Category Archives: Peace and Conflict Studies

Beshara Doumani, Director of Middle East Studies at Brown University, to visit Swarthmore PCS on Monday, March 26, 2018

Join the Progam in Peace & Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College for a lecture presented by Prof. Beshara Doumani.

Date: Monday, March 26, 2018

Time: 4:30-6:00 PM

Location: Kohlberg 228

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Between House and Orchard: Family, Shariʿa and the Making of the Modern Middle East

In writings about Islam, women, and modernity in the Middle East, family and religion are frequently invoked but rarely historicized. Based on a wide range of local sources, Beshara Doumani argues that there is no such thing as the Muslim or Arab family type that is so central to Orientalist, nationalist, and Islamist narratives. Rather, one finds dramatic regional differences, even within the same cultural zone, in the ways that family was understood, organized, and reproduced. In his comparative examination of the property devolution strategies and gender regimes in the context of local political economies, Doumani offers a groundbreaking examination of ordinary people and how they shaped the modern Middle East.

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Beshara Doumani is the Joukowsky Family Professor of Modern Middle East History and Director of Middle East Studies at Brown University. His research focuses on groups, places, and time periods marginalized by mainstream scholarship on the early modern and modern Middle East. He also writes on the topics of displacement, academic freedom, politics of knowledge production, and the Palestinian condition. His books include Family Life in the Ottoman Mediterranean: A Social History, Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900, Academic Freedom After September 11 (editor), and Family History in the Middle East: Household, Property and Gender (editor). He is the editor of a book series, New Directions in Palestinian Studies, with the University of California Press.

This event is sponsored by Peace & Conflict Studies, Arabic, Gender & Sexuality Studies, History, Islamic Studies, Sociology & Anthropology, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.


Pádraig Ó Tuama to Visit Swarthmore: The Art And Soul Of Peace – Poetry, Story and Complications from Northern Ireland’s Peace Process

Professor Lee Smithey and the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Swarthmore are elated to announce the upcoming visit of Pádraig Ó Tuama to campus.

Pádraig Ó Tuama Poster

The Art And Soul Of Peace – Poetry, Story and Complications from Northern Ireland’s Peace Process

Poet, theologian and group worker, Pádraig Ó Tuama has worked with groups in Ireland, Britain, the US and Australia and currently serves as the Leader of the Corrymeela Community,  an historic ecumenical center on the north coast of Northern Ireland. With interests in storytelling, groupwork, theology and conflict, Pádraig lectures, leads retreats and writes both poetry and prose. We are thrilled that he will join us for a poetry reading and discussion about Northern Ireland’s peace process. This event comes at a tenuous time for Northern Ireland as plans for Brexit (the divorce of the UK from the EU) collide with the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement. Padraig’s  ability to perceive and articulate the humanity and spirituality of peacemaking is rich and not to be missed.

Event Information:

Date: Friday, April 6, 2018

Time: 2:30 PM

Location: McCabe Atrium

Social Innovation Lab opens at Lang Center, aims to branch out (Phoenix)

Congratulations to Prof. Denise Crossan and her students!


From The Phoenix
3 March 2018
By Abby Young

Social Innovation Lab opens at Lang Center, aims to branch out

In January 2017, the Social Innovation Lab at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility was created by visiting Lang Center professor Denise Crossan. Its purpose is to extend the Lang Center’s mission to promote engaged scholarship at Swarthmore. Currently, it is being used by groups from Chester and SwatTank as well as some Swarthmore student groups. One of the ways the lab is teaching these concepts is through Design Thinking trainings, which are courses about how to create social projects relating to a particular field of interest. Recently, Crossan and fellows have been promoting the lab as a space for students to visit.

“The Social Innovation Lab creates a space where the campus community can come to apply their deep and thoughtful theoretical knowledge into active practice focused on creating positive social impact.  Learning and practicing problem solving skills within the Social Innovation Lab, such as Design Thinking, allows students to apply their Swarthmore education to complex real-world problems and better equips them for experiences post-graduation,” Crossan said.

Crossan renovated an office space and small library into a maker’s space filled with magnetic whiteboards, markers, crafting supplies, and a bin of cardboard. According to her, the space is designed for the creation of prototypes. Some of the prototypes on display in the lab are colorful, cardboard versions of imagined apps from Crossan’s social entrepreneurship class.

According to Michelle Ma ’20, a University Innovation Fellow who works with the Social Innovation Lab, the space is a natural extension of the classroom. This is an expansion of the Lang Center’s push for engaged scholarship, which is applying classroom learning to solve social issues in the world.

“We really want to push this idea of integrating your studies, what you care about, and making it more,” Ma said.

University Innovation Fellow Mariam Bahmane ’19 said that getting students to come to the lab is a current challenge they are facing. She said that even though Swat students are busy, many have dreams and projects, and the lab wants to create incentives for student attendance to help students find a balance between their studies and ideas for innovation.

