War is a state of armed conflict between diverse countries or different groups within a country. “The Paradox of War”, an online course will be starting soon in the amalgamation of Coursera and Princeton University.

This course is designed to teach the applicants that war is just not a normal part of human existence but it is one of the most arguable factors in making who they are. Through this course, students will get an opportunity to appreciate that war is both the blend of natural expression of human emotions and interactions and a constitutive part of how we cohere as groups. War is ironically an expression of our basest animal character and the paradigm of our most vaunted and valued civilized virtues.

Here, students will learn some basic military history and sociology concepts which can be used as a lens to see social themes and issues related to war in a broader sense. This course will help students in learning about war, but more prominently, its use as way of understanding everyday social world. So, for instance, the conversation of war and gender will serve to start students thinking about how expectations of masculinity has created and course discussion of nationalism will make the things clear.

Course Timeline

‘Paradox of War’, this online course will start in June.

Course Period

This course will run for 6 weeks and estimated effort of 5-7 hours/week is required from each student.

Online Course Provider

Coursera and the Princeton University

Online Platform


Eligibility Requirements

No prior knowledge required. Applicants who are interested in this field can apply for this course.

Course Syllabus

The Warrior’s War

  • Is War Natural?
  • Warriors in Battle
  • Why Not Run Away?
  • What Do Soldiers Believe In?
  • Brutality
  • Discipline

From Wars of Armies to Wars of Societies

  • Wars of Armies
  • Progress of Battle
  • Gunpowder
  • Industrialization of War
  • Technowar

War and Society

  • Social Aspects of War
  • States
  • Nationalism
  • Soldiers and Citizens
  • War and Equality
  • Conquest. Genocide, and Armageddon

The Future of War

  • The Rise of the Rest
  • New Challenges
  • Conclusions: Empire and the Western Way of War

Online Course Staff

Miguel A. Centeno

He is the lecturer of Sociology and International Affairs in the WWS. He has also found the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (2003-2007) and Master of Wilson College (1997-2004). His interest areas are political sociology and social change.

You can apply for the course by following this link.