The Thematic Minor in War and Society

This minor consists of a multidisciplinary examination of the various ways humans have understood, represented, experienced, and justified war over time and across cultures. Students choose courses on the representation of war through art, literature, media, and film, as well as courses that analyze possible causes of war, including innate human drives, gender differences, socialization, and economic and resource competition. In addition, students choose courses that examine justifications for war from a range of ethical perspectives and the experience of the battlefield.



  • A minimum of 16 academic credits


  • The Gateway Course: German Studies 231, War: What Is It Good For?
  • Three additional 4-credit courses, chosen in consultation with the thematic minor director or chair of the minor, from the following faculty-approved list for the minor. The choices must span at least two disciplines or programs and must include at least one course at the 300 level.
    • Anthropology 106s (02): Anthropology of Violence
    • Art (History) 310s (01): Seminar in Art History: Who Owns the Past?
    • Classics 232, From Hoplites to Legions: Warfare in the Ancient World
    • English 373, Gender and War
    • History 151, Modern and Contemporary European Civilization
    • History 217-01: The Crusades
    • History 260, Topics in the Recent History of Europe World War I and the Making of the Twentieth Century
    • International Relations 270, American Foreign Policy
    • International Relations 365, Ethics and International Relations
    • Politics 364-01: Dictatorships, Democracies
    • Politics 391-01: Topic: Political Violence
    • Russian & Eurasian Studies 211-01: Topic: Lit. and Film on Trial


  • Independent study (295 or 395) with any faculty of the committee may be included.
  • After consultation with the chair, students choose a minor advisor from the committee.
  • Other courses at Mount Holyoke College or the Five Colleges may be included with permission of the student’s advisor. However, no more than one course toward the minor may be taken at other schools in the Five Colleges.