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.
Monthly Archives: October 2013
Sexualized Violence, Silence, and Crucifixion
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
Challenging the Cold War Warriors: Greenham Women Against Cruise Missiles, 1983-1988
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.
Public Conversation with mural artist Dee Craig
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.
For more information about the residency, visit http://bit.ly/swatcraig and follow the residency as it develops at http://bit.ly/craigstory
Video of Collage Installation in Kohlberg Hall
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
Mellon Creative Residency Collage Installation at Swarthmore College from Swarthmore Peace Studies on Vimeo.
Extended article on Elowyn Corby’s 2013 PJSA Thesis Award
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.”
Bethlehem Blues: Humanitarian Politics in the Palestinian Territories
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
Follow the Tri-College Creative Residency via Storify on our blog.
You can follow developments in the Tri-College Creative Residency via this blog post. More information about the residency, including upcoming events is available at http://bit.ly/swatcraig.
You may also follow the residency directly at http://bit.ly/craigstory
Human rights in the Occupied Territories
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.
Swarthmore alums win PJSA thesis awards two years in a row
Elowyn Corby ’13 received the Undergraduate Thesis Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association this weekend. Sa’ed Atshan ’05 was there in Waterloo, Ontario to congratulate her.
We also learned that last year’s Graduate Thesis Award went to a Swarthmore alum, Sara Koopman, who graduated in 1993. Prof. Joy Charlton was her adviser and she was a Sociology and Anthropology major.
Dr. Koopman won the award for her geography thesis, “Making Space for Peace: International Protective Accompaniment in Colombia (2007-2009)”
The website of the Balsillie School of International Affairs of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the University of Waterloo (UW), and Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier) offers the following information about Dr. Koopman:
Dr. Koopman is a feminist political geographer who does collaborative research with international solidarity movements to support their efforts to decolonize the relationships between global North and South. Her work also speaks to dynamics in humanitarianism, development, and peacebuilding more generally.
She has written about the movement to close the US Army’s School of the Americas, the World Social Forum, and her most recent research is on international protective accompaniment, a strategy used in conflict zones which puts people who are less at risk literally next to people who are under threat because of their work for peace and justice. The paradox of accompaniment is that it uses global systems that make some lives ‘count’ more, to build a world where everyone ‘counts’. In doing so it can both reinforce and wear away systems of inequality.
Her postdoctoral research builds on her arguments for understanding some grassroots activism as altergeopolitics by asking what an alterbiopolitics might be, and how the two might work together to foster peace, rather than war. To do so she is creating a public digital archive of stories from conflict zones in Colombia shared by international accompaniers (often as calls for action to pressure states), and engaging in a collaborative analysis with both accompaniers and those accompanied as to what worked well in those stories, with the intention of focusing on best practices for sharing stories online from conflict zones for purposes of solidarity and peace building.
- Making Space for Peace: International Protective Accompaniment. 2013. Invited chapter in Geographies of Peace, ed. Fiona McConnell, Nick Megoran, and Philippa Williams. (I. B. Tauris), forthcoming.
- Alter-geopolitics: Other securities are happening. 2011. Geoforum 42:3 (June), 274-284.
- Let’s take peace to pieces. 2011. Political Geography 30:4 (May), 193-194. (cited 3 times)
- Cutting through Topologies: Crossing Lines at the School of the Americas. 2008. Antipode. 40:5, 825-847.
- Imperialism Within: Can the Master’s Tools Bring Down Empire? / Imperialismo Adentro: Pueden las Herramientas del Amo Derribar el Imperio? 2008. Acme: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies. 7:2, 1-27. (cited 21 times)
- A liberatory space? Rumors of rapes at the 5th World Social Forum, Porto Alegre, 2005. 2005. Special Issue of Journal of International Women’s Studies on Women and the World Social Forum, 8:3 (April), 149-163. (cited 7 times)
- Bringing Torture Home: Women Shutting Down the School of the Americas. 2006. Field note in special issue on the Global and the Intimate. Women’s Studies Quarterly. 34: 1-2 (Spring/Summer) 90-93.
Congratulations to both Sara Koopman and Elowyn Corby for their continuing contributions to the field of Peace and Conflict Studies.