Elowyn Corby ’13 Awarded Undergraduate Student Thesis Award by the Peace and Justice Studies Association

We are thrilled to announce that Elowyn Corby, class of 2013, has been awarded the 2013 Undergraduate Student Thesis Award by the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) for her honors thesis titled Training for Change: Moving from Theory to Practice in Adult Education for Empowerment.”

The PJSA is a professional association for scholars, K-12 teachers, and grassroots activists in the field of peace, conflict, conflict resolution, and justice studies, and it is the North-American affiliate of the International Peace Research Association.

Elowyn CorbyElowyn was an honors student, who graduated with majors in Peace Education and Political Science and a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Here is the abstract from her thesis:

This research examines the possibility of using adult activism training to facilitate the development of participatory skills.  It considers the impacts and pedagogy of Training for Change, a social action training collective in Philadelphia.  As well as surveying the major democratic theory on participation and the educational theory dealing with education for empowerment, the research includes a qualitative and quantitative analysis of Training for Change’s work.  Based on a survey of past-participants, Training for Change tends to increase participatory skills among trainees, as well as identification with social change maker identities like ‘leader’ and ‘organizer’ and the frequency and intensity with which trainees participate in social change work.  These effects were disproportionately pronounced among participants of color.  This finding counteracts the effects of more traditional skill-development institutions such as the workplace or non-political organizations, which disproportionately increase participatory skills among the most privileged members of society.  At the same time, people of color were slightly less likely to report that they felt the training was designed to be helpful for people like them, indicating that TFC has a complex relationship with questions of cultural relevance in the training space.

The award will be presented to Elowyn at the Awards Banquet during the association’s annual meeting October17-19, 2013. The meeting will be held in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and it will be hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University Department of Global Studies, Conrad Grebel University College, and the University of Waterloo Peace and Conflict Studies Program. Elowyn will have the opportunity to present her research at the conference.

We would like to offer our warmest congratulations to Elowyn. That her work was recognized as exemplary by a committee of peace scholars and educators is a testament to her hard and careful work.

Prof. Lee Smithey and Prof. Diane Anderson, who co-advised Elowyn’s thesis and submitted it to the competition, report that they are excited that Elowyn has been honored in this way and that the award is fitting, not just with regard to the final thesis but for the way Elowyn executed the research for more than a year.


Belfast Mural Artist to take up Tri-college Creative Residency in Fall 2013

This past spring, Prof. Lee Smithey successfully applied with a range of partners to bring Belfast-based mural artist, David ‘Dee’ Craig, to the Tri-Colleges for a month-long residency during the fall semester 2013. Mr. Craig’s visit follows a visit by the Bogside Artists in 2008.

dee_craig_smMr. Craig hails from East Belfast, but he has painted murals across Northern Ireland. His work represents the ongoing transformation of conflict in Northern Ireland, which remains significantly divided and continues to struggle with its contentious and often violent past while pursuing a sustainable and peaceful future. Prof. Smithey’s application to the Creative Residencies Program noted that “the making of murals is shifting the symbolic landscape to incorporate new narratives within communities, re-articulating collective identities, and beginning to minimize the martial symbols that figured so prominently during 30 years of political conflict in Northern Ireland. Murals offer opportunities for regeneration in excluded or marginalized communities and sites for re-framing memory and identity.”

Mr. Craig represented Northern Ireland at the 41st Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. in 2007, where he painted a 30ft high mural on the National Mall depicting Belfast’s industrial history. His work has been commissioned by the Ulster Museum and numerous community organizations across Northern Ireland. In 2008, he was named among the ‘Top 40 under 40’ by the Belfast Media Group as one of “The next wave of Northern Ireland’s leaders…the post ceasefire generation, which, having inherited the peace process, now want to forge a prosperity process.”

