All posts by Lee Smithey

Nationalism, Class, and Activism in Lebanon in the Shadow of Syrian Civil War

Nationalism, Class, and Activism in Lebanon in the Shadow of Syrian Civil War

Yasemin Ipek, Assistant Professor in the Global Affairs Program, George Mason University

Monday, April 1, 2019, 4:30-6 p.m.
Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall

event flyer

Between 2011 and 2014, more than a million registered Syrian refugees came to Lebanon, making the tiny country host to the largest refugee population per capita in the world. Based on ethnographic research in Beirut between 2012 and 2015 with a wide-ranging set of actors such as unemployed NGO volunteers, middle-class social entrepreneurs, advocacy activists, the returning Lebanese diaspora, and Western aid workers, this talk examines the reconfigurations of Lebanese nationalism and sectarianism in the aftermath of the Syrian civil war. The Lebanese experience of activism, which has been transformed in the context of the Syrian civil war and the refugee crisis, questions the common theorizing that tends to romanticize activism as inherently subversive. The talk suggests that local framings of activism cannot be understood only through lenses of the liberal human rights discourse or neoliberalism, but are also tied to diverse postcolonial aspirations and practices related to national identity.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Islamic Studies, Global Studies, the Arabic section and Peace and Conflict Studies

Free and open to the public.

Welcoming Jordan Landes, Curator of the Friends Historical Library

Jordan Landes joined our community on March 11, 2019. Jordan joins us from the Senate House Library, the central library of the University of London where she was a Research Librarian for History.  A true exemplar of the value of a liberal arts education, Jordan has worked in libraries whose foci are literature and theater (Shakespeare’s Globe), contemporary dance (the Laban Library) and computer science (University of Maryland, College Park).

Jordan Landes

Jordan is an alumna of Haverford and in addition to her Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland; she has degrees in History from the University of Maryland (M.A.) and from the School of Advanced Study at the University of London (PhD).  Jordan has focused her studies in Quaker history.  Her doctoral thesis on the role of London in the creation of the trans-Atlantic Quaker community in the late 17th and early 18th centuries served as the basis for her book, London Quakers in the Trans-Atlantic World: The Creation of an Early Modern Community; it was published by Palgrave in 2015. 

 Jordan thinks a great deal about community and its value in the context of libraries and scholarship.  Jordan is also an innovator.  As co-convener of History Day, she developed an event that brings several hundred historians, undergraduates, and post-graduate researchers together with information professionals from over sixty libraries, archives and research organizations.  She has also worked with Wikimedia UK to host editithons in collaboration with the University of Birmingham over Twitter to address the dearth of information on women’s history.  She recently curated several recent exhibits – one on dissent in WWI and another on protest movements, entitled “Radical Voices.”  She is particularly interested in the way that libraries and archives preserve evidence of peace – when so much of the historical documents has focused on the opposite. 

As both librarian and historian, Jordan has built trans-Atlantic networks like the Quakers she has studied.  We are excited to see how she might expand our own networks, not only to England but beyond.

We would like to thank the search committee chaired by Sarah Willie-LeBreton with members, David Harrison, Ellen Ross, Celia Caust-Ellenbogen, Susanna Morikawa, Pat O’Donnell and Peggy Seiden. We would also like to recognize the phenomenal leadership of Pat O’Donnell since Chris Densmore’s retirement over a year ago and the support of Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Susanna Morikawa in not only sustaining the day-to-day work of FHL, but also managing a major grant project, In her own Right.

Dr. Amy Kapit to Join Faculty in Peace and Conflict Studies

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Amy Kapit will join the Peace and Conflict Studies program, starting Fall 2019.

Professor Kapit will offer a range of exciting new courses:!

  • Humanitarianism: Education and Conflict
  • Afghanistan: Where Central and South Asia Meet
  • Peace Education
  • Senior Capstone Seminar

(Scroll down to the bottom of this post for course descriptions!)

Dr. Amy Kapit
Dr. Amy Kapit

Dr. Kapit graduated from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development with a Ph.D. in International Education in 2016. She holds a B.A. in Religion and Peace and Conflict Studies from Swarthmore College.

