All posts by mlawren1

No Empires, No Dust Bowls: Lessons from the first Global Environmental Crisis with Dr. Hannah Holleman

Announcing an Upcoming Lecture!

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No Empires, No Dust Bowls: Lessons from the First Global Environmental Crisis

Dr. Hannah Holleman
Assistant Professor of Sociology at Amherst College

Monday, December 3, 2018 from 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm in the Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall, Swarthmore College
This event is free and open to the public. (Campus map)

The 1930s Dust Bowl has become one of the most prominent historical referents of the climate change era amongst scientists and writers. This lecture offers a significant reinterpretation of the disaster with implications for our understanding of contemporary environmental problems and politics. Based on award-winning research and theoretical development, Prof. Holleman reinterprets the Dust Bowl on the U.S. southern Plains as one dramatic and foreseeable regional manifestation of a global socio-ecological crisis generated by the political economy and ecology of settler colonialism and the new imperialism.

She establishes key antecedents to present-day ecological developments and brings the narrative forward to today, explaining the persistent consequences and important lessons of this era for our current struggles to address the planetary challenges of climate change, environmental injustice, and new threats of dust-bowlification.

Hosted by Peace and Conflict Studies with Co-Sponsorship from the Lang Center for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility, Environmental Studies, and Sociology and Anthropology

Contact: Molly Lawrence at, 610-328-7750

Can the Two Koreas Come Together and Change the World? A Talk with John Feffer

Can the Two Koreas Come Together and Change the World
“Can the Two Koreas Come Together and Change the World?”
A talk by John Feffer, Director of Foreign Policy In Focus, Institute for Policy Studies (Washington, DC)
Thursday, November 15, 2018
4:15 pm
Kohlberg 115
North and South Korea have embarked on their most ambitious efforts yet to end the Cold War on the Korean peninsula. The two sides have begun to dismantle structures at the DMZ. They are discussing wide-ranging economic cooperation and even co-hosting a future Olympics. Reunification remains a challenging task, however, given the enormous political, economic, and cultural divide between the two Koreas. Also, inter-Korean rapprochement depends at least in part on the success of nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea. Still, if successful, the current detente on the Korean peninsula promises not only to defuse one of the world’s most dangerous faultlines but also bring together a fractious region. It could even provide an example for the world of how to overcome ideological divisions to address common problems.

John Feffer is the author of several books, including North Korea, South Korea: U.S. Policy at a Time of Crisis. His most recent book is the forthcoming novel, Frostlands. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Salon, Fortune, and many other periodicals. He served as the East Asia International Affairs Representative for the American Friends Service Committee from 1998 to 2001. He is a graduate of Haverford College.
Sponsored by Asian Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, the Department of History, and HAN (Korean Student Organization)

“For the Love of Humanity: the World Tribunal on Iraq” with Dr. Ayça Çubukçu

Please join us for a lecture by Ayça Çubukçu (LSE) on November 8th at 5 pm in Kohlberg 115. Ayça’s lecture will draw on her recently published book with UPenn Press.

For the love of Humanity
“For the Love of Humanity: the World Tribunal on Iraq”
Dr. Ayça Çubukçu
Associate Professor in Human Rights & Co-Director of LSE Human Rights
London School of Economics and Political Science

The global anti-war movement against the invasion and occupation of Iraq crystalized on February 15, 2003, when millions of people simultaneously demonstrated in six hundred cities around the world. The World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) emerged from this global anti-war movement in order “to tell and disseminate the truth about the Iraq war.” Between 2003 and 2005, in the absence of official institutions of justice willing or able to perform the task, the WTI established a globally networked platform where the reasons and consequences of the war could be investigated, and those responsible for the destruction of Iraq could be publicly judged. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork with WTI activists around the globe, this lecture will examine the transnational praxis of the World Tribunal on Iraq to address challenges of forging global solidarity through an anti-imperialist politics of human rights and international law.

This event is part of the “Contending Visions of the Middle East” series, which is supported by the President’s Office Andrew W. Mellon Grant and the departments of History, Peace and Conflict Studies, Political Science and Sociology / Anthropology.

