This seven week, online course examines the anthropological, theoretical and ethnographic approaches to the study of peace and justice while incorporating scholarship from other social science disciplines. Topics covered will include issues of violence, nonviolence, international law, social movements, economic justice, environmental racism, memory, and trauma. Students will explore thematic issues (e.g. human rights, rule of law, environmental justice, economic justice, political violence, sovereignty, activism, etc.) by developing critical analytical frameworks. Course lectures and assignments will be posted online, through the Word Press and D2L websites.



Devon Miller, a cultural anthropology doctoral student at MSU, will be instructing the course. Please contact him with questions regarding readings and assignments.  Dr. Elizabeth Drexler and additional guests will be doing the recorded lectures for this class.



Course load: You should expect to spend an average of 6 hours a week on this course. This includes reading articles, visiting websites, writing posts/comments, watching videos, completing assignments, etc. Because the type of work varies from week to week, the course load will fluctuate over the semester.  This is a writing-intensive course (blogs and short answers), so please make time for it.

WEEKLY SCHEDULE: You will follow a pretty standard format for the week to help you remember to turn things in on time.  There are three assignments each week (blog posts, blog post comments, and short answers) based on the weekly content.

  • Everyday: Log on to WordPress (WP), watch recorded lectures, read assigned materials, read others’ blog posts, check for announcements, etc.
  • Monday: New schedules/assignments for the week are released under the “Schedule” tab on WP
  • Friday: All blog post assignments are due by 11:59pm EST on WP
  • Sunday: All blog post comments and short answer assignments are due by 11:59pm EST on WP

Weeks 1 through 5 will be as stated above.  Weeks 6 and 7 will be combined, with the assignments posted on Monday August 8th and are expected to be submitted no later than 11:59 pm EST on Saturday, August 13th (blog posts) and Wednesday, August 17th (blog post comments and short answers).

No late assignments will be accepted. There is no midterm or final exam for this course, and extra credit is not offered.

  • Blog Post: Every week, students are expected to critically answer a question regarding the respective week’s topic through a blog post on WordPress by Friday. Blog posts should be between 300 and 350 words and points are awarded on a pass/fail basis. If you need help figuring out how to post blogs on WordPress, please check out the following tutorial: http://www.screencast.com/t/EQ1BFgvI
  • Blog Post Comments: Students are expected to critically comment on 2 other student’s blog posts on WordPress by Sunday. Comments should be between 100 and 150 words and points are awarded on a pass/fail basis.
  • Short answer: Students are expected to critically answer a question regarding the respective week’s topic through a short answer submission on WordPress by Sunday. Answers should be between 500 and 600 words and points are awarded based on a rubric scale.

DUE DATES AND SUBMITTING ASSIGNMENTS:  Due dates are not negotiable. All assignments are to be submitted on their specific due date (please refer to the weekly schedule for exact due dates). If you know ahead of time that you are going to be away from a computer when an assignment is due, it is your responsibility to submit it before the due date if you don’t want to be penalized.

Only under extreme (and documented) circumstances will students be allowed to submit assignments after the due date without being penalized.

Why? We’re all adults. Doing things on time is something that will be expected of you in the “real” world (i.e., when you get a job after college). Part of college is developing habits and attitudes towards work that will help you be a better professional: figuring out how to get your work done efficiently and on time is one of those skills. If you need some resources to help you with this, visit MSU’s Learning Resource Center, or contacting your instructor about establishing better study and work habits.



To take this class, all you need is a browser (Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Google Chrome are preferred) and a high speed Internet connection. While you can connect to many of the course materials using a slower Internet connection, there are some things that you simply will not be able to access (such as the course videos or lecture videos). We understand that computers are not infallible. However, it is your responsibility to resolve any technical issues that originate on your end.

WordPress: This class in based in WordPress (where you are now) – this is where all of the course materials (videos, readings, links, etc.) are posted. This is also where you will be posting to the course blog and leaving comments. Most importantly, all course announcements are posted on this site which means you need to log into this site at least once a day.

Desire 2 Learn: We will be using D2L for the grade book which we will update periodically through the semester. Other than that, you do not need to check D2L for any course materials or announcements.



A lot of the content of this class is delivered using video. Some of the videos are embedded into the schedule (most course lectures) while others are linked to outside websites (screencast, youtube, etc.)

In order to ensure that you have the best experience with this video material, make sure you are using an up to date version of a modern browser (such as Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Google Chrome) and are accessing the course materials over a high speed Internet connection. While you can access much of the course content over a slower Internet connection, you need a high speed connection for the course video materials.

In order to access the video materials, you may need to login with a password – this is the same for everyone and should have been sent to you in an email.



This class does not have an assigned textbook.  All of the assigned readings are posted on the WordPress site (either as online articles or downloadable PDFs). It is extremely important that all readings are completed, as you will be expected to incorporate their information into your assignments.  If you do not keep up with the readings, you will not do well in this class.



In accordance with Michigan State University’s policies on “Protection of Scholarship and Grades” and “Integrity of Scholarship and Grades,” students are expected to honor principles of truth and honesty in their academic work. Academic integrity means, amongst other things, not plagiarizing. Plagiarism includes submitting anothers work (words, ideas, etc.) as their own now will the knowingly permit another student to copy and submit their work. Additional discussion of academic integrity is available on the Ombudsperson’s website.

Why? If you have to ask this question, you should probably drop the class. You are here to learn, and any form of cheating or plagiarism is not helping you learn: it’s wasting your time and my time, not to mention the money you’ve spent on taking this class. If you’re unsure about whether or not you’re plagiarizing, contact your instructor ASAP – they will happily help you figure it out, because it is important that you do your own work, and give appropriate credit to the people whose work you are using to support your conclusions.



Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities at 517-884-RCPD or on the web at rcpd.msu.edu. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a verified individual services accommodation (“VISA”) form. Please present this form to me at the start of the term and/or two weeks prior to the accommodation date (test, project, etc). Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Image Attribution

Photo “Dogman 1” by Flickr user Danny Hammontree/ Creative Commons licensed BY–NC-ND-2.0