EDUC 210-Spring ‘12
Education for Peace and Non-Violence:
Cells, Confinement, and Culpability
T/Th 1:20-2:35
305 Lathrop

professor: mark stern
office: 12 persson
office hours: m, 1:30-2:45; t, 10-11; th, 10-11; and by appointment
Phone: 315.228.6136


At a literal level, this course is about the act of capturing—about who gets captured, how they get captured, where they get captured and where they go when they do, and, and perhaps most importantly, why they get captured.  We are going to look at four distinct, yet highly interrelated, iterations of this process: photographs capturing suffering; capturing “enemy combatants” in the War on Terror; capturing mostly Black, male, Americans in an era of mass incarceration; and capturing animals in industrial slaughterhouses.  The questions we will ask of each of these modules will be both ethical and political.  How do we make sense of capturing and confinement in a neoliberal political economy and what, if any, are our ethical responsibilities to these acts of capture?  In what ways might we (as a class) be culpable?

In terms of movements towards peace and non-violence, we will think about the act of learning and education as a first step in a process towards resistance and struggle.  We will be introduced to a litany of interlocutors who propose various arguments and examples about how to move to a more just world.  Some of these arguments will resonate with more traditional non-violent movements in the spirit of human rights and the Civil Rights era.  Others will sound quite opposite, positing that the only way to true revolution, to true peace, is through violence.  We will weigh each argument on its own rhetorical and material merits. 

class environment and cultural politics

Class time will be structured in a seminar format.  This means that we will engage texts by discussing them as a group and bringing up questions and concerns vocally and publicly.  You are expected to show up to class prepared and having read.  This course will be interactive and collaborative. The better we all participate, the more we will get out of this class.  As content will deal with political issues that (hopefully) many of us will have differing opinions on, class dialogue will provide a context to explore these differences through listening and presenting alternative points of view.  Though we should be comfortable to disagree with each other, we will do so respectfully and thoughtfully. 

I ask that you do not text message or use computers during this class. 

Academic integrity and the University Honor Code will be respected in this course.  You are expected to cite work accurately and diligently.  Not doing so will lead to grade reduction or more institutional measures given the severity of abuse.  If you have any questions about what this means or how it is done correctly, feel free to contact me.  For outside help with your writing you should contact The Writing Center or see the Library’s Citation and Style Guides at

Our community values diversity and seeks to promote meaningful access to educational opportunities for all students.  The University and I are committed to your success.  I support section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).  This means that in general no individual shall be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity, solely by reason of having a disability. If you have concerns about anything related to your success in this course, please come and speak with me and contact Lynn Waldman, Director of Academic Program and Disability Services, 105 McGregory Hall, x7225.

Any late assignment will be penalized one point per day.  After three days, you will receive a zero. 
All written work must be proofread, edited, and cited properly.  I will not grade non-proofread work.  It will be returned and counted as late.  You may use APA, MLA, or Chicago style for citations.  All work should be double-spaced, in 12 pt., Times New Roman, font, with one-inch margins unless otherwise noted.

1) attendance/participation
Your grade will be based not only on whether or not you show up for class, but how you show up for class.  As I stated above, class time will be based on discussion and your participation is mandatory.  We want to try to cultivate a classroom environment where we are talking with each other and not at each other.  Listening to fellow students and responding to them in relation to the text will help to create a healthy intellectual climate. 

To keep everyone accountable for readings, I will make use of two forms of assessment during the semester.  I will both cold-call on students and there will be unannounced times when I will ask that you complete a writing assignment based on the readings. 

To help you with both of these forms of assessment, you want to always consider the following three questions when reading and taking notes:
1) What is the author’s argument?  What are they getting at?
2) What is the context for the conversation/argument the author is putting forth?
3) What do you find interesting about the reading?  What are you curious about?

After two unexcused absences, you will lose one percentage point per absence.  For the most part, only absences with a note from an academic dean are excusable.  Should certain circumstance arise that make it impossible to attend class, please get in touch with me before that class period.                =10%

2) weekly-ish reflections
As opposed to posting to Moodle, which sometimes feels a bit cold and calculated, we are going to experiment with a form of journaling this semester.  There will be class journals that each of you has to write in 10 times over the course of the semester.  These entries must be in conversation with the other entries and will thus form a semester-long narrative about issues and ideas that are getting brought up over the course of the semester.                                                                                                  =20%

3) small group/small projects
In small groups, you will complete two small assignments.  These will encompass short, in-class, presentations.                                                                                                                                                       =10%

4) papers
You’ll write two, seven-ish page papers; one due around midterm, the other towards the end.                                                                                                                                                                                              =50%

5) final
There will be one.  It will deal with things about peace and non-violence.                                         =10%


There are five texts for this course.  There will be a copy of each on reserve at Case Library as well. 

-Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crown: Mass Incarceration in the Age of
            Colorblindness.  New York: The New Press, 2010. 
-George Jackson, Blood In My Eye.  Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1972/1990. 
-Joshua E.S. Phillips, None Of Us Were Like This Before: American Soldiers and
            Torture.  New York: Verso, 2010. 
-Timothy Picharat, Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the
            Politics of Sight.  New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2011. 
-Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others.  New York: Picador, 2003.
In addition to these books, there will be articles listed in the schedule below.  All of these articles, if not followed by a hyperlink in this syllabus, can be found on Moodle.  Full citations for these articles are written on the first page of each.

(Please note that this is a working syllabus.  The professor reserves the right to revise and amend as necessary.)

M, Jan 23         Intros


T, Jan 24         Sontag, chs. 1-2

Th, Jan 26       Sontag ch. 3
                       Linfield, “Photojournalism and Human Rights”

T, Jan 31            Sontag , chs. 4-5
                             Stern, “Enjoying the Absences: Embedded Photographs and the
                                    Truthiness of Censorship”
                             View: Without Sanctuary,           

Th, Feb 2            Sontag, ch. 6
Butler, “Violence, Mourning, Politics”

T, Feb 7            Berger—excerpts from Ways of Seeing
                          Lutz and Collins, “The Photograph as an Intersection of Gazes”
Th, Feb 9         Sontag, chs. 7-9
                         Viewing: War Photographer or La Jette or Pictures From a Revolution or Disintegration  

Torture Cells

T, Feb 14        Phillips, Intro; ch. 1
                        Brody, “The Road To Abu Ghraib: Torture and Impunity in U.S. Detention”
                        Sontag, “Regarding the Torture of Others”
                        Listen: This American Life 429

Th, Feb 16     Phillips, ch. 2           
                        Pease, “The Global Homeland State”
                        Torture Memos
                        Listen: This American Life 331

T, Feb 21        Phillips, chs. 3-4
                        Puar, “On Torture”

Th, Feb 23    Phillips, chs. 5-6
                        Luban, “Liberalism, Torture, and the Ticking Time Bomb”
                        Meyer, “Whatever It Takes”

T, Feb 28        Phillips, chs. 8-9
                             Finnegan, “The Last Tour”
Listen: This American Life 359, Act II

Th, Mar 1       Sherman, excerpts from The Untold War

T, Mar 6          In-class ViewingsThe Marlboro Marine; Stop Loss

Th, Mar 8        TBD; Paper 1 Due


Prison Cells

T, Mar 20      Kafka, “Before The Law”
                        Alexander, Intro; ch. 1
                        Gawande, “Hellhole”           

Th, Mar 22    Alexander, ch. 2
                        Parenti, “Big Bucks From the Big House”

T, Mar 27      Alexander, ch. 3
                        Brown, “Evil In The City”
                        Abu-Jamal, excerpts from Live From Death Row

Th, Mar 29     Alexander, ch. 5
                        Chesney-Lind, “Imprisoning Women: The Unintended Victims of Mass
                        Listen: This American Life 119

T, Apr 3         Alexander, ch. 5
                        Jackson, pgs. 3-40
                        Newton, “Prison, Where Is Thy Victory?”

Th, Apr 5       Jackson, pgs. 97-113; 181-217
                        Davis, “Political Prisoners, Prisons, and Black Liberation”
                        Listen: This American Life 218
                                    In-class Viewing: Child of Resistance

Slaughter Cells

T, Apr 10       J.M . Coetzee, excerpt from The Lives of Animals
                        Optional (but highly recommended):
                        Wallace, “Consider the Lobster”

Th, Apr 12    Bauman, “Sociology After The Holocaust”
                        Pachirat, ch. 1
                        Listen: Radiolab 7:1

T, Apr 17       Pachirat, chs. 2-3
                        Torres, exerpts from Making a Killing

Th, Apr 19     Pichirat, ch. 6
                         Adams, excerpt from The Pornography of Meat

T, Apr 24       Pachirat, ch. 9           
                        Goodyear, “Grub”
                        Szasz, excerpt from Shopping Our Way to Safety                       

Th, Apr 26    Bauman, “From Work Ethic to Aesthetic of Consumption”
                        Park and Pellow, excerpt from The Slums of Aspen
T, May 1        Viewing: Mississippi Chicken           
                        Paper 2 Due

Th, May 3            Thinking about Peace and Non-Violence as Violence/Last Day/Review

Final Exam: Thursday, May 10, 9 a.m. (sharp)

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