“We [are working] to develop a whole spirit of the Social Innovation Lab and programs to get students into the culture of getting out of the library and their books and doing awesome things that they know and they learn about,” Bahmane said.

The maker’s space is still undergoing changes. According to Ma, some of these changes will include decorating the rooms, making the room more colorful, and adding to the currently plain walls. Crossan also said that the windows will have covers that are whiteboards.

“A lot of our efforts right now are focused on designing the space,” Ma said. “A lot of our goals are internal.”

Another goal that Ma emphasized was increased awareness and usage of the space, especially for students.

“We want more people to come in general. I stress this idea to just come and study… just experience the space,” she said.

However, the Social Innovation Lab is not just for individual students. University innovation fellow Natasha Markov-Riss ’20 said the maker’s space is open to any Swarthmore student.

“Individual students and various clubs also frequently inhabit the space — it is open to all. Even if you aren’t currently working on a project, the SIL provides a fantastic study environment,” she wrote.

Crossan said that Swarthmore faculty, staff, and the greater Swarthmore community are also free to use this space, and some groups from Chester are looking to collaborate with the Social Innovation Lab. SwatTank competitors are also encouraged to use the space.

Ma feels that the maker’s space can help faculty members innovate their lesson plans to make them more engaging for students and more applicable to what they care about. She stressed that the fellows at the Social Innovation Lab are eager for people on campus to use the new space that has been created and the supplies that they provide.

“We can’t work towards any necessary goal without people behind it,” she said.

The strategic plan for the first year of function outlines the goals of the Social Innovation Lab as education, experience, execution, and evaluation.

Crossan said that she wants to further educate students about the concepts of  social innovation and entrepreneurship, and creative ways to apply them. One way that the Social Innovation Lab educates is Design Thinking Training, which are courses that teach potential innovators how to apply these abstract concepts. According to Markov-Riss, in the coming weeks, the Social Innovation Lab is running a Design Thinking session for the student group Kinetics.

“We tend to use Design Thinking as an underpinning methodology for students to really deeply understand what … community needs we have,” said Crossan.

Ma said that the Social Innovation Lab wants to help students understand concepts that may be difficult to define or apply to real life.

“We hear a lot about innovation, social change, and entrepreneurship and engaged scholarship but a lot of these terms are abstract. And the SIL wants to be a space where people can put their ideas to action,” Ma said.

According to Crossan, experience is built from engaged scholarship, which is the primary reason that she introduced this space in the Lang Center.

“The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility’s mission is to facilitate engaged scholarship on campus. That means engaging the community, the curriculum, and the campus, collectively,” she said.

This includes collaboration with other separate spaces on campus such as the new Swarthmore MakerSpace overseen by ITS in Beardsley Hall and the college’s libraries. Crossan said that the goal is to create a network of similar spaces throughout campus.

According to Crossan, the execution component of the Social Innovation Lab’s goals is that the maker’s space can be a place to incubate projects.

“One of the goals of the Social Innovation Lab is to create a space where Swarthmore Social Innovators (students, faculty, staff and community) can bring their projects to ‘live’ — that is, find a home, from a few weeks to months, where they can incubate their idea, share experiences with like-minded individuals, and receive dedicated support,” Crossan said.

The goal of evaluation is for students to reflect on their work.

“One of the big intentions for me is how do we take all that we’ve learned from what we do and turn it back into our knowledge,” said Crossan.

The goals of the Social Innovation Lab are part of its goal to help students turn their specialties, regardless of what they are, into social projects. Ma said that as a computer science major, she is developing the Social Innovation Lab’s website. According to Brahmane, her friend is trying to start a business that combines her love of baking and interest in biochemistry.

“With every area of study, there’s some application of your field that you find meaningful … We want to invite more people from all diverse backgrounds of life, whether it be a diverse identity or diverse major,” said Ma.

Despite the fact that the Social Innovation Lab is new, the University Innovation Fellows are positive about its future in cultivating a space for people to participate in engaged scholarship and social entrepreneurship.

“In the coming years, the SIL will become a well-used resource for students — I hope that the SIL is able to connect all of the innovators at Swat and support them as they build projects that reach beyond our campus,” Markov-Riss wrote.

“I see it as the birthplace of the next big entrepreneurs, innovators of the world,” said Brahame. “It would be a great starting spot for brilliance and sustainable big ideas.”


War on Humanity: Healthcare under Attack in the Syrian Conflict

The Arabic Section of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, the Islamic Studies Program, the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, and the the Health & Societies Program at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility are pleased to present:

A lecture by Dr. Hani Mowafi, Yale University
War on Humanity: Healthcare under Attack in the Syrian Conflict

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Scheuer Room at 7:00 p.m.

