2020 Essence of Humanities and Social Sciences32: Peace Studies

Font size  SML

Register update notification mail Add to favorite lecture list
Academic unit or major
Humanities and social science courses
Shirai Yuko 
Course component(s)
Mode of instruction
Day/Period(Room No.)
Intensive (Zoom)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

This course explores topics within the broad field of peace studies and introduces real world case studies that focus on issues that are faced by those who pursue peace within our societies. The course begins with an examination of theoretical concepts that form the foundation of peace studies, and expands the issues examined into agriculture, the environment, human-ecology, the history and foundation of agricultural and industrial revolutions, capitalism, hierarchical society, and environmental and food problems. After this each week will focus on specific examples from various countries, some of which the instructor has investigated in the field. The case studies will help students to understand some of the complications faced by leading peaceful societies. Key themes throughout the course include global warming and garbage problems in the Arctic, historical conflicts in Southeast Asia, and the pollution experience of Japan. The case of the poverty reduction policy in Thailand and the involvement of Japan ODA, as well as the concept of systems thinking and approaches provide examples of practical approaches and theoretical tools for solving issues.
This course aims to provide participants with an interdisciplinary viewpoint for encouraging peace in societies. More specifically, the course provides participants with the ability to recognize and investigate problems from multiple perspectives and consider multi-disciplinary solutions, as well as how to put potential solutions into practice in order to achieve the goal of developing peaceful societies. Through having interdisciplinary discussions regarding lessons learned from historical events and contemporary issues around the world, participants will be encouraged to contribute to making a better world.

Student learning outcomes

Participants will:
(1) Understand theoretical concepts of peace studies;
(2) Analyze historical events and contemporary issues using systems thinking and approaches;
(3) Understand broad issues around the world related to peace studies and analyze these from an interdisciplinary viewpoint;
(4) Analyze issues related to peace studies, present and debate about the issues, and suggest solutions by employing knowledge and information learned during the class.


Peace; Human and Environment; Interdisciplinary Viewpoint; System Thinking and Approaches; International Relations

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Class is scheduled as follows;
Monday 15th Feb: Class 1 (14:20-16:00), Class 2(16:15-17:55)
Tuesday 16th Feb: Class 3 (14:20-16:00), Class 4(16:15-17:55)
Wednesday 17th Feb: Class 5 (14:20-16:00), Class 6(16:15-17:55)
Thursday 18th Feb: Class 7 (14:20-16:00)

Class time will be used for short lectures and discussion, and group exercises including group discussions and presentations. Attendance is taken in every class.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Course Introduction – Thinking of Peace Introduction to the broad aspects of peace studies and the concept of systems thinking and approaches. Learning the origin of environmental problems and hierarchical society through agrarian and industrial revolutions.
Class 2 Learning from Case Study:Rivers, Grasslands, Mountains, Oceans Analyzing the blessing of nature and risk considering peaceful societies from different livelihood systems in different environments.
Class 3 Learning from Case Study: Global Warming and the Arctic Understanding complex interactions among the subject matter through the issue of global warming and the case of the garbage problem in the Arctic.
Class 4 Learning from Case Study:Urban Cities and Remote Areas; Poverty Reduction Policy in Thailand and Japan ODA Analyzing urbanization and related issues through the case of rural villages in Northeast Thailand including their changing economy, culture, family size and household structures.Focus on possible solutions through the case study of "self-sufficiency economy" theory in Thailand for poverty reduction, and the involvement of Japan ODA.
Class 5 Learning from Case Study: History of Conflict in Southeast Asia Understanding the complexity of conflict through the case of the civil war in Cambodia and the Vietnam War.
Class 6 Learning from Case Study:Environment and Agriculture of Japan Analyzing environmental issues and the food problem by investigating the case study of rapid economic growth in Japan.
Class 7 Wrap Up:What can we do to bring "Peace" into societies?, Guidance for final report writing Analyzing current or future issues and discussing the solutions for creating a peaceful societies.


None required. Some materials will be specified by the instructor during the class.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

None required. Materials used in class can be found on OCW-i.

Assessment criteria and methods

Critical analysis and discussion by group (30%); Oral presentation (30%); Report (40%). Note: Full attendance and completion of all exercises are compulsory. The instructor may fail a student if he/she repeatedly comes to class late and/or does not participate in a group work.

Related courses

  • LAH.S426 : Essence of Humanities and Social Sciences26:International Relations

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisites are necessary.


The lecture will be provided through online synchronous teaching. The lecturer will be online and lecturing over video via ‘zoom’ and students will be required to be online at the same time to join the class, during the online lecture session. Students are expected to be online at the specific time and attendance will be taken when each student is online, during the lecture session. Group work sessions and presentations are implemented via a function of the "zoom breakout session": during the regular "zoom" lecture, students will go into "breakout session" to work on group work. Once that is complete, the students will rejoin the main "zoom" lecture session and report on the results of their breakout session.

Page Top