Prof. Wilson Becerril Brings New Courses in Fall 2022

In a recent blog post, we announced the arrival of Prof. Mike Wilson Becerril, who will offer TWO NEW COURSES in Peace and Conflict Studies for the fall semester 2022. We hope you will check them out and share with your friends:

  • PEAC 030: War in Lived Experience
  • PEAC 045: Peace and Conflict in Latin America

Find course descriptions below. These courses can be ADDED NOW through MySwarthmore.


PEAC 030: War in Lived Experience
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10:30 am – 11:20 am

Protestors
      in front of riot police

What is violence, and how do we learn to think of it? What is war and why is it started? How can it be avoided? How do we know when we are safe, or what insecurity is? How does media treat war and different forms of violence? How does war end? What are the links between war and everyday life? This course centers on these open questions to develop a framework to make sense of, and critically engage with, issues of conflict, violence, war, and peace. In history books, the news, and our language, violence and war seem to be pervasive. To understand and confront them, we must explore in-depth how they are experienced, interpreted, remembered, institutionalized, normalized, and challenged by everyday people. Exploring diverse approaches to war and peace “from below” and across different contexts, we will build tools to recognize and transform different forms of violence.

PEAC 045: Peace and Conflict in Latin America
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 11:30 am – 12:20 pm

Most people in Latin America live under various forms of “violent peace.” Although most states are not at war formally, the means of violence have not receded despite several “waves of democratization,” and in fact, these have become normalized or concealed in everyday relations. Latin America today is reported to have the highest rate of homicides, worst levels of economic inequality, deadliest settings for environmental defenders, highest levels of police-committed killings, and highest levels of gender-based violence in the world. Likewise, it showcases a wide range of political plurality and representation, cultural and biological diversity, and rich historical trajectories often marked by successful struggles for alternative worlds, social justice, and international peace. This interdisciplinary course centers on a comparative, thematic, and chronological study of Latin America to understand the layered meanings and forms of violence, different methods and challenges of promoting justice, and lessons from attempts to build durable peace.


We are excited about these new courses and the opportunity to expand our department’s offerings. Thank you Prof. Wilson Becerril!

Prof. Michael Wilson Becerril
Professor Michael Wilson Becerril

Film Screening: Angels are Made of Light

Wednesday, March 3
4:15-6:30 p.m.
Science Center Room 199
Swarthmore College

Please join us for a screening of Angels are Made of Light, a documentary that traces the lives of young students and their teachers at a school in the old city of Kabul. The film interweaves the modern history of Afghanistan with present-day portraits, offering an intimate and nuanced view of Afghan society in Kabul. The screening will be followed by a discussion facilitated by Peace & Conflict Studies Professor Amy Kapit

Pizza will be served!

Sponsored by Peace & Conflict Studies, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, and Asian Studies

PEACE AND RECONCILIATION IN UKRAINE AND POLAND: Past and Present of the Refugee Crisis

Tuesday, March 29, 4:30 p.m.
Singer Hall Room 033
Swarthmore College

In recent weeks Poland has welcomed a greater number of refugees from Ukraine than any other country, often with striking warmth and generosity, although the relationship between the two nations has been complex over time. Swarthmore College faculty members Allen Kuharski and Barbara Milewski will speak about the cultural, historical, and diplomatic context for the extraordinary outpouring of grassroots support for Ukrainian refugees in Poland over the last month and about the other complexities of these current events.

Bob Weinberg, Isaac H. Clothier Professor of History and International Relations, will host the event; there will be a chance to ask questions after the presentations, in person or via the Zoom “chat.” For more information, contact Sibelan Forrester at sforres1 <at> swarthmore.edu.

Mvs.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To attend via Zoom, register in advance using this link.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Co-sponsored by the Programs and Departments of Global Studies, History, Modern Languages and Literatures, Music and Dance, Peace and Conflict Studies, and Theater.

30th Anniversary Event: Preparing for Peace, Building Social Justice

Join us online on Tuesday February 22 at 4:15 pm EST to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Peace & Conflict Studies program at Swarthmore College! The virtual event will reflect on the past three decades of peace and conflict studies at Swarthmore and the ways that program alumni have integrated peace and conflict studies to their careers.

