Offers a Bachelor’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) to students at Juniata College
Courses use books by such authors as socialist radical Barbara Ehrenreich
The Baker Institute forPeace and Conflict Studies offers a Bachelors Degree in Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) to students at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Juniata is one of the few schools in the U.S. that offers a major in PACS, and its program focuses students' efforts specifically around the issue of "War and Deep-Rooted Conflict as Human Problems."
"Students have an opportunity," the Baker Institute says, "to explore the root causes of violence at all levels of human interaction, seeking to understand human potential for waging protracted lethal conflict and for creating lasting peace." The Institute further notes, "In a culture where war is the central metaphor for life, Peace Studies considers the value of nonviolent social change and the role of reconciliation and forgiveness in moving people beyond violence."
The Institute was established in 1986 with funding from the peace activist Elizabeth Evans Baker. In addition to providing a curriculum of study for Juniata students, it also sponsors conferences, workshops, and public forums on issues of war and peace.
The PACS program at Juniata is comprised of twenty-eight courses. One of these is "Globalization and the New Wars," which, according to the course syllabus, focuses "on the nature of capitalist economies and the transformations that they have wrought since the beginnings of the industrial revolution in the mid-18th century." The syllabus goes on to affirm that the class is “especially concerned with the more recent development of consumerism and the cultural attitudes that it engenders," and that its goal is to "explore how the 'new wars' that have developed in the post-Cold War world are evolving, including what many call 'terrorism,' the United States' response including the war in Iraq, and what the consequences may be for globalization in political, economic, and cultural terms."
A required text for the aforementioned class is Nickeled and Dimed, which was written by former 1960s radical and Honorary Chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, Barbara Ehrenreich. In this book, Ehrenreich asserts that atheism is the tradition of the working class; that Jesus was a "wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist"; that a precursor of the trade union movement was a working-class atheism called the Free Thought Movement that sprang from "poor people whose distrust of priests and ministers was part and parcel of their hatred of bosses and bankers"; and that the abolition of capitalism would be a boon to mankind.
A "recommended reading" for the "Globalization and the New Wars" course is Jihad vs. McWorld, by Benjamin Barber. The author argues against the spread of capitalism and Western ideologies, ascribing the Arab world's rising anti-American hatred to resentments over the great success of U.S. businesses such as McDonald's. The professor who instructs this class is James Skelly, a U.S. Navy officer in the 1960s who later refused to serve in the Vietnam War and, in the early 1970s, worked with Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland as the "political coordinator" for the "Free The Army" show, whose goal was to the incite the mass insubordination of American troops in Vietnam. Skelly is the West Coast founder of the Concerned Officers' Movement, an anti-Vietnam War organization comprised mainly of naval officers. He also established the Peace Studies Association, which endorses such books as David Barash'sIntroduction to Peace Studies;Albert Curry Winn's Ain't Gonna Study War No More;Edward Said's Culture and Imperialism;andNoam Chomsky'sWhat Uncle Sam Really Wants.
Andrew Murray serves as Director of the Baker Institute, and Professor of Religion and PACS. In 2002, he was one offifty members of the Juniata College faculty to sign a resolution opposing a U.S. invasion against Saddam Hussein’s regime.
The Baker Institute houses the Juniata Student Peace Organization, whose stated goal is "to promote awareness of Peace and Conflict Studies and its ideals through activism, education, and collaboration within the local, national and global spheres of influence."
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