Course Catalog

01:988:270 War: Critical Perspectives


What are the lived experiences, cultures and historical contexts of war? This course will allow students to grasp the complex mappings of war and to grapple with reconfigurations of gendered, raced, classed, sexual and national subjectivities linked to war. The global focus of this course will cover topics ranging from genocide and dirty wars to insurrectionary wars, where nation-building, gender formations, labor regimes and production practices are often dependent on legacies of war, terror and state terror, informing everything from labor and productive relations to economic development strategies, labor migration and neighborhood geographies to relations between neighbors in the aftermath. We will compare post-September 11 migration trajectories of South Asians to earlier trajectories of Central Americans during the civil war, genocide and state terror of the 1980s. Incorporating cutting-edge research, the course will offer new ways of understanding war. By shifting the analytic frame from a focus on war as an instrument of statecraft and a means of destruction to war as a mode of production and reproduction, it will consider how nations, and subjectivities, are produced, contested, reproduced and transformed through war in ways that involve racialization and gendering. Indeed, in the course, we will examine subject production, nationalism, gender, race, class, sexuality and citizenship as formations that are integral both to statecraft and to insurrection.

Learning Goals

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to (1) identify the modes of war: “conventional” war, genocide; guerrilla war, dirty war, insurrection; (2) identify the long-term causes and effects of war; (3) understand the relationship between war, gender, race, nationalism, citizenship, class and sexuality; (4) be able to use interdisciplinary concepts (developed in sociology, gender studies, visual studies, legal theory, political science, anthropology, history and literature) relating to war in various parts of history and geographical locations; (5) critically assess the impact of war on subject formation, statecraft, nation-building, economic formations and everyday life.