (1997) "The Origins and Intentions of the Marshall Plan" and "Conclusion: Prosperity and Convergence" in The United States and European Reconstruction 1945-1960. Keele University Press: Edinburgh. pp. 80-93 and 180-187.

    Oct. 31 2) WWII reconciliation:

    Rebuilding Japan

    read: Brian Eccleston (1989) "Conflict or Consensus: Competing Images of Japan" in State and Society in Post-war Japan. Polity Press: Cambridge, MA pp. 1-28.

    crichton on japan


    Nov. 7 Are we laying a foundation for peace in Afghanistan?

    Synopsis of what we have found to be necessary. Review of recent events, policies and practices.

    Third paper due

    Nov 9 Central City walking tour, historic sites, civil rights. Pick-up noon!!!

    Nov. 14 Last class. Discussion of the walking tour. Has the City healed? General summation.