Dr. Kapit’s research, scholarship, and teaching focuses on the relationships between education and conflict, and on the field of education in emergencies—the provision of education as a form of humanitarian aid. Most recently, she has worked as the Research Director of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in International Education at NYU Steinhardt, where she has taught courses on Politics, Education, and Conflict and Qualitative Research Methods. As GCPEA Research Director, she has developed the organization’s research agenda related to monitoring and reporting violence committed against students, educators, and educational facilities in areas of armed conflict and political violence. She was the lead author of the report Education under Attack 2018.

During her graduate and post-graduate career, Dr. Kapit has conducted research on education in emergencies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and in Afghanistan. From 2014 to 2016, she was the Research Director of the Assessment of Learning Outcomes and Social Effects of Community-Based Education in Afghanistan. The study, led by professors at New York University and the University of California—Berkeley, examined a community-based education program being implemented by two NGOs in approximately 200 villages in Afghanistan.

In addition, Dr. Kapit has studied the origins of the global movement to protect education from attack and how that new international advocacy network has—or has not—shaped efforts to address violence, harassment, and threats against students, teachers, and educational facilities in places where these attacks occur. Specifically, she has conducted research on the humanitarian community’s efforts to protect students, teachers, and schools in the Middle East.

Dr. Kapit has previously worked on projects with numerous organizations focusing on education, child protection, and children’s rights, including Human Rights Watch, Education Above All, the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), Save the Children, the Scholars at Risk Network, and UNESCO.

We look forward to having such a remarkable scholar and teacher join our program!

Amy Kapit reception 4-7-18


New courses by Prof. Amy Kapit:

PEA 072 Humanitarianism: Education and Conflict
(Fall 2019, Fall 2020)

This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of humanitarianism and, specifically, the provision of education as a humanitarian intervention—what practitioners call “education in emergencies.” The course will delve into the foundations and history of humanitarianism and track how humanitarian intervention evolved over the course of the 20th century, broadening and deepening in scope. It will explore continuing debates over the appropriateness of education as a humanitarian intervention and examine what types of educational interventions are prioritized by humanitarian agencies, as well as the goals that those interventions are trying to achieve. For example, what is the relationship between education and conflict and how do education in emergencies providers intervene to alter that relationship? Students will have the opportunity to study specific examples of education in emergencies programming in countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia, Nepal, Sierra Leone, and Syria, and to hear from guest speakers working in the field of education in emergencies. The course will encourage students to apply what they have learned to policy-oriented exercises.

PEAC 052 Afghanistan: Where Central and South Asia Meet
(Fall 2019, Fall 2020)

This course examines conflict, politics, culture, and daily life in present day Afghanistan. Occupying a historic crossroads in Asia, Afghanistan is a place of regional, ethnic, and cultural diversity. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, internal and external actors, including the British Empire, Pashtun dynasties, the Soviet Union, the Taliban, the United States and its allies, and the Islamic State, have battled for control of Afghanistan. Today, as conflict continues, the international community exerts significant influence on Afghanistan’s politics, security, economy, and social institutions. This course will explore themes related to conflict, peacemaking, statebuilding, and international intervention, and their intersection with cultural and ethnic diversity, religion, gender norms, and the lived experiences of Afghan people. Students will read memoirs, literature, and scholarly work from various disciplines.

PEAC 022 Peace Education
(Spring 2020, Spring 2021)

In this introductory course, students will explore the historical, ethical, and theoretical foundations of peace education, a subfield of peace and conflict studies. Students will consider different approaches towards peace education: should peace education be oriented towards eliminating physical violence? Facilitating co-existence and understanding? Teaching human rights or citizenship? Empowering the dispossessed and eliminating inequality and injustice? Is peace education best integrated in the existing schooling system, an extracurricular activity, or should it be distinct from schooling? Using case studies, students will critically examine different types of peace education and explore existing research on how they do—or do not—work.

 

Touring the Mariner East 2 Pipeline

Twenty-five students from the Peace and Conflict Studies / Environmental Studies course “Climate Disruption, Conflict, and Peacemaking” braved cold temperatures to tour the route of the Mariner East 2 pipeline (ME2) that runs near Swarthmore College.

