Many thanks to Sa’ed Atshan (Swarthmore class of 2006) for his presentation this afternoon on Humanitarian Politics in Palestinian Territories. We had a great crowd, and Dr. Atshan’s lecture was excellent, as usual.
The Scandal of the Cross: Sexualized Violence, Silence, and Crucifixion
Prof. David Tombs
Trinity College Dublin
4:15 p.m., Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall, Swarthmore College
St. Paul’s description of the cross as ‘a scandal’ (1 Cor. 1.23) is widely known. Christians around the world are familiar with it, and many recall it each year on Good Friday. But what exactly made the cross so scandalous and shameful? The lecture examines sexualized violence and tortures in contemporary conflicts and in the Roman world. It explains why the cross was so offensive in the first century, it suggests that the real shame of the cross has been unspeakable for two millennia, and it asks how this might be appropriately addressed in a theology which affirms human dignity.
You can read some of David Tombs’ work on the topic in an article, ‘Crucifixion, State Terror and Sexual Abuse’, that appeared in a 1999 issue of Union Seminary Quarterly Review.
David Tombs works in Belfast, Northern Ireland as Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation for the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin. His primary focus is public theology and the interface of religion, violence and conflict transformation.
When Swarthmore students study in Northern Ireland as part of the College’s Northern Ireland Semester program, they study with Dr. Tombs and his colleagues at the Irish School of Ecumenics. David Tombs has been a marvelous partner for the program and works closely with Swarthmore faculty, staff, and students. His visit will provide an excellent opportunity for students who might be interested in studying in Northern Ireland the opportunity to learn more about the Irish School of Ecumenics in Belfast.
Co-sponsored by Peace & Conflict Studies, Department of Religion, Provost’s Office, Off-campus Study, The Northern Ireland Semester, Gender and Sexuality Studies
On November 5th, 2013, Dr. Wendy Chmielewski, Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection will present a paper at West Chester University during a conference on the Cold War.
Dr. Chmielewski’s paper is titled: “Challenging the Cold War Warriors: Greenham Women Against Cruise Missiles, 1983-1988” Greenham Women Against Cruise Missiles was a group of women from Britain, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Congressmen Ron Dellums and Ted Weiss who attempted to sue the Reagan administration in US federal court for human rights and US constitutional violations.
We would like to thank the crowd of over 50 swarthmore faculty, staff, and students who attended the public conversation with Dee Craig on Thursday afternoon in McCabe Library. We appreciated the thoughtful dialogue and we look forward to much more of the same over the coming weeks of Dee’s residency at the Tri-Colleges.
Many thanks to Susan Dreher, Tom Bonner, and Annette Newman who worked so hard to make the exhibit a reality.
As part of the Mellon Creative Residency that we are sponsoring, Paul Downie of the Community Arts Center near campus introduced Dee Craig to a mural arts technique yesterday by creating a collage on the second floor of Kohlberg Hall.
You can continue to follow the residency as it develops at http://bit.ly/craigstory
Many thanks to Swarthmore’s News and Information Office for this piece that has appeared on the College’s webpage. Congratulations again to Elowyn Corby!
Elowyn Corby ’13 Wins Peace and Justice Studies Thesis Award
Elowyn Corby ’13 presented her winning thesis at the Peace and Justice Studies Association’s awards banquet this past weekend.
If you want to be heard, speak up. It’s a basic concept that has driven the progression of democracy, the rise of cohesive communities, and now, Elowyn Corby’s [’13] thesis research, which recently caught the attention of the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA).
Titled “Training for Change: Moving from Theory to Practice in Adult Education for Empowerment,” Corby’s thesis garnered her the association’s 2013 Undergraduate Student Thesis Award. Corby, a peace education and political science major with a minor in conflict studies from Santa Cruz, Calif., accepted the award and presented her work this past weekend at PJSA’s annual meeting in Waterloo, Ontario.
Participation supports both the individual and the collective, according to Corby. It allows for the formation of social trust and social connection between people and within a society, and prevents communities from becoming too insular and controlling. However, participation has always been unevenly distributed.
“What we see is certain people getting heard a lot, often because they tend to participate a lot,” she says. “The government listens to those who participate. My question was, how does education tie into this? We know we need democratic skills and participatory skills. How do we get there? Is that something that can be trained?”
Corby’s hope was to determine whether activism training could reduce the inequalities that typically arise out of the most common way people develop activism skills: in the workplace.
“The experience that you accrue in the workplace is very biased along racial and socioeconomic lines,” she explains. “So if you’re developing leadership experience in the workplace, it’s much more likely that you’re a white male from a privileged socioeconomic background than you’re a person of color, or a woman, from a working class background.”
For her research, Corby chose to focus on Training for Change, an activism training organization that she had been in contact with since her freshman year at Swarthmore. Using them as a case study, she conducted 278 surveys and seven long-form interviews over the span of a year and a half.
“Statistically, Training for Change does increase [participants’] democratic confidence and how much they can engage in issues they care about across the board,” Corby says. “They engage more frequently, they attend more meetings, they run more meetings.”
However, Corby also stumbled upon a second discovery. Not only did Training for Change equalize the participatory playing field, it did so by exponentially increasing activism skills among people of color.
“Training for Change is not only increasing democratic participatory skills,” she says, “but it’s also doing it in a way that disproportionately affects communities that are much more likely to be silenced by our current democratic system. So it’s combating larger social inequalities.”
Corby’s findings have solidified her staunch belief that anyone can become an activist, and hopes that her research can compel more people to consider the inequalities found in current activist participation in a new light. It’s just a matter of channeling your passion and honing your skills.
