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LEGACY OF WAR

Michael Thomas, mthomas@unm.edu
Course Website: https://rootsofwar.weebly.com/

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Humans have an extraordinary propensity for violence against one another. This propensity, while not technically unique to humans, still sets us apart from our animal peers. The ubiquity and scale of human violence is something special. A visitor from another planet would certainly conclude that humans are obsessed with violence, torture, and murder. The societal expression of this capacity is war. This seminar is a preliminary inquiry into the roots of war.

READINGS AND TEXTS

Homer, The Iliad (Lombardo Trans)
Chris Hedges, War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, On Killing
James Hillman, A Terrible Love of War
William Strunk and E.B. White, Elements of Style

 

FILMS AND OTHER COURSE MATERIALS

Robert Gardener - DEAD BIRDS
Errol Morris, THE FOG OF WAR - Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert McNamera

Podcasts

BBC - The My Lai Audio Files
War Ballads Collection

 

STUDENT REQUIREMENTS

EMPHASIS: The class is a reading/discussion class. Objectives of the class include development of the following skills: 1) Writing, 2) Leadership and facilitative behavior in groups, 3) Reflective thinking, 4) Global thinking, 5) Critical Thinking. 6) Professionalism

ACTIVITIES: The class will consist of discussions, occasional instructor "lecturettes,” and several media presentations (films, audio programs). All students are expected to participate in all activities, including discussions.

REQUIREMENTS/GRADES: Grades are based on evaluations of Six one page reaction papers (5 x 5= 25 points), a five page essay (15 points), a 1-2 page research project proposal (5 points), a six page research paper (15 points) In-class research presentation (10 points), attendance at three lectures or similar events (10 points - all or none), plus an assessment of participation (20 points).
A: 88-100, Cr: 65-87, Ncr: 64 or less.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Dr. Thomas is an anthropologist. A New Mexico native, he got his BA from UNM and his PhD. from the University of Washington. He writes fiction and has four published novels and numerous short stories. He was born on the first day of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials at the end of WWII. During the course of his life the US has fought four wars and endured three decades of the Cold War. He has some reflections and views on the subject of war.