Alaa Al-Faqir_A damaged hospital in the town of Tel al-Shehab in Deraa, Syria July 23, 2015The Syrian war, now in its 7th year, has been one of the most brutal modern conflicts in the world. With estimates of over half a million deaths since the war’s inception and roughly 13 million displaced the conflict’s effects for Syria and the world will be long lasting. Combatants on all sides but primarily those allied with the Syrian government have used indiscriminate military force against civilian populations. In addition, the deliberate targeting of medical facilities and personnel, in flagrant violation of international law and global norms, has created a new dimension of brutality – one that is being emulated in other conflicts around the world. These violations in the way war is waged have occurred largely with impunity and have grave consequences for the future impact of armed conflict on civilian populations. Dr. Mowafi will discuss some of the unique elements of the Syrian conflict and its impact on civilian populations as well as highlight efforts to combat these developments on both the international and individual level.

Dr_Hani_Mowafi_medDr. Mowafi is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Chief of the Section of Global Health and International Emergency Medicine at Yale University. His interests are in developing the science and practice of emergency care with emphasis on low- and middle-income countries where the burden of emergency conditions is greatest and is combined with an unmet need for emergency services.  Dr. Mowafi’s current research includes evaluation of health data from a network of hospitals operating inside war-affected Syria and modeling household income effects of road traffic injury in rural Uganda.  He has 15 years of experience in consulting and research in emergency medicine and global public health.

For further information about this event, please contact Khaled Al-Masri: kalmasr1 *at*

Philadelphia Nonprofit and Public Service Career Fair

From our friends in Career Services:

Philadelphia Nonprofit and Public Service Career Fair

Date: Friday, March 2, 2018; 1-4pm
Location: Schwartz Fitness and Athletic Center, Bryn Mawr College

The annual Philadelphia Nonprofit and Public Service Career Fair provides a forum for students to learn about a variety of organizations in the nonprofit and public service sectors. Connect with hiring representatives to learn about careers, internships, fellowships, and full-time opportunities.

Swarthmore students are encouraged to attend the workshop on Wed. 2/28 @12:30 in Parrish 159 to help prepare for and make the most of the fair.

This fair is open to all TriCo students. View the list of attending employers in Handshake.

A Swarthmore student who attended recently remarked, “The Non Profit Career Fair jumpstarted my career and showed me a sample of what opportunities are out there in my field. The fair…connected me to multiple organizations looking for…employees. I walked out one step closer to the internship I wound up working for that summer as well as with even more ideas for the future.”

Climate Justice and Civil Rights

Please mark your calendar for an exciting event serving as the capstone for Black History Month and the opening for Women’s History Month:

March 2, 2018

Public Lecture
“Climate Justice and Civil Rights”
1:30-2:30pm: Swarthmore Meeting House

Reception and Gathering
3:30-5:00pm: Black Cultural Center

You are invited to a public lecture and conversation with Jacqueline Patterson, the Director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program.

Jacqueline Patterson NAACP poster




A national leader who bridges civil rights and environmental justice, Patterson heads the NAACP’s initiatives to advance an inclusive, “just transition” to a renewable, green economy. At the heart of this initiative is Patterson’s commitment to ensuring that communities of color and those who are the most impacted by the harmful effects of climate change are at the center of the movement to create an equitable and sustainable future. Patterson’s long history of leadership has led her to serve as coordinator and co-founder of Women of Color United, and to advocate for the intersection of issues relating to women‘s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice.

This event is co-sponsored by: Environmental Studies, Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, Black Studies, Black Cultural Center, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Diversity, Inclusion & Community Development, Religious Studies, Peace & Conflict Studies, Political Science, Philosophy, Sociology & Anthropology, Office of the President, Health & Societies Initiative, and the Sustainability Office.

Quakers, African Americans and the Myth of Racial Justice

Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship: Quakers, African Americans and the Myth of Racial Justice

Please join us for a lecture by Vanessa Julye
Monday, February 26th at 4:15 pm
Black Cultural Center

Fit for Freedom

Ms. Julye is a member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting and she is Friends General Conference’s Coordinator for the Committee for Nurturing Ministries focusing on  Racism and Youth Ministries.

Sponsored by the Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Department of Religion, Program in Black Studies, Program in Peace and Conflict Studies, Program in Islamic Studies and the Black Cultural Center

Prof. Krista Thomason: Faculty Lecture Tomorrow

Krista Thomason, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Member, Peace and Conflict Studies Faculty Committee

Tuesday, Feb. 13th, 4:15PM
McCabe Library Atrium
Child Soldiers and Moral Responsibility
“It is common to think that child soldiers cannot be morally responsible for the violence they commit: not only are they underage, they typically are forced to join paramilitary units, they suffer psychological and physical abuse, and they participate in combat only under threat of harm or death. Yet when we examine the first-person accounts of former child soldiers, we find that they see themselves as responsible for their actions. It is tempting to think that their feelings are simply misguided or a result of their trauma. I argue instead that child soldiers, like adult ex-combat soldiers, suffer moral injury and their feelings of responsibility are part of the process of redrawing the boundaries of their moral selves.”

Krista Thomason