Jul 15, 2024  
2022-2023 Catalog 
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ANTH115 HM - War and Conflict

Credit(s): 3

Instructor(s): de Laet

Description: “The wings of the butterfly—that cause the hurricane at the other end of the earth—aren’t guilty, right? … no one is.” “Just the opposite,” replies Faulques. “We are all a part of the monster that moves us around the chessboard.” As Faulques—the painter/ war-photographer protagonist in Perez-Reverte’s novel The Painter of Battles—sees it, war and destruction and their attendant personal horrors are more ordinary, more typical of human beings than peace and civil order. But while chaos has its own rules and symmetries and nothing is coincidental or happens by chance, as spectators we are complicit in the occurrences of violent upheaval about which we read each day in The New York Times. We will investigate this premise. How do we explain war; what is it for? What does war do to us—distant or not-so-distant spectators—and to others—willing or unwilling participants? Is war endemic to the human condition? Is it a necessary evil? Does it emerge from psychologi­cal and irrational “drives,” or from economic, rational considerations? If we have a talent for war, do we have a talent for peace?

HSA Course Area(s): Anthropology
HSA Writing Intensive: Yes