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The ME2 will carry compressed propane, ethane, and butane from fracking operations in the Marcellus shale fields of western Pennsylvania to the port of Marcus Hook where these byproducts of natural gas production will be shipped mostly to Europe for the production of plastics.

The ME2 pipeline carries highly flammable liquefied gases under pressure through populated suburban neighborhoods, often only feet from homes, schools, residential facilities, detention facilities, and businesses. The pipeline has generated significant and growing local opposition and has raised questions about risk and regulatory processes. The gases are odorless, invisible, and heavier than air, raising concerns about the possibility of evacuation in the event of a leak.

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Our tour took us to Marcus Hook and its refineries, an elementary school near a valve station, and Hershey’s Mill Village, a large retirement community in the potential blast zone of the pipeline. We met with local residents and activists at the latter two sites. We are immensely grateful to our guide, George Alexander, author of the Dragonpipe Diary, where you can find more investigative work on the pipeline and local campaigns to stop or regulate the pipeline.

For information from Sunoco on the pipeline, visit their website.

 

A new film Half-Mile, Upwind, On Foot, about resistance to the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (that we toured last year) and the Mariner East 2 pipeline, will be released soon.

Half-Mile, Upwind, On Foot trailer from Brian McDermott on Vimeo.

Infographic Session – Climate Disruption course

Please join the students in Climate Disruption, Conflict, and Peacemaking (PEAC 055 / ENVS 031) for an infographic session (similar to a poster session) on Monday morning December 10 at 10:30 a.m. in Shane Student Lounge.

Refreshments provided.  This is a zero waste event.

sustainability poster

 

 

With thanks for support from the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility

Anti-Blackness as Latin American Nationalism

Zahira Kelly-Cabrera

Anti-Blackness as Latin American Nationalism

Time/Location: Monday, December 3rd from 4:30pm-5:30pm in the IC Dome (Sproul 201)

Description: You are all invited to Zahira Kelly-Cabrera’s talk on Anti-Blackness as Latin American Nationalism. Zahira Kelly-Cabrera aka @Bad_Dominicana is an AfroDominicana mami, writer, artist, mujerista, award-winning sociocultural critic, and international speaker. She is known for advocating for LatiNegra visibility and rights on social media, and unfiltered social critique, broken down in accessible language. She also aims to pick apart white supremacist capitalist hetero-patriarchy from an anticolonial AfroLatina perspective. The talk is open to the public.

Sponsors: The President’s Office, The Black Cultural Center, The Women’s Resource Center, The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Development, Spanish Department, The Intercultural Center, Sociology & Anthropology Department, ENLACE, SASS, SOCA, Peace & Conflict Studies Department, Black Studies Program, Latin American & Latino Studies Program, The Interfaith Center, Educational Studies Program, and Religion Department.

CIL@SF trip to meet Swarthmore alums in Silicon Valley

CIL@SFCIL@SF 2.0 = CIL@SF trip + supplemental course to  
Please note that this supplemental course is open to all students.  While students enrolled in “PEAC049: Be the change! Principles in Practice” are encouraged to apply, it is not compulsory as part of the PEAC049 requirement, nor will places be reserved.
 
Check out how to apply below! 
INFO SESSION: Tuesday, November 27th, 12:30pm in Shane Lounge
APPLICATIONS DUE: Friday, November 30th by 11:59pm via Google Form below

Since 2015, the CIL has organized CIL@ SF, a trip for approximately 10 students to meet Swarthmore alums and tour tech related companies in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley areas. Students have had the opportunity to meet with entrepreneurial alumni who live and work in the region, to learn about their work and their workplaces, and engage with start-up, venture capital, and tech communities. In January 2018, CIL@ SF visited parents, alumni, and colleagues at Google HQ, Ancestry.com, Title Nine, DFJ Ventures, Stitch Fix, OpenTable, and Stanford University’s d.school.

