Lecture Schedule: Tuesday and Thursday | 2:00 P.M. – 3:15 P.M.
Faculty: Jared McBride | Undergraduate Education Initiatives, Coordinator
Aliza Luft | Sociology
Geoffrey Robinson | History
Michael Rothberg | English
Librarian: Diane Mizrachi| Powell Library
Writing Consultant: Peggy Davis | Writing Programs
Inquiry Specialist: Alana Enriquez

Everywhere we turn today there are seemingly endless examples of political violence. Political violence, which can include ethnic cleansing and genocide, civil war, riots and pogroms, terrorism and state repression, revolution and counter-revolution, extra-legal warfare, and more, affects communities in every corner of the globe. Thus, even though this topic may be difficult to confront, it requires engagement. Our cluster probes the causes, dynamics, and consequences of political violence with a focus on three different case studies. In examining political violence, students will engage with a variety of materials from multiple disciplinary perspectives, including memoirs, literature, and testimony, as well as theoretical and methodological debates about dehumanization, killing, and justice.

What are the Benefits?

  • Satisfy 4 GEs requirements
  • Satisfy Writing II requirement
  • 18 units toward degree
  • College Honors units including Honors Collegium
  • Priority Enrollment in Eng. Comp. 3

Writing II and Foundation Area General Education Credit

Upon completion of the yearlong cluster, students will fulfill the Writing II requirement and satisfy 4 GE course requirements:

  • 1 in Foundations of the Arts & Humanities (1 in Literary and Cultural Analysis)
  • 3 in Foundations of Society & Culture (1 in Social Analysis; 2 in Historical Analysis)

Diversity Requirement

Upon completion of all three quarters of the cluster, students in the College of Letters and Science and the Schools of Music and Public Affairs will satisfy the diversity course requirement. Students in the School of the Arts and Architecture should consult with an advisor in the Office of Student Services.

Course Format

During fall and winter quarters, the course meets twice a week for lectures and once a week for a two-hour section discussion. There is a temporal chronology to the study of political violence that runs across the two quarters. In the fall, we will explore causal factors, asking questions about the roles of political and economic conditions and ideology in contributing to violence. We will also study the dynamics of political violence, asking questions about what violence looks like, why people participate, and what accounts for variation throughout a conflict. In the winter, we will focus on the aftermath of violence, looking at questions of justice, trauma and testimony, cultural responses, and memory.

Film Screenings

In the fall quarter, we will watch a powerful drama about the Rwandan Genocide titled Sometimes in April (2005), directed by Raoul Peck and staring Idris Elba. In the winter quarter, we will watch the award-winning documentary, The Look of Silence (2014), directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, which explores the aftermath and legacy of Indonesian mass violence in 1965-66. Both films will be showing in the evening.

Field Trip/Special Events

In November, we will go to the USC Shoah Foundation to learn about and engage with one of the world’s preeminent video testimony archives. Originally created to collect and store tens of thousands of testimonies about the Holocaust, the archive now houses testimonies from a total of nine genocidal events. During our visit, we will get a behind-the-scenes tour of the archive, learn about its history, and participate in hands-on exercises with the testimonies.

In winter quarter, we will host an evening round-table event with The Promise Institute for Human Rights at the UCLA Law School. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a conversation with some of the world’s leading legal experts on global human rights.

Spring Seminars

During spring quarter, students choose a seminar that allows them to explore a particular topic in greater depth. The seminars will be announced in winter quarter 2020.