War and Knowledge Lab Syllabus

Course Summary

War and Knowledge – Spring 2020

“You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” — Leon Trotsky

The purpose of this seminar is to discuss, interrogate, and explore the relationship between war and knowledge in human history. Not intended to discuss specific wars and military history, this course focuses on war featured in thought, science, and the arts. This course is a history of war, and it is not a policy course. In this seminar, we ask how did people think about war – politically, theologically, morally, and legally. We also ask how did they represent it artistically – in literature and the visual arts. At the same time, we trace the evolution of war through looking at the transformations of the battlefield as the leading site where “war happens” – from the open plan field location where humans threw stones at each other, to cyberspace. As part of this discussion, we will review and discuss significant turning points in the history of warfare.