This year the CIL@ SF trip has been redesigned to align more closely with current classes being taught in Swarthmore, and in 2019 will be delivered as a supplement course to PEAC049: Be the Change! Social Entrepreneurship Principles in Practice, delivered by Denise Crossan, Lang Visiting Professor for Issues of Social Change

The CIL@ SF trip and supplement course is delivered as an engaged scholarship class.  Preparatory classes and in-depth learning experiences combine to give students the opportunity to explore, examine and reflect on theory in practice.  The required class preparation will consist of 4 classes of 2 hours duration delivered prior to Spring Break 2019. Students will be required to work in teams and individually to write short reflective reports on the learning experience throughout the course.  PEAC049A is for zero credit as it is a supplement to PEAC049 for Spring Semester 2019. 

CIL@ SF 2019 Learning Goals:

  • Through case studies, examine a number of society’s “wicked problems”.  Explore the range of contributing issues to wicked problems and the methods employed to find solutions to seemly intractable issues.
  • Understand and explore the principles of social innovation as applied in a number of different scenarios.
  • Examine the knowledge base, experience and career paths of individuals who are social innovators across the public to private spectrum.

Who: 10 Swarthmore students
Where: Start-up, venture capital, and tech communities with a social entrepreneurship or innovation focus + more in San Francisco and Silicon Valley
When: March 10-16, 2019
Cost: $0. All travel, food, and accommodations are covered by the CIL


How to Apply

Registration for this supplemental class will be through a written online application and a short interview. Please note that this supplemental course is open to all students. While students enrolled in “PEAC049: Be the change! Principles in Practice” are encouraged to apply, it is not compulsory as part of the PEAC049 requirement, nor will places be reserved. To apply, students will be asked to submit:

  • A current resume (PDF)
  • An essay, no longer than 1,000 words, (PDF) answering the following questions
    • What do you think you’ll gain from the CIL@ SF Trip?
    • What would you most like to ask or learn from alumni working in social innovation and social entrepreneurship?  

Applications will be reviewed by a CIL panel, and on first round selection based on the essay, students will be asked to attend a short interview. Only 10 students can go on the trip and must confirm that they are available and committed to travel on dates between March10-16, 2019 (Spring Break week). Please note that this supplemental course is open to all students. While students enrolled in “PEAC049: Be the change! Principles in Practice” are encouraged to apply, it is not compulsory as part of the PEAC049 requirement, nor will places be reserved.

 Important Dates!

  • An Information Session on CIL@ SF will be held:  Tuesday, November 27th, 12:30pm in Shane Lounge  
  • Online applications should be submitted by:  Friday November 30th by 11:59pm via Google Form above
  • Interviews will take place: the weeks of December 3rd/10th, Social Innovation Lab
  • Notification by: No later than December 17th

 

Please contact Katie Clark at kclark2 if you have any questions!

Webinar on the Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements

On November 15, 2018, Prof. Lee Smithey joined his co-editor and colleague, Prof. Lester Kurtz (George Mason University) to talk about their new edited book, The Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements (Syracuse University Press). The webinar was recorded, and you are welcome to view it here. The Communications Office, also published a piece on the College’s website that you may also read below. You can learn more about the book at http://paradox.swarthmore.edu


Professor Lee Smithey
Associate Professor Lee Smithey

Lee Smithey, associate professor of peace & conflict studies and sociology, is a co-editor and contributor to a new book, The Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements (Syracuse University Press, 2018), that offers an in-depth exploration of the use of repression in political arenas and its unintended effect of sometimes fanning the flames of nonviolent resistance.

“The concept of backfire, or the paradox of repression, is widely understood to be fundamental to strategic nonviolent action, but it has not been fully investigated. It was work that needed to be done,” says Smithey, who in addition to writing and teaching about nonviolent resistance has also participated in peaceful protests. “Power is not only about repression but also about building public support.”

The book, edited by Smithey and Lester Kurtz, a George Mason University sociology professor, is meant as a tool for scholars and activists to understand how repression works, as well as to study significant incidents when nonviolent activists took measures to help make repression a defining moment. For example: “When authorities are seen as attacking or disrespecting widely shared symbols, they may mobilize people in defense of shared collective identities,” write Smithey and Kurtz.

