Course # 01:090:293:H1
Index # 06605
Monday 08:30 AM - 11:30 AM (1,2)
Campus: CAC
Location: HC - S126
Professor Jack Levy (Political Science)

 Events of the last two years appear to reinforce the argument, often attributed to Santayana, that “only the dead have seen the end of war.” They remind us that humanity faces few greater challenges than eliminating war, or at least limiting its frequency and severity. That task requires that we first understand what causes war. Philosophers and others have been searching for an answer to this question for over two millennia, but they have yet to reach a consensus about why wars occur.

This seminar engages longstanding scholarly debates about the causes of war in philosophy, biology, evolutionary theory, primatology, anthropology, archaeology, sociology, psychology, political science, economics, military science, history, theology, gender studies, and international law. Among the questions we ask are. What is war? Is war “natural,” perhaps biologically determined, or is it shaped by politics and culture and hence possibly reversible? Are the causes of war to be found in the structure of the international system and the realpolitik behavior it induces; in the nature of domestic political or economic systems, ideologies, religion, and nationalism; in the political influence and belligerent attitudes of military bureaucracies; or in the belief systems, personalities, and misperceptions of individual political leaders? Is it even possible to generalize about something as complex and varied as war, or are all wars unique?

About Professor Levy

JACK LEVY is Board of Governors’ Professor at Rutgers University and an Affiliate of the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. He received a B.S. in Physics from Harvey Mudd College and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He held tenured positions at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Minnesota before coming to Rutgers in 1989. He has also held visiting or adjunct positions at Tulane, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, NYU, Aoyama Gakuin, and Columbia University. Levy received APSA's Helen Dwight Reid Award for the best dissertation in International Relations in 1975-76, and the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Foreign Policy Analysis Section of the International Studies Association (2000). He is a past president of the International Studies Association (2007-08) and of the Peace Science Society International (2005-06). Levy was listed (PS, 2007) among the top twenty most widely cited international relations scholars.

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