Course Descriptions IN the Balkans

Course I
Introduction to the Balkans: History, Culture, Politics and Religion
(4 credits)
Lead instructor: Petra Belkovic Taylor
This course will serve as a broad introduction to the history and culture of the Balkans with special attention to recent events and tensions of political and religious significance. The course will feature a series of guest lectures by local cultural, political, religious and literary figures and will involve regular excursions to points of interest both within Zagreb and in the surrounding areas. The course will conclude in mid-May with our 10-day journey through the Balkans. The course will also include weekly language instruction designed to help students become acquainted with local customs and orient themselves within the culture.

Course II
Balkan Literature: Literature and Human Rights
(4 credits)
Instructor: Petra Belkovic Taylor
Through reading the major works of Balkan literature, the second course will allow students to experience and better understand historical circumstances and life during and after wars in the Balkans. It will give flesh and bone to the theoretical concepts studied throughout the semester, and raise questions such as those regarding the relationships between nationalism and literature, an individual’s private life and volatile political regimes and the role of writers and written arts in times of war. The influences of other Eastern and Western European literature (such as Russian, Polish, Czech, German, Austrian and French) that have had significant impact on the development of Balkan Literature will also be discussed.

Course III
War and Peace: Philosophical and Theological Perspectives
(4 credits)
Instructor: James Taylor
This course will provide a broad theoretical understanding of war and peace through three main components: 1) a critical engagement with the theories of Just War and pacifism, 2) an examination of the changing conceptions of war and peace throughout the Western philosophical tradition, and 3) an investigation of a theologically-informed response to the recent war in the Balkans. Through this three-stage approach, students will wrestle with and attempt to formulate a distinctively Christian response to war, peace and the possibility of reconciliation.

Course IV
Instructors: Gordon Professors and Collaborators
The historic town of Dubrovnik will serve as the site for our fourth and final course. Nestled on the southern tip of Croatia, with Monte Negro to the south and Bosnia and Herzegovina just to the east, Dubrovnik is the ideal location to conclude our study of ethnic, political and religious conflict in the Balkans. As a pristine Mediterranean destination, this ancient stone city still recovering from the wounds of war will serve to facilitate reflection on the multilayered nature of life after conflict.

The provisional course listing for Course IV is:

Option 1: PCS375 Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation (4 credits) Instructors: John Sarrouf. (Required course for Peace and Conflict Minor)

Option 2: PCS371 Religion, Violence and Identity (4) Instructors: Daniel Johnson. (Peace and Conflict Elective; Sociology elective; Philosophy Elective)

Option 3: POL 371a BA Religion and International Affairs (4) Instructor: Ruth Melkonian-Hoover (Political Science elective)