“I think one of the things that holds activism training back is that it’s not understood very well,” she says. “It’s not seen as something that’s actually viable for facilitating and catalyzing social change. So there’s a lot of need for activism training.”
Corby credits her advisers, Associate Professor of Educational Studies Diane Anderson and Associate Professor of Sociology Lee Smithey, with providing support and encouragement. “Lee in particular spent hours and hours with me going over the data and number crunching,” Corby says. “I feel strange taking credit for this because it was all of us.”
Professor Sa’ed Atshan (Swarthmore class of 2006), Postdoctoral Fellow, Brown University, will give a talk on campus entitled:
“Bethlehem Blues: Humanitarian Politics in the Palestinian Territories”
Wednesday, October 30, 4:30 p.m.
Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall
The population of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) is among the highest recipients of international humanitarian aid per capita in the world. This lecture will analyze changes in the political economy of the OPT that have led to increased dependence on foreign assistance and the impact of that dependency on contemporary Palestinian society. With the West Bank governorate of Bethlehem as the base for this examination, we will trace the “social life of aid” in the OPT and explore how international aid shapes the subjectivity, space, and social fabric of Palestinians.
Dr. Atshan formerly taught in the Peace and Justice Studies program at Tufts University, and we are thrilled to have him back on campus soon.
Sponsored by the Departments of Sociology/Anthropology, Political Science, Modern Languages and Literature (Arabic Section), Islamic Studies, and Peace and Conflict Studies
Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine will host Sunjeev Bery on campus Tuesday, October 22 at 4:30 in Kohlberg 116.
Sunjeev BeryBery will talk about Israel’s violations of human rights in the Occupied Territories including the Gaza student blockade, Nabi Saleh village, and other human rights issues.
Sunjeev Bery is the Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa for Amnesty International USA. AmnestyInternational is a Nobel Peace Prize winning human rights organization with over 3 million members. Sunjeev Bery has attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, has worked at the ACLU, and frequently writes articles on human rights issues.
The event is sponsored by Political Science, Islamic Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, Forum for Free Speech, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.
As students, faculty, and staff return from Fall Break, they will be joined by a visiting mural artist from Belfast, Northern Ireland. David ‘Dee’ Craig will take up a Mellon Creative Residency for one month during the fall semester 2013.
Mr. Craig’s visit follows a visit to Swarthmore College by the Bogside Artists in 2008 and will feature a photo exhibit in McCabe library, public talks, a range of class visits, an indoor installation, a large outdoor mural installation, and a partnership with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
INDOOR COLLAGE INSTALLATION
Wednesday, October 23
The first event of the residency will involve Mr. Craig working with Paul Downie, local mural artist and Director of the Community Arts Center in Wallingford. Mr. Craig and Mr. Downie will install a collage mural in the Sociology and Anthropology wing of the second floor of Kohlberg Hall on October 23.
NORTHERN IRELAND MURAL EXHIBIT IN McCABE LIBRARY
Thursday, October 24, 4:15 p.m.
McCabe Library Atrium, Swarthmore College
Prof. Lee Smithey will conduct a public interview with the artist at 4:15 in the McCabe Library atrium. This event is open to the public, and a reception will follow.
You can also learn more about mural arts in Northern Ireland by visiting http://bit.ly/troubledwalls and listening to a recent radio documentary on the subject from BBC Radio 4.
MURAL ON CAMPUS
October 28 – November 7
Mr. Craig will paint a large mural on canvases that will be mounted on a prepared surface on the southeast end of the Science Center. The artist will paint in a tent that is being erected near the wall, and in the spirit of public art, students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to engage with him as they pass the tent while he is painting. Several students have applied for spots to work with the artist on the creation of the mural.
Mr. Craig brings his skills and experience to our campus from the oldest continuous mural arts tradition in the world while also exploring the techniques and style of the mural arts scene in Philadelphia. Students, staff, and faculty met on three occasions during the fall semester to offer input into the content of the mural. We appreciate the collaborative process that Mr. Craig has encouraged, we look forward to seeing how he will interpret our community visually, and we hope the residency provides an opportunity for mural making in a new context.
ANOTHER PUBLIC CONVERSATION WITH THE ARTIST
Monday, November 11, 4:15 p.m.
Carpenter Library, Room B21, Bryn Mawr College
“Murals and conflict transformation: A conversation with artist Dee Craig”
For anyone who missed the opportunity to hear the first public interview with Mr. Craig at Swarthmore, we will have the opportunity of another public conversation with him on Monday, November 11 at 4:15 p.m. in Carpenter Library, Room B21 at Bryn Mawr College.
This event is sponsored by the Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict.
Tuesday, November 12, 12:00 p.m.
Please join us at the southeast corner of the Science Center on Tuesday, November 12 at noon for a mid-day “launch” of the new mural on Swarthmore’s campus.
TRI-COLLEGE CLASS VISITS
Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College
Throughout the month-long residency, Dee Craig will visit with nine classes across the Tri-Colleges.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Mr. 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.”
ABOUT THE RESIDENCY
The residency is 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.
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, including in conflict situations.
The residency was inspired by a research project based out of Swarthmore College and Hofstra University. Swarthmore Professor Lee 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.
Made possible by The Mellon Creative Residencies Program; Peace and Conflict Studies Program, Swarthmore College; Swarthmore College Libraries; The President’s Office, Swarthmore College; The Northern Ireland Semester, Swarthmore College; Sociology and Anthropology Department, Swarthmore College; Community Arts Center; The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program; The Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, Bryn Mawr College