The residency will be funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation:

Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Tri-College Creative Residencies Program encourages Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore faculty from across the three divisions-natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities-to design and implement arts residencies in conjunction with their curricular and scholarly agendas. The program takes as its primary goal the broad integration of the arts through small liberal arts college curricula, seeking particularly to stimulate the creation and enhancement of courses and broader curricular missions by supporting extended, multi-dimensional arts residencies that combine pedagogy, public presentation, and informal exchange among artists, faculty, students, the wider campus, and area communities. 

dee_craig_artProf. Smithey and his colleague, Prof. Gregory Maney (Hofstra University), have been studying the changing mural arts scene in Northern Ireland. The Mural Mapping Project uses geographic information systems (GIS) technology and statistical and qualitative methods of inquiry to analyze murals and other ethnic and political displays in West Belfast and the Greater Shankill Road area, such as memorial gardens, monuments, sculptures, and other forms of public art.

Though Mr. Craig has a burgeoning fine art career, with exhibitions in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and California, Mr. Craig’s residency will focus on his community and mural art and will provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to explore the role that public art can play in framing public issues and collective identities. An exhibit of Mr. Craig’s mural art will appear in McCabe Library. He will offer public talks, paint a mural on Swarthmore’s campus, and visit classes at each of the Tri-college campuses.

Students who would like to engage the residency from an academic perspective and for course credit can register for SOCI 025B, “Transforming Intractable Conflict” at Swarthmore.

Stay tuned as more details will be announced in this blog.

150 years ago: A College Founded in Wartime

Cleaning one’s office can be a chore, but it also encourages one to stumble across gems that were set aside in the rush of an academic year.  In my cleaning today, I came across one of Chris Densmore’s sesquicentennial historical pieces from the July 2012 Swarthmore College Bulletin.

150 years ago: A College Founded in Wartime

Christopher Densmore

Curator, Friends Historical Library

By 1862, the Civil War was in its second year. The campaign to raise money for what was to become Swarthmore, which had been temporarily suspended at the beginning of the war, was resumed in earnest. The founders had originally anticipated that the school could be funded by large donations from wealthy individuals, but they now turned their efforts to a grassroots campaign to visit and solicit support from Quaker meetings across the Mid-Atlantic. Later perhaps, the “stewards of a superabundance of this world’s goods” might be persuaded to contribute larger sums.

The war became an impetus for establishing a Quaker school. An editorial in the Friends Intelligencer in September 1862 commented: “The war spirit has penetrated almost every institution in the land; the Public Schools are used as means of promoting the love of military glory, and are increasingly engaged in teaching military drill to their pupils. We should be especially concerned to guard our children against this snare, and to build them up in those principles which will not only preserve them in the practice of peace and good-will towards all men, but will make them fit successors to those who have gone before them as lights in the world, and exemplars of the peaceable spirit of Christianity. To this end Friends should educate all their children under their own care. …”

Today, Swarthmore College seeks diversity among its students, faculty, staff, and administrators and strives to make the campus a safe place for that diversity. Likewise, the College founders sought to create a safe place for diversity, though in the form of a “guarded education” for the children of Friends.

Other sesquicentennial pieces by Chris Densmore include:

150 Years Ago: The Dream of a College (April 2011)

150 Years Ago: “Honest, Useful Men and Women” (July 2011)

150 Years Ago: Friends, We Have a Problem (October 2011)

150 Years Ago: Martha Ellicott Tyson proposes a new school (January 2012)

 150 years ago: Benjamin Hallowell, man of peace (April 2012)

150 Years Ago: The Meaning of Swarthmore (July 2013)

First Monday Series: William Kashatus speaks August 5 on Abraham Lincoln, the Quakers, and the Civil War

Monday, August 5, 2013, 7:30-9:00 pm in the Barn at Pendle Hill. All are welcome to a free public lecture by William Kashatus,”A Trial of Principle and Faith: Abraham Lincoln, the Quakers, and the Civil War.” This program is part of Pendle Hill’s First Monday Series of free lectures, films, and events held the first Monday of every month, year round.

