Date of Award

5-8-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Toby Bolsen

Second Advisor

Jeanie Grussendorf

Third Advisor

Carrie Manning

Abstract

I expand the current research on how graphic images in accounts of historical violence impact students’ views on war, peace, violence, and the role of the international community. By first manipulating the amount of violent detail and images in an article on the Rape of Nanking, I measure the shifts in opinions on 1) the inevitability of war, 2) the violence of human nature, 3) the level of conflict in the world today, and 4) the role of the international community in punishing war crimes. I also measure shifts in 5) the level of importance placed on teaching historical violence and ask 6) if students shown graphic images support their use in education settings. Surprisingly, I find that students shown violent images were less likely to report that humans are inherently violent. Students were also less likely to support using violent images in educational settings.

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