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Who We Are
Life is conflict. Life is cooperation. Both define the human condition. Conflict will never be eliminated, nor should it be, because conflict can foster change. But conflict can be approached in ways that do not involve mass killings, assaults on human rights, and oppressive structural violence that creates the appearance of order while people suffer. The newly created Master’s Program (and Bachelor’s/Master’s Program) in Peace and Conflict Studies within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-Newark offers a unique approach to the issues which will shape our future. Based in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, this program prepares students for further scholarship or employment in three areas: the social bases of peace and conflict, the causes of large-scale violence, and nonviolent social conflict and recovery from violence. Students will also have opportunities for research and practical internships associated with the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, and the International Institute for Peace, whose Directors are faculty members of the Master’s Program. The Center and Institute bring scholars, policy makers, peacemakers, projects, and events to our campus, and connect us to researchers, practitioners, and peacebuilding communities around the world.
What Makes Us Unique
There are many good programs covering peace and conflict issues, but ours is different in two ways. First, the Master’s is based in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and is oriented to the social bases of conflict and cooperation, of war and peace. Social dimensions include topics of migration, economic development, environmental degradation, inequality, education, race, ethnicity, religion, and gender. Beyond the Sociology/Anthropology Core Faculty and courses, the program is very interdisciplinary. Associate faculty, including both Newark and New Brunswick campuses, come from programs and departments of Political Science, Global Affairs, History, English, Criminal Justice, Psychology, Economics, and Religion.
Second, we expect graduates to have dual competence in understanding violent conflict, such as war, genocide, ethnic violence, and terrorism; and in nonviolence, including both nonviolent prosecution of conflict as through social movements and civil resistance, and in moving away from violent struggle toward reconciliation, justice, and sustainable peace.
Our students will be prepared to continue toward a higher degree in the most demanding PhD programs. They also will attain a most valuable competence for employment by any governmental agency, NGO, or business working in areas of high social conflict—the ability to analyze and communicate about complex situations, understanding the interacting factors that lead to nonviolent social movements or to large scale violence, ways to mitigate destructive conflict, and move forward toward sustainable peace.