This virtual event is free and open to the public. Please register to attend at https://bit.ly/330ZWuw

Allison Oman Lawli, '91
Deputy Divisional for Nutritional Operations, Analysis, and Integration, World Food Programme

Maurice Weeks, '08
Co-Executive Director of the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) Coordinator

Jasmine Rashid, '18
Director of Impact at the Candide Group

Jerry Frost
Howard M. and Charles F. Jenkins Professor Emeritus of Quaker History and Research and Former Peace & Conflict Studies Program Coordinator

Lee Smithey
Professor of Peace & Conflict Studies and Sociology and Peace & Conflict Studies Program Coordinator

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2022

A few years ago, the College began celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday, so the College is closed, and classes don’t begin until tomorrow!

MLK Day is always an important one for our program given our commitment to studying and understanding the powerful and nonviolent pursuit of more just and collaborative relations, as well as the structures of power and inequality that inhibit lives well-lived.

As Dr. King’s Day reminds us, the work can be both dramatic and slow, with the work bearing fruit for decades and more. I just returned recently from visiting family in Nashville , Tennessee and read this morning in the New York Times that a statue of the Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest on Interstate 65 near my home has finally come down. I also learned that the plaza in front of Nashville’s courthouse has been named after Diane Nash, and the city’s newest high school will be named after Dr. James Lawson, both instrumental in the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins and other campaigns during the civil rights movement.

Moreover, inequality and militarism remain dominant in American society. On this MLK Day I would like to re-share the video reading of Dr. King’s Riverside Speech that students, faculty, and staff organized earlier this year. In this powerful speech King warns us about the intersecting dangers of racism, militarism, and materialism.

Let me also remind us of this week’s event on January 21, 2022 titled “Polarization as Possibility: The Justice Strategizing of Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King, Jr.” featuring our own George Lakey and Professor Terrance Wiley of Religion and Africana Studies at Haverford College. I hope to see some of you there.

Lee Smithey, Coordinator, Peace and Conflict Studies Program

poster featuring an image of Bayard Rustin

Polarization as Possibility: The Justice Strategizing of Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The video of the event announced below is now available!


Our friends at the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship at Haverford College are sponsoring an exciting online event on January 21, 2022 titled “Polarization as Possibility: The Justice Strategizing of Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King, Jr.” featuring our own George Lakey and Professor Terrance Wiley of Religion and Africana Studies at Haverford College.

Conflict is challenging for many of us, but the insights of King and Rustin offer hope.  King encountered violent conflict across America yet received the Nobel Peace Prize. His mentor Rustin urged “angelic troublemakers” to act more boldly.  What can we learn from the organizing leader behind much of the Civil Rights Movement, Bayard Rustin, who was born in nearby West Chester, PA, and raised in a Quaker household? How did King and Rustin’s theories of change leverage polarization toward possibility, and what does it mean for us in today’s environment? 

Read more and register.

We’re hiring! visiting assistant professor position

The Peace and Conflict Studies Program of Swarthmore College, home of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, invites applications for a full-time three-year Visiting Assistant Professor position, beginning Fall 2022.

Please share widely. Thank you.


Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies
Swarthmore College: Peace & Conflict Studies Program

Location
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Description
The Peace and Conflict Studies Program of Swarthmore College invites applications for a full-time three-year Visiting Assistant Professor position, beginning Fall 2022. Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

Qualifications
Candidates should demonstrate expertise in peace and conflict studies. Applications from candidates in the humanities are encouraged. We welcome regional expertise in areas besides Europe. The successful candidate for the position will be expected to teach four courses per year in our interdisciplinary undergraduate program, which may include the introductory course and the senior capstone course for majors. We seek a candidate with a compelling classroom presence, strong teaching and research skills, and a knowledge and passion for peace studies that will support student advising and contribute to the development of a dynamic program. The strongest candidates will demonstrate a commitment to creative inclusive teaching and a research program that speaks to and motivates undergraduates from diverse backgrounds. A Ph.D. in peace and conflict studies or in another discipline should be in hand by September 2022, accompanied by intellectual and professional engagement in the field of peace and conflict studies.

Application Instructions
Please apply at https://apply.interfolio.com/99927   Direct inquiries to the program coordinator, Lee Smithey, at lsmithe1 at swarthmore.edu

Full consideration will be given to all applications received by January 24, 2022. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Candidates should send:

  • a cover letter, including teaching philosophy, teaching experience, and research agenda
  • a curriculum vitae
  • a writing sample
  • three letters of recommendation.
PCS students peace sign

New Course: SPAN103 – Trauma, afecto y derechos humanos en la literatura centroamericana

We are excited to share a new course coming in Spring 2022! Professor Nanci Buiza’s will begin teaching honors seminar SPAN 103: Trauma, Afecto Y Derechos Huamnos en la Literatura Centroamericana. This course is an elaborated companion to her course PEAC 038: Civil Wars and Neoliberal Peace in Central America. We congratulate Professor Buiza on receiving a Mellon Course Development Grant to create this new course.

