The door to the Stephens Hall room that gave the “Peace” discipline a space on campus since 2003 is blank. Even the original metal sign that read “Peace and Conflict Studies Program,” formerly located outside its entrance, disappeared soon after the program moved to Stephens Hall in 2003.
Now, peace and conflict studies, or PACS, is undergoing another visibility change — this time impacting how the program will exist on campus. After spring 2018, PACS will no longer be a specific major that students can declare. International and Area Studies, or IAS, announced in spring 2016 that five out of six IAS majors, including PACS, would instead be consolidated into a global studies major.
PACS, along with development studies, will be part of two out of the three disciplinary “tracks” of the new global studies major — named “Global Peace and Conflict” and “Global Development,” respectively. The third track, which is new to the IAS curriculum, is called “Global Societies and Cultures.”
Global Studies was not created to help resolve the campus’s growing deficit but rather aims to address the curricular relevance of the five transitioning majors and provide them with easier access to resources, said Maximilian Auffhammer, director of IAS from 2010-15 and current director of global studies, in a previous article.
While Auffhammer said he believes the disciplinary teaching of PACS are important to the campus curriculum, he emphasized that combining the field of PACS with area studies and language training is necessary in the shifting social sciences.
“Losing identity for PACS when it’s the only demonstration of interest in that whole field on the campus is a drastic loss.”
– Michael Nagler, co-founder of PACS
PACS has always been limited in terms of its resources and visibility on campus, alleged Michael Nagler, who taught on campus as a professor from 1966 to to 2007 and is the co-founder of PACS. He added that the study of “peace” and “nonviolence,” which PACS has at its core, is intellectually valuable. Nagler said he believes it is important for different disciplines to crossover, but that the consolidation of PACS into global studies is a loss for the campus community.
“I agree that we need intellectual coherence, but this is not the way to go about it,” Nagler said in an email. “Losing identity for PACS when it’s the only demonstration of interest in that whole field on the campus is a drastic loss.”
The birth of global studies
The discussion surrounding the creation of a global studies program was first initiated by IAS in 2015 to address the curricular relevance of the five IAS majors, according to Auffhammer.
Auffhammer added that global studies was also created to strengthen the representation of the five transitioning majors in the context of the “larger campus administrative landscape,” many of which were lacking resources, such as easier access to certain classes.