Ryerson University – Department of Sociology


SOC 802 (Fall 2010)

Issues in War and Peace

  Dr. Slobodan Drakulic



Essay Instructions:


1. Write an essay on ONE of these sets of propositions, making sure to present, compare, and critically assess divergent arguments they list, in terms of their theoretical/logical and historical/empirical plausibility, as well as to show empathy for the viewpoint you disagree with. Use at least four excerpts from the reader; with at least two authors on each side; and from at least two sets (or chapters) of the reader plus at least one academic source other than the reader.

2. The essay is due in class,  November 9 [Sec 1] and November 10 [Sec2] 2010.

3. See technical essay requirements in the course outline.


 Essay Topics:


Please read carefully:


1. The occupation of Iraq is guided by rampant antagonism towards Islam in the West; by the American policies towards the Middle East; by both of those; or by something else.


2. The presence of women in governments and armed forces promotes gender equality and international peace; it does one of those but not both; or does neither, but has to do with something else.


3. Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel/Palestine and former Yugoslav republics support the ‘clash of civilizations’ theory; ‘conflict formations’ theory; or some other theory or theories.


4. Wars are avoidable and perpetual peace achievable; wars are not avoidable and peace is impermanent; wars cannot and/or should not be avoided because they invigorate human spirits, while peace leads to decadence.


5. There are profound differences between the soldiers, freedom fighters and terrorists; there are no profound differences between them; the whole issue is a mater of the observers’ viewpoint, or interests.


6. Pax Americana benefits most nations because it promotes more freedom, equality and democracy than its opponents; Pax Americana is detrimental for most nations because it causes wars and/or promotes capitalism.


7. Humanitarian interventions, such as in Afghanistan, Iraq or the former Yugoslav republics are justified because they end human suffering; they are not justified as they support one side in a conflict and cause human suffering.


8. Pro-Israeli arguments are more convincing than their critics; pro-Palestinian arguments are more convincing than their critics; both arguments are convincing; neither argument is convincing.


9. Arguments favouring one or both wars against Iraq are more convincing than their critics; arguments against one or both wars are more convincing; some of those arguments are more or less – or contrariwise.


10. Arguments for Western military intervention/s in Yugoslavia are more convincing than their critics; arguments against those interventions are more convincing; both arguments are convincing; neither argument is convincing.


11. The NATO occupation of Afghanistan is not justified and it will ultimately fail; this occupation is justified but will nonetheless likely fail; it may not be justified but it might nevertheless succeed.