Sharing insights from his forthcoming book, historian William Kashatus explores Abraham Lincoln’s relationship with the Religious Society of Friends during his presidency. Lincoln and Quakers faced a similar dilemma during the Civil War – how to achieve the desired goal of emancipation without extending the bloodshed and hardships of war. Quakers pressed the president for emancipation, urged amnesty for conscientous objectors, and provided spiritual support and counsel to Lincoln throughout the war.

William C. Kashatus is an historian, educator, and author. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Earlham College, he earned an MA in history at Brown University and a PhD in history education at the University of Pennsylvania. He currently teaches history at Luzerne County Community College in northeastern Pennsylvania. He has also taught at Penn’s Graduate School of Education and in the History Department of West Chester University.

A prolific writer, Kashatus is the author of more than a dozen books. He is a regular contributor to the History News Service, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Pennsylvania Heritage. Kashatus has also written and published more than 200 essays in such periodicals as:American History MagazineChristian Science MonitorIndependent Schools Magazine,New York TimesPennsylvania Magazine of History and BiographyPhiladelphia Daily News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Quaker History.

For more information, contact John Meyer or call 610-566-4507 ext. 129.

Travel directions to Pendle Hill.

125 Years of Peace and Conflict Studies in Higher Education at Swarthmore College

PCS 125 year logoIn recent months, a document was discovered in the Swarthmore College Archives revealing that the first known Peace and Conflict Studies course in higher education, “Elements of International Law with special attention to the important subjects of Peace and Arbitration” was offered by Professor William Penn Holcomb in 1888 at Swarthmore College. Thus, this year, we are celebrating 125 of the origins of peace and conflict studies in higher education!

The Swarthmore College Bulletin has published an article on this exciting finding.

Pioneering Peace Studies

By Sherri Kimmel

Swarthmore College Bulletin, July 2013

That Swarthmore College was an early proponent of peace and conflict studies should come as no surprise to those familiar with the College’s dedication to Quaker values. However, the recent discovery of an article published 125 years ago indicates the College was the first college or university to offer an actual peace-studies course.

Lee Smithey, associate professor of sociology and peace and conflict studies coordinator, announced the distinction at a gathering this spring, reading from an 1888 article that was republished from The Peacemaker (the organ of the Universal Peace Union) in The Friends Intelligencer. Christopher Densmore, curator of the Friends Historical Library, discovered the article and shared it with Smithey.

Parrish Hall after fire 1890
[Parrish Hall in 1890 (photo courtesy of Friends’ Historical Library)]
The article praised the College’s new course in peace and arbitration as “an eventful era in the peace movement of the 19th century. To thus drill, as it were, for peace is to hasten the abolition of war and the military system. All credit to Swarthmore! This example will go round the world.”

Though Swarthmore launched the first course, peace and conflict studies as a discipline “didn’t take off for another 60 years,” says Smithey. Manchester College, founded in Indiana by another historic peace church, the Church of the Brethren, formed the first program in 1948.

According to Smithey, peace and conflict studies programs have gained momentum in waves—after the World Wars and the Vietnam War, and in the 1980s and ’90s, when concern over the proliferation of nuclear arms grew. Now, there are peace and conflict studies programs at about 400 institutions. Swarthmore’s program began in 1991–92 and has 30 students enrolled as minors, honors, or special majors, Smithey says.

Parrish BeachThe program draws courses from a range of social science and humanities departments at Swarthmore and the other campuses of the Tri-College consortium and explores the causes, practice, and consequences of collective violence as well as peaceful or nonviolent methods of dealing with conflict.

Says Smithey of the College’s new distinction, “Swarthmore College was ahead of its time, and 125 years later, we still hold these values as we seek to advance our knowledge about constructive conflict and just and peaceful relations.”

Report on Tri-college trip to PJSA 2012

Fifteen peace and conflict studies and environmental studies students and faculty from the Tri-Colleges (Swarthmore, Haverford, and Bryn Mawr) attended this year’s Peace and Justice Studies Association meetings at Tufts University October 4-6, 2012.

