Peace and Social Justice Studies

David Dillman, Advisor
ACU Box 29143
Abilene, Texas 79699-9143
Hardin Administration Building, Room 220

Phone: 325-674-2095
Fax: 325-674-6962

The Peace and Social Justice minor is an eighteen credit hour, liberal arts, interdisciplinary program available to all students as a complement to any major. It focuses on the question of how humans resolve conflicts and how disputes can give way to peace and justice rather than ruin. Because conflict may be international, within a given society, or personal, peace and social justice studies necessarily draw upon a wide variety of disciplines, including philosophy, political science, history, psychology, theology, economics, sociology, and literature.

This minor is unique in three ways. First, its focus is on peace and social justice, and it integrates these topics from among several disciplines. Second, it is grounded in a Christian worldview and is, in part, inspired by the particular history of Churches of Christ. Finally, it is scholarly, but not disinterested. It freely admits that peace is better than war, as those studying medicine favor health over disease. Its bias is that peace is not just the absence of war, but must include values and structures that support human flourishing. In other words, this minor urges not only deep thought but also thoughtful action.

Within this minor, philosophers and theologians will ask about the nature of human beings and the meaning of justice and prod us to think about how religion has been a barrier to as well as a motive for peace. Historians and sociologists will point to the causes of war and injustice and help us understand their short- and long-term effects. 

Psychologists will deepen our understanding of human behavior and give us tools for more peaceful relationships, while political scientists and economists will ask us to think about differing notions of power and will advance our understanding of international sources of conflict and their structural or organizational solutions.

The study of peace is both idealistic and practical, and this minor is designed to address both dimensions. If we cannot figure out a way to live peaceably in our daily relationships or in our international politics, we are doomed to continued conflict in our homes, workplaces, and world. As philosopher Hannah Arendt has said, "Violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is to a more violent world." Thus, having understanding and skills to take an active role in peacemaking is utterly practical. At the same time, a dose of idealism is what motivates peace and social justice action. To quote sociologist Elise Boulding, “We cannot achieve what we cannot imagine.”

Mission of the Program
The mission of Peace and Social Justice Studies is to motivate and prepare students to be active peacemakers in their homes, churches, work places, local communities, nations, and world.

Students who complete the Peace and Social Justice Studies minor will be exposed to ways of thinking, skills, and experiences which will motivate and enable them to contribute to the resolution of conflict so that these conflicts result in justice and creative development rather than violence, and be prepared to engage in graduate-level peace and social justice studies.





    PHIL 486 Ethics


Choose three hours from:

    HIST 455 Social and Ethnic History in U.S.

    POLS 493 Religion and Politics

    SOCI 480 Inequality and Social Justice


Choose six hours from:

   PHIL 451 Philosophy and Social Justice

   POLS 393 Peace, Power, and Politics

   POLS 489 International Relations and Christianity


Choose three hours from:

    ECON 438 International Poverty and Development

    ENGL 328 Social Justice: A Rhetoric

    PSYC 305 Peacemaking


    PSJS 499 Peace and Social Justice























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