Category Archives: Peace and Conflict Studies

Announcing Professor Krista Thomason as Coordinator

Prof. Krista Thomason will serve as Coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Swarthmore College during the academic year 2019-2020.

Prof. Krista Thomason
Prof. Krista Thomason

Prof. Thomason is an accomplished Associate Professor of Philosophy, who has served diligently on the Peace and Conflict Studies Committee for many years. She is wonderfully capable, and we are all certain to benefit from her leadership.

Professor Krista Thomason is an expert in moral emotions, shame and shaming, Immanuel Kant, genocide, and child soldiers. She is the author of Naked: The Dark Side of Shame and Moral Life (Oxford University Press). Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Kantian Review, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Southern Journal of Philosophy, and Philosophical Papers. She has taught courses in the Peace and Conflict Studies Program on Human Rights and Atrocity as well as Moral Philosophy and Social and Political Philosophy.

When you see Professor Thomason on campus in the fall, welcome and congratulate her. It’s going to be a great year!

Two Students, Alumnus Embark on Language, Culture Studies Across Globe

June 19th, 2019

By Ryan Dougherty

Two Swarthmore students and a 2019 grad received coveted awards from the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program and have embarked on summer studies in Eastern Europe, East Africa, and Central Asia.

Carole Lee ’21, Zackary Lash ’19, and Anya Slepyan ’21
Carole Lee ’21, Zackary Lash ’19, and Anya Slepyan ’21

Zackary Lash ’19, who graduated with a special major in peace & conflict studies, is studying Russian in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia; Carole Lee ’21, an English literature major from Vidalia, La., is studying Swahili in Arusha, Tanzania; and Anya Slepyan ’21, a history major from Lexington, Ky., is studying Russian in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Underwritten by the U.S. Department of State, the CLS Program offers “unparalleled opportunity to develop language skills and cultural fluency by a rigorous, eight-week immersive curriculum that includes language training, cultural activities, and site visits,” says Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science Osman Balkan, who serves as Swarthmore faculty representative for the program.

“The CLS is one of the most prestigious and competitive language programs in the country,” adds Balkan. “It receives thousands of applications each year, and it’s a testament to the quality of our students that an institution as small as Swarthmore College has produced three CLS award winners this year.”

The program is part of a wider government effort to raise the number of American students studying and mastering foreign languages deemed critical to national security and economic prosperity, per the program website, playing “an important role in preparing students for the 21st century’s globalized workforce and increasing national competitiveness.”

Balkan, who was a resident director of the CLS Turkish program in Istanbul and Izmir, expects the Swarthmoreans “will have a wonderful, enriching experience this summer.” Their studies began in early to mid-June and will run through mid-August.

Lash, Lee, and Slepyan follow 16 Swarthmore students who have participated in the program since 2007, including Amalia Feld ’12. And that success should only grow, thanks to a recent addition to academic programming at the College.

“With the establishment of our new Global Studies minor, which offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of politics, language, and culture,” says Osman, “Swarthmore students are even better positioned to apply for the CLS.”

How the 1971 Burglary of the Media, PA, FBI Office Changed History: A Conversation with Keith Forsyth, Bonnie Raines, and Betty Medsger

Peace and Conflict Studies is co-sponsoring this awesome event tomorrow!

“How the 1971 Burglary of the Media, PA, FBI Office Changed History”

Round table discussion with:
Keith Forsyth, antiwar activist and burglar, auto worker, optical engineer and jazz guitarist; Bonnie Raines, anti-war activist and burglar, civil rights activist and advocate for the needs of children;
and Betty Medsger, former Washington Post reporter, professor of journalism, and author of The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI

McCabe Library Atrium
Swarthmore College
7 p.m., April 3, 2019
Open to the public

The Swarthmore Campus & Community Store will provide books for purchase and signing during the reception to follow

Co-sponsored by

Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Black Studies
Black Cultural Center
Lang Center for Social Responsibility
Peace and Conflict Studies
Political Science
Peace, Justice, and Human Rights-Haverford College

This event will also recognize Betty Medsger’s donation of her papers to the Peace Collection

Check out the video below for a background on the original event:

 

 

 

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.

 

Humanitarian Predicaments: Protracted Displacement and Palestinian Refugee Politics

Please join us on Wednesday, February 6th for a lecture by Ilana Feldman (Anthropology, George Washington University), who will be visiting campus as part of the “Contending Visions of the Middle East” series. Ilana’s lecture draws from her recently published book “Life Lived In Relief” (University of California Press, 2018).
life lived in reflief
February 6
4:30 – 6:00 PM | SCI 101
Humanitarian Predicaments: Protracted Displacement and Palestinian Refugee Politics
Ilana Feldman (George Washington University)

Palestinian refugees’ experience of protracted displacement is among the lengthiest in history. In her breathtaking new book, Ilana Feldman explores this community’s engagement with humanitarian assistance over a seventy-year period and their persistent efforts to alter their present and future conditions. Based on extensive archival and ethnographic field research, Life Lived in Relief offers a comprehensive account of the Palestinian refugee experience living with humanitarian assistance in many spaces and across multiple generations. By exploring the complex world constituted through humanitarianism, and how that world is experienced by the many people who inhabit it, Feldman asks pressing questions about what it means for a temporary status to become chronic. How do people in these conditions assert the value of their lives? What does the Palestinian situation tell us about the world? Life Lived in Relief is essential reading for anyone interested in the history and practice of humanitarianism today.

Sponsored by the President’s Office Andrew W. Mellon Grant, The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, and the Departments of Political Science, History, Sociology / Anthropology, and Peace and Conflict Studies. For a full schedule of spring events, please consult our website: https://contendingvisions.wixsite.com/mysite

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.

SP-mariner-east-pipeline-map-010218-2-01-1024x797

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.

DSC01685

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.