[Tri-College Trip to the 2012 Peace and Justice Studies Meeting at Tufts University from Swarthmore Peace Studies on Vimeo.]

This year’s theme was “Anticipating Climate Disruption: Sustaining Justice, Greening Peace”, offering a perfect opportunity to team up with the Environmental Studies Program and our Tri-college peace studies partners for a joint trip. The opportunity also aligned well with President Chopp’s leadership on climate issues and Swarthmore College’s long commitment to peace and social justice concerns. In fact, a write-up about our trip appeared in the conference program. You can also read more about the trip in a story by Taylor Hodges that appeared on October 11 in The Phoenix.

We would like to express our deep gratitude to our co-sponsors: The President’s Office at Swarthmore College, The Dean’s Office at Swarthmore College, The Center for Peace and Global Citizenship at Haverford College, The Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Swarthmore, Peace and Social Justice Program at Bryn Mawr, Peace Conflict and Human Rights at Haverford, and the Tri-College Environmental Studies Program. Thanks also to George Lakey of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Swarthmore and Chloe Tucker of the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship at Haverford who also went on the trip.

The conference organizers were very helpful in organizing homestays for our students with Tufts students, many of whom take Swarthmore alum Sa’ed Atshan’s ’06 course at Tufts, “Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies”!

Students speak for themselves about their experience at the conference in a story that appeared in The Phoenix and in the video interviews above.

In order to bring some of the flavor of knowledge of the conference back, we have also curated tweets from the conference below (in reverse order).

Tweeting on gun violence prevention

Students in the course PEAC 077 “Peace Studies and Action” partnered with the local gun violence reporting organization, guncrisis.org over the spring semester 2013. In the spirit of “process journalism” that guncrisis journalists employ, our class made announcements, shared resources, and offered comments on gun violence prevention over the course of the semester using a #swatpsa hashtag on Twitter.

Most of the tweets have been bundled together at Bundlr.com. Recenlty, Bundlr featured our bundled tweets in their Education and Science gallery.

175th Anniversary of the Burning of Pennsylvania Hall

Photo courtesy of the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College

By Chris Densmore, Curator of the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College

May 14 was the 175th Anniversary of the 1838 opening of Pennsylvania Hall in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Hall was dedicated to “liberty and the rights of man.”

Over the next three days the Hall hosted meetings of the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, the Requited Labor Convention and the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. Stories, some true, that race mixing, abolition and women speaking were openly countenanced in Pennsylvania Hall attracted a hostile mob of reportedly 25,000 “respectable” citizens of Pennsylvania who surrounded the building yelling and throwing rocks through the windows.

On May 17, 1838, the mob burned Pennsylvania Hall to the ground while the police and firemen looked on. Those inside made a speedy exit. Lucretia Mott had been in the Hall and afterwards she and her husband James waited quietly at home for the mob that was coming to burn their house. Fortunately a friend of the Motts sent the mob off in the wrong direction thus sparing the Mott home.

Lucretia Mott confronted mobs several times. On a later occasion a mob broke up the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society in New York City. Mott sent the man who was escorting her through the mob to assist some of the more timid women and then approached one of the biggest and roughest leaders of the mob. Taking him by the arm, she declared, “This man… He will see me safe through.” Mott was less than five feet tall, less than ninety pounds in weight, and a grandmother. The man saw Mott safely though and the next day they had lunch together.

Other Swarthmore College related people associated with Pennsylvania Hall included Dr. Joseph Parrish, the father of Edward Parrish, Swarthmore’s first president and Caleb Clothier. One of the Vice Presidents of the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women was Mary Magill, mother of Edward Magill, the second president of Swarthmore College. When Swarthmore College opened for instruction in 1869, the examples of Lucretia and James Mott were held up as examples for future Swarthmore students to emulate.