Academic Peace Studies

In the United States, there has been a growing interest in what is known as peace or conflict studies. In this field, students and researchers examine what factors lead to conflict, both violent and nonviolent and how to best deal with conflict resolution. The idea is that a better understanding of what makes people disagree will lead to open discourse about important topics and lead to a higher level of peace in the world. To complete a peace studies program, individual courses can come from a variety of fields, including political science, psychology, history, religious studies, economics, sociology, international relations, anthropology, and gender studies.

For American students, the first courses and university offerings to deal with peace studies came as a result of the Civil War. Because of the many lives that were lost and the destruction that occurred as a result of the war, academics and politicians were more interested more than ever about how to avoid a situation like the Civil War from happening again. The academic study of peace grew by leaps and bounds after the United States was involved in both of the World Wars. In fact, President Woodrow Wilson presented a famous study about peace, called the Fourteen Points for Peacemaking, at the Peace of Paris conference in 1919.

As peace studies have become more popular in the past years, there have been several trade publications and websites created to assist in bringing more awareness to the subject. One of the most influential academic magazines in this regard is the Journal of Conflict Resolution. In addition, the American branch of the international Peace and Justice Studies Association organization publishes a standard newsletter, called The Peace Chronicle, to keep members up to date about all of the latest happenings in the academic peace studies world and lists all available upcoming conferences.