The editors first wrote about the topic in 1999, but organizing for the new book began in 2009—bringing together diverse, global contributors to study how repression can energize nonviolent movements and how nonviolent activists have worked to manage repression in their favor. It includes the grassroots efforts of nonviolent resistance such as Women of Zimbabwe Arise, who bravely joined forces as “mothers of the nation” to stand against dictator Robert Mugabe.

As they planned the book, Smithey and Kurtz organized a two-day writing retreat for the contributors to help build an integrated approach to the project. “It was intellectually exciting,” Smithey says. “We were committed early on to making this book a collaboration between academics and practitioners.”

One practice the book’s authors explore is called repression management—enacted by withstanding or avoiding repression or by creating scenarios in which repression against nonviolent activists would more likely elicit a sense of public outrage (and ultimately support).

One example, Smithey says, is the now-iconic photo of Ieshia Evans, who stood stoically in a flowing dress and faced a line of law enforcement officers in riot gear as she protested the shooting death of Alton Sterling. The photo, taken in downtown Baton Rouge, La., on July 9, 2016, quickly became a cultural touchstone.

The Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements also examines the psychological costs for agents of repression, elites’ attempts to avoid triggering the paradox of repression, repression of online activism, and the work of overcoming fear.

“Repression is an attempt to demobilize nonviolent movements by sowing fear,” Smithey says, “but activists can work together to overcome fear and continue to mobilize.”

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict will host a webinar by Smithey and Kurtz Nov. 15 from noon to 1 PM. Smithey will also offer an Alumni Council webinar on the book on Nov. 28. 

Pipelines and Nonviolent Civil Resistance

Lancaster Against Pipelines Pequa Creek

On Wednesday November 7, Malinda Clatterbuck, a co-founder of Lancaster Against Pipelines and a staff member at the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund will speak in our “Climate Disruption, Conflict, and Peacemaking” course in Science Center room 183 at 10:30-11:20.  You are welcome to attend to hear more about the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline and local resistance.  (An RSVP to lsmithe1 would be welcome but not necessary.)

Last year, our class toured part of the route of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, including property owned by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, a Catholic order that is fighting the seizure of their land through eminent domain.

After class on November 7, anyone is invited to join us at noon for a brown-bag conversation over lunch in the new Sproul Hall kitchen (Room 205 in the Hormel/Nguyen Intercultural Center). Brown bag means you bring your own lunch. Drop by Essie Mae’s next door to grab some food if you wish, and then come join us.  No need to RSVP.

You can read more about Lancaster Against Pipelines and their partners, the Sisters of the order Adorers of the Blood of Christ at http://www.wearelancastercounty.org/
The new documentary film, Half-Mile, Upwind, On Foot, features clips of interviews with Malinda and the sisters. See  https://vimeo.com/283257412

Half-Mile, Upwind, On Foot trailer from Brian McDermott on Vimeo.

Exhibit: The War to End All Wars: Devastation, Resistance, and Relief in World War I

WWIexhibitF18

Exhibit: The War to End All Wars: Devastation, Resistance, and Relief in World War I

Atrium, McCabe Library
November 5 – December 1, 2018
Open to the public

November 11, 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  To commemorate this event the Swarthmore College Libraries is sponsoring an exhibition of materials from the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Friends Historical Library, and the College Archives will on display.  See materials on the reaction of Swarthmore College, Quakers, and peace activists to the first global war, 1914-1918.

Opening event, Thursday, November 8, 2018
Atrium, McCabe Library, 4:30 p.m.
Open to the public

“Looking Back at the Great War From a Writers’ Point of View”
Mystery writers Charles Todd and Caroline Todd will talk about their books set during World War I and immediately after.  Their detectives, front line nurse Bess Crawford, and soldier-turned Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Rutledge face war time battles and the terrible consequences of war. Open to the public
There will be an opportunity to buy some of the authors’ books and light reception to follow the talk.

Win a signed copy of Charles Todd book!  Free raffle for a book from the Swarthmore College bookstore
Visit the bookstore for a free raffle ticket