Office Hours: M 2-4, Th 2-3 or by appt.
Cultures in Conflict
Course Theme and Learning Goals
This lecture and discussion course places cultural conflicts of the present in the
perspective of world history.
Why has globalization, usually taken to mean the
integration of nations and peoples through trade, technology, media, and other forces,
been accompanied by a recurrence of national, religious, and ethnic conflicts in so many
parts of the world? An examination of some of such conflicts, mostly since about 1300
but some from antiquity and prehistory, may help provide some answers.
Upon completion of this course, students should be familiar with the nature and causes of
major cultural conflicts – why some cultures that regard each other as alien enter into
conflict and why others do not, the differing forms such conflicts take, how states and
political regimes affect the likelihood of their outbreak, and how the reasons for their
appearance or reappearance today may lie buried deep in the past.
Requirements for the course include attendance at all classes, six 2-page response papers,
one due at each of the six discussion classes (I will provide a question for each paper,
based on the readings and the lectures), a midterm exam, and a final term paper of 8-10
pages which will examine the cultural origins and dimensions of a particular conflict or
dispute today. I will provide guidelines for this paper, which will be due on the last day
of class. The midterm will account for about one third of the course grade, the short