*Abbreviations under the "Available" column: A = Available // NA = Not Available // R = Previously Registered // WL = Currently on the Wait List


Why do nations choose war to achieve their objectives, and is it rational to do so? This course examines one of the most enduring, visible, and challenging aspects of international relations: war and its relation to the development and interaction of states. We will study the evolution of war from competing theoretical and political perspectives. We will seek to understand explanations of its causes and investigate its effects. We will do this by assessing theories of war in the context of historical case studies in order to further our understanding of its nature. Additionally, we will investigate attempts to mitigate war by legal and ethical intervention and assess arguments as to the role of war in twenty-first century world politics. Note: This course does not meet on Thursday, November 22.

Instructor Bio:

Dr. James R. Sofka specializes in international relations and trans-Atlantic diplomatic history and political leadership.  In addition to OLLI at UVa, he presents regularly for the Brookings Institution, Monticello, and agencies and departments of the United States and Virginia governments. He previously taught in the Department of Politics in the University of Virginia, where he also served as Dean of the undergraduate Honors program in the College of Arts and Sciences. He serves on the OLLI Board and Curriculum Committee.

Recommended Reading:

Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations, 2015. Max Boot, War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today, 2006. Richard K. Betts, Conflict after the Cold War: Arguments on Causes of War and Peace, 2017.

Course Number Instructor Dates Day Time Location Available
B605 James Sofka Nov 1, 8, 15, 29 Th 2:30-4:00 p.m. The R. R. Smith Center A

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