“Rumors, Strikes, and Industrial Debris in Mumbai, India” with Dr. Maura Finkelstein

Dr. Maura Finkelstein
Monday, October 29
4:30pm, Science Center 101
“Rumors, Strikes, and Industrial Debris in Mumbai, India”

This talk addresses the decline of Mumbai’s textile industry, once covering 600 acres of the central city’s geography. Now most mills have been closed and are being redeveloped into sites of middle class consumption (popularly framed as “mills to malls”). Lingering industrial spaces disappear beneath this emergent vertical city. One can now drive along overpasses, from downtown to the suburbs, without actually seeing these older and declining regions of the city. Such invisibility contributes to city-wide narratives of closed mills and dispersed workers. However the mill lands are still lively spaces, inhabited by resilient working class communities. This talk focuses on my ethnographic field site of Dhanraj Spinning and Weaving, Ltd, a textile mill still operating in Central Mumbai. Through worker engagements with labor strikes and rumors, I show the persistent life and labor of the remaining mill workers and unregulated industries inside the mill gates: the place in which formal and informal economies collide and life continues despite conflict, expected trends, and future projections.


Organized by Peace and Conflict Studies and Co- Sponsored by Asian Studies, Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.

“Coming Together & Falling Apart: The Current State and Future Trends in Conflict and Peace-building” with Shamil Idriss ‘94

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Shamil Idriss (class of ’94) is President & CEO of Search for Common Ground, the world’s largest dedicated peace-building organization which was nominated by the Quakers for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.  He will share lessons learned from the organization’s 35+ years of frontline peace-building experience and what they portend for the future of peace and conflict.

Come check out this amazing opportunity to hear him speak!

Friday, October 5
4:30pm, Scheuer Room

shamil idriss flyer (1)

Swarthmore to Host Symposium on Resisting Anti-Semitism

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The event will discuss anti-Semitism and its successful opposition, both past and present.


From News and Events:


On Sunday, Sept. 16, Swarthmore College will host a landmark symposium, “Resisting Anti-Semitism: Past and Present, Local and Global,” which will seriously engage with the topic of anti-Semitism—the forms it has taken and the ways it has been successfully opposed, past and present. The event, which begins at 9 a.m. at Lang Performing Arts Center and is free and open to the public, will feature moderated discussions among scholars from around the world and a keynote address by Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum.

“The goal of the symposium is to give participants a deeper understanding of this form of prejudice and violence, an enhanced commitment to opposing it, and a strengthened ability to do so,” says Assistant Professor of Peace & Conflict Studies Sa’ed Atshan ’06, co-organizer of the event. “We will face head-on the disturbing history and present-day reality of anti-Semitism in the United States, Europe, and the broader Middle East/North Africa region, and will also highlight the hope embodied in the struggle against anti-Semitism, which has existed as long as anti-Semitism itself.“

Also co-organized by Rabbi Michael Ramberg of the Interfaith Center and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, the daylong symposium will bring together academics, rabbis, activists, and artists, among others, with expertise in three regions—North America, Europe, and the Middle East/North Africa—to engage in conversation with one another and the Swarthmore community. Enriched by diverse perspectives from the distinguished panelists, symposium participants will gain a deeper understanding of the form of prejudice and violence, an enhanced commitment to opposing it, and a strengthened ability to do so.

“As so many forces are trying to drive a wedge between Jewish and Palestinian communities, we hope that by co-organizing this conference, we—a Jewish American and a Palestinian Quaker—can further demonstrate the beauty and power of collegiality, friendship, community-building, and solidarity,” says Ramberg.

The 10 panelists include academics from institutions in the U.S. and Israel; rabbis from North America and Europe; activists from around the U.S.; and André Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name, who will discuss his experience growing up Jewish in Egypt. Keynote speaker Kleinbaum has played a pivotal role in efforts to combat both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia as the lead rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York, the largest LGBTQ synagogue community in the world.

This event is sponsored by the Swarthmore College Peace and Conflict Studies Program, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, and Swarthmore’s Office for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Development.

For more information, visit the event website.