This week, my friend Doug Irvin-Erickson is off in Norway for a conference on genocide prevention, so I get to teach his class on the nature of conflict. Since he actually covered much of that topic the first session, I decided to cast a very broad net to set the analytical and political agenda for the course—and for the rest of the students’ lives.
This week begins a new school year in which I’ll be playing a small part in teaching an introductory course on conflict in our world at George Mason University. I’m not the lead instructor, and I’ll mostly be listening and learning, looking for material to use in the textbook I’m writing with Doug Irvin-Erickson, who is the actual instructor. Still, I can’t NOT worry about the challenges and responsibilities that come with teaching about peace and conflict studies now that we are almost two years into the Trump administration. Some of the questions I ask are the same ones that have been around since I was on the other side of the professorial desk in the 1960s. Some of them are new.
Are We Family? I recently read AJ Jacobs’ It’s All Relative and reviewed it on my web site. It made me think a lot (as well as laugh a lot), so I thought I would spend this week’s blog post reflecting on what I take to be his implications for the work I do as a peacebuilder and a student of comparative politics. The book traces the way Jacobs used his global family reunion and its meme, “I am a cousin,” to help people see that we are all connected and, indeed, (distantly) related. Jacobs is a writer, not an activist. So, it is hardly surprising that he didn’t take some of the implications of “we are [...]
Round number birthdays are always a good time to reflect on the past and ponder the future. Given who I am, that means thinking about the political times we are in, how we got there, and what we could do about it. For just about everyone I know and wherever we live, these are not good times. So, it made sense for me to think about the political past, present, and future in the week when I simultaneously turned 70, launched www.charleshauss.info, and agreed to do a core peacebuilding textbook. In these and the other projects I’m working on, my goal is to encourage as many people as I [...]