What’s the difference between PEAC 038 and SPAN 103?

Prof. Buiza writes, “The PEAC038 course focuses on the sociopolitical and historical causes and consequences of armed conflict in Central America (1960s-early 1990s), the transition to peace and democracy, and the implementation of neoliberal economic reforms that came with the arrival of peace in the mid 1990s. The course, however, really does not study the cultural production (literature, film, art, music) related to these decades of instability in the region. My honors seminar in Spanish will focus on the cultural production of the region and how it relates to and engages with the above mentioned sociopolitical and historical forces.

The focus will be on the Central American region, mostly the countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The seminar will incorporate theory to discuss issues of ethics, social justice, and human rights in a war-torn society. It will allow students to weave together critical and theoretical concepts of peace and conflict studies that they have learned in the program and apply them to our analysis and study of how cultural representations engage with sociopolitical turmoil; how performance artists engage with issues of social justice in nonviolent ways; and how cultural production as whole invites people to think about other possibilities to violence and state repression.”

Here is the course description. We highly recommend Peace program students consider registering for SPAN 103.

This honors seminar studies contemporary Central American literature and culture with a focus on theories of trauma to discuss cultural representations of human suffering, empathy, and pain. The seminar explores the social disintegration and legacy of violence left by decades of civil wars, genocide, and revolution in the region, as well as theories of trauma, memory, affect, aesthetics, philosophical cynicism, and human rights. These theoretical approaches will help us reflect on the relation between literature and human rights; the sociopolitical upheavals and their cultural representations; and how cultural production engages with issues of peace and conflict in the neoliberal era. We will pay special attention to representations of social disaffection, political disillusionment, and survival in a postwar context shaped by socio-economic precarity. In addition to reading literary works by some of the main authors in the region, we will analyze scholarly debates surrounding Central American literature, as well as watch films and performances that probe into the issues of ethics, historical truth, social justice, reconciliation, historical memory, and the human predicament in a postwar society.

Ramiro Hernandez ’23 Participates in Harvard Kennedy School Public Policy Leadership Conference

Ramiro Hernandez

Ramiro Hernandez ’23 started his fall break off with a bang, taking part in the Harvard Kennedy School’s 2021 Public Leadership Conference earlier this month.

One of just 68 undergraduates from across the U.S. chosen, Hernandez relished the chance to build community with his fellow attendees.

“Hearing all of the projects, initiatives, and change-making that other students are pursuing at campuses across the country was inspiring,” says the honors medical anthropology, peace & conflict studies, and educational studies special major from Hidalgo, Texas, “and I found comfort in sharing a virtual space in which everyone was vulnerable enough to discuss our fears and aspirations.”

The mission of the conference is to inspire student leaders — particularly those from historically underrepresented and underserved communities — to pursue careers in public service. Participants learn what it means to study public policy in a graduate school environment and have opportunities to connect with current Harvard Kennedy School students, faculty, and staff as well as their fellow attendees

“I also really enjoyed hearing from the representatives of various public policy programs, as I learned a lot about financial aid opportunities and fellowships that I was not aware of,” Hernandez says. “I finished the weekend with the confidence that pursuing a career within the field of public policy is the path I’m meant to take.”

After missing the cut for the conference two years ago, Hernandez was nervous about opening the notification email for this year’s event. But being selected at this time proved fortuitous.

“I’ve become much more grounded in my politics, my beliefs, and the multiple truths I hold dear,” he says, “and I feel much more confident in my change-making abilities.”

Among Hernandez’s activities at Swarthmore are serving as student body vice president, a programming intern with the Intercultural Center, campus treasurer of the Petey Greene Program, and co-chair of the League of United Latin American Citizens Federal Training Institute Partnership. Earlier this year, he was chosen as a reporting fellow for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

A first-generation college student, Hernandez has a broad interest in public service that is grounded in his experience as a second-generation immigrant growing up in a border community in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. He is intent on using every opportunity he receives to move resources where they are most needed, ensuring that future generations have everything they need to live well in their communities.

Reflecting on the conference, Hernandez points to the excitement of “meeting 67 other folks who come from backgrounds similar to mine and are just as passionate as I am about improving the conditions of various communities around the world.”

[This blog post was reposted from the Swarthmore News and Event page and was written by Ryan Dougherty.]