Question ( what we are supposed to write about): What insights from peace studies,
as we’ve examined it, could activists use in order to work to end (or at least significantly
undermine) the form of structural violence that you choose from the above list?
essay should have the following structure:
1) Write an introduction with a clear thesis making a claim about the insights from peace
studies that nonviolent activists could use to work to end this form of structural violence, and
the barriers to doing so. Please put your thesis in bold type.
2) Write a paragraph (or at most two paragraphs) describing at least two barriers that exist in
current societies that would make achieving the overthrow of this form of structural violence
particularly challenging. What powerful institutions in society might oppose these changes?
This section should be significantly shorter than the next section of the essay body.
3) What insights from peace studies could be used to overcome these barriers, struggle for
change, build movements to resist current injustices, create alternatives, and change,
transform, and/or replace existing institutions and existing systematic practices of the form
of structural violence that you chose? Another way of asking this question is what might
various activists do about this problem? This should be the longest section of the essay. Draw
on materials from throughout the course. Show me you’ve been paying attention.
4) Write a conclusion of approximately one paragraph in which you articulate a vision of what
societies would look like after the activism you propose has achieved major victories.
Articulate a vision of the kind of positive peace you’re trying to create that might attract
many people to want to participate in the activities you’re describing in the other sections. Continued on reverse…
Two pieces of advice:
DON’T limit yourself only to theorists who talk directly about the problem you’re addressing. In
other words, if you’re addressing ecological destruction, do draw on authors who talk about
addressing other forms of violence. To give just one example, the methods used by civil rights
movement activists who confronted racism (e.g. by using sit-ins) might be useful to someone
confronting ecological destruction.
DO draw on many sections of the course: conflict transformation theories, analyses of the causes of
interpersonal violence, interpersonal conflict resolution, the dynamics of warfare and war
resistance, theories of positive peace, principles and practices of nonviolent struggle, nonviolence
theories, and visions of positive peace. Invoke examples from historical struggles that we’ve read
about AND make reference to ideas about how nonviolent social change can be pursued (nonviolence
theories) that we’ve studied.
Sources to use:
Little book of conflict transformation by lederach, john paul.
Uprooting War by martin, Brian.
Gene Sharp “Bringing Down a dictator”
People Power by Clark, Howard ed.
Don’t Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America by Kennedy, David M.