Paradoxes of War

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Beschrijving

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About this course: The Paradoxes of War teaches us to understand that war is not only a normal part of human existence, but is arguably one of the most important factors in making us who we are. Through this course, I hope that you will come to appreciate that war is both a natural expression of common human emotions and interactions and a constitutive part of how we cohere as groups. That is, war is paradoxically an expression of our basest animal nature and the exemplar of our most vaunted and valued civilized virtues. You will learn some basic military history and sociology in this course as a lens for the more important purpose of seeing the broader social themes and issues related …

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: The Paradoxes of War teaches us to understand that war is not only a normal part of human existence, but is arguably one of the most important factors in making us who we are. Through this course, I hope that you will come to appreciate that war is both a natural expression of common human emotions and interactions and a constitutive part of how we cohere as groups. That is, war is paradoxically an expression of our basest animal nature and the exemplar of our most vaunted and valued civilized virtues. You will learn some basic military history and sociology in this course as a lens for the more important purpose of seeing the broader social themes and issues related to war. I want you to both learn about war, but more importantly, use it as way of understanding your everyday social world. So, for example, the discussion of war and gender will serve to start you thinking about how expectations of masculinity are created and our discussion of nationalism will make clear how easy “us-them” dichotomies can be established and (ab)used. I will suggest some readings for you to complement the class and assign some activities through which you will be able to apply the theoretical insights from the course to your observations of everyday life. At the end of the course, you will start to see war everywhere and come to appreciate how much it defines our life.

Created by:  Princeton University
  • Taught by:  Miguel A. Centeno, Musgrave Professor of Sociology and Professor of Sociology and International Affairs

    Sociology
Language English How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.6 stars Average User Rating 4.6See what learners said Coursework

Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.

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Princeton University Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. It is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Introduction/Welcome
The basic paradoxes of war: how it builds and destroys, produces love and hate are discussed. Outline of course and general expectations.


1 video, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Welcome
  2. Reading: Suggested Readings


WEEK 2


The Nature of War
War is a product of both “natural” instincts and a social creation involving the imposition of organization and authority structures.


5 videos expand


  1. Video: Introduction
  2. Video: The Nature of War
  3. Video: Why Do We Study War?
  4. Video: The Uses of War/The Western Way of War
  5. Video: Nature of Aggression/Criteria of War/Defining the WWW


WEEK 3


The Causes of War
Causes of war may be described as material, cultural, and psychological. At the heart of war is the product of us-them dynamics.


5 videos expand


  1. Video: The Paradox of War/Is War Universal?
  2. Video: Is War Unique to Humans?/Is War Natural?
  3. Video: War and Gender
  4. Video: Humanity of War/Perspectives on War
  5. Video: Perspectives on War, cont./A Future Perspective


WEEK 4


The Experience of War
In order to understand the social creation of war we need to appreciate that this is an activity VERY few would engage in with control or inducement.


7 videos expand


  1. Video: The Battlefield
  2. Video: The Soldier's Inner Landscape
  3. Video: Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat
  4. Video: Fear
  5. Video: Endurance
  6. Video: Atrocities
  7. Video: Office Hours I


WEEK 5


Making Warriors
Warriors are taught a set of values of which duty and honor are fundamental. These are taught through the imposition of discipline.


7 videos expand


  1. Video: Coercion/The Ideal Soldier
  2. Video: The Joy of Battle
  3. Video: Camaraderie
  4. Video: Leadership and Faith
  5. Video: Honor
  6. Video: Courage
  7. Video: Duty and Discipline


WEEK 6


The War of Armies
Wars are about organized violence and this part of the course traces the managerial and technological developments necessary to culminate in total wars.


7 videos expand


  1. Video: Progress of War & Structure of Armies- Ancient and Feudal
  2. Video: Structure of Armies- Stipendiary and Contract
  3. Video: Structure of Armies- State-commission, Popular Conscript, and Volunteer-technical
  4. Video: Operational
  5. Video: Logistical and Technological
  6. Video: Social
  7. Video: Office Hours II


WEEK 7


The Progress of Battle
Historical overview of battle formations from phalanx to gunpowder revolution to industrialized war.


7 videos expand


  1. Video: The Progress of Battle
  2. Video: Phalanx
  3. Video: Legion
  4. Video: Cavalry
  5. Video: Gunpowder and the Tercio
  6. Video: War of the Lines
  7. Video: Industrial War
  8. Peer Review: Peer Review: Midterm Assignment


WEEK 8


The War of Societies
Wars can also be about societal survival and we look at three examples: conquest, genocide, and strategic bombing.


8 videos expand


  1. Video: The War of Societies
  2. Video: Conquest
  3. Video: The Americas
  4. Video: Asia
  5. Video: Africa
  6. Video: Genocide
  7. Video: Strategic Bombing
  8. Video: Office Hours III


WEEK 9


Social Aspects of War: Nation State and Nationalism
Wars help build states and nationalism


4 videos expand


  1. Video: War and State Building
  2. Video: Taxation
  3. Video: War and National Wealth
  4. Video: Nationalism and Monuments


WEEK 10


Social Aspects of War: Democracy, Citizenship, and Social Equality
Wars also develop citizenship and democratic demands


5 videos expand


  1. Video: War and Citizenship I
  2. Video: War and Citizenship II
  3. Video: War and Social Equality
  4. Video: Race, Class, and Gender in the US Armed Forces
  5. Video: Office Hours IV


WEEK 11


The Rise of the Rest
While the West was dominant for 500 years, beginning in 1945 new forms of war have challenged the technological and organizational supremacy of old empires.


5 videos expand


  1. Video: Limits of Conquest
  2. Video: Insurgency I
  3. Video: Insurgency II
  4. Video: Terrorism
  5. Video: Vietnam and Iraq


WEEK 12


New Challenges
Wars are not fought as they were yet militaries are still organized anachronistically.


4 videos expand


  1. Video: Introduction/Major Theatre Wars
  2. Video: Fight for Resources/US Military Reach
  3. Video: Breakup of States/Terrorism
  4. Video: Office Hours V


WEEK 13


Final Lecture
Summary of the class.


2 videos expand


  1. Video: Final Lecture
  2. Peer Review: Peer Review: Final Exam
  3. Video: Office Hours VI

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