Tag Archives: conflict

UPCOMING WORKSHOP — Weaving the Threads: Intersectionality, Sustainability & Environmental Justice

How do we identify and address intersectional concerns (e.g. from racism, to poverty, to militarism, to homelessness, and more) in our sustainability work and activism? How do we connect our various initiatives within a framework of environmental justice? How do we communicate these visions with others?
On Monday, November 20, join Peace and Conflict Studies and Environmental Studies for a workshop with Prof. Randall Amster, former Executive Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Association.Workshop Flyer

Weaving the Threads: Intersectionality, Sustainability & Environmental Justice

The confluence of contemporary crises represents a direct threat to human existence, yet also a remarkable opportunity to implement alternatives and cultivate visions for a more just and sustainable world. The framework of “climate justice” increasingly subsumes many of these issues and possibilities, providing a basis for transforming our thinking and acting in relation to essential resources including food, water, and energy production. Likewise, critical issues of equity, access, and distribution are brought to the fore, with the nexus of environmental justice and peacebuilding offering potential avenues for change. What theories and actions are informing current movements and responses? How can policymaking and the lived experiences of people and communities equally inform the discourse? How can we promote an ethos of responsibility in both senses of the word, as a form of accountability and a locus of empowerment? Drawing upon examples from local to global scales, this session will seek to spark a collaborative dialogue for cultivating resilient responses to today’s most pressing challenges.

Randall Amster

Randall Amster, J.D., Ph.D., is Director and Teaching Professor in the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University. He serves as Editor-in- Chief of the Contemporary Justice Review. He teaches and publishes widely on subjects including peace and nonviolence, social and environmental justice, political theory and movements, and the impacts of emerging technologies. His recent books include Peace Ecology (Routledge, 2015), Anarchism Today (Praeger, 2012), Lost in Space: The Criminalization, Globalization, and Urban Ecology of Homelessness (LFB, 2008); and the co-edited volume Exploring the Power of Nonviolence: Peace, Politics, and Practice (Syracuse University Press, 2013). His current research interests include environmental peacebuilding, climate justice, intersectionality and ecology, community and sustainability, and the justice implications of contemporary technology.

 

Peace Ecology Book Cover

The workshop begins at 4:15 pm and will take place in Kohlberg Hall, Room 116.

This event is sponsored by Peace and Conflict Studies, Environmental Studies, the Provost’s Office, the President’s Office, and the Office of Sustainability.

Three “Reflections From the Field” events

We are thrilled to announce three upcoming events in “Reflections From The Field”, a new speaker series at Swarthmore College, which brings people working on the front lines of conflict and social change to campus to reflect upon *what* they do, *why* they do it and how *they* came to do it.


 

1. “These Birds Walk”, a film screening and conversation with director and cinematographer Omar Mullick.

Monday, March 13th @ 7:30PM
Science Center 101

In Karachi, Pakistan, a runaway boy’s life hangs on one critical question: where is home? The streets, an orphanage, or with the family he fled in the first place? Simultaneously heart- wrenching and life-affirming, THESE BIRDS WALK documents the struggles of these wayward street children and the humanitarians looking out for them in an ethereal and inspirational story of resilience. Listed by The New Yorker as one of the best foreign films of the 21st century, this is a must see!

Omar Mullick is a film director and cinematographer known for his work on the 2013 feature film THESE BIRDS WALK. A 2016 Sundance Institute fellow, his most recent work can be seen on VICE’s HBO series, Black Markets, and the Gloria Steinem hosted show Woman on VICELAND. Current clients as a director and cinematographer include CNN, PBS, HBO, VICE, Discovery and The Gates Foundation. Trained as a photographer, his work has been published in The New York Times, Foreign Policy Magazine, National Geographic and TIME. He has received awards from the Doris Duke Foundation, the Western Knight Center for Journalism, Annenberg and Kodak.


 

2. “Closing the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want”, a virtual conversation with Ricken Patel, Founding President and Executive Director of Avaaz.org, the world’s largest online activist community.

Monday, March 27th @ 4:30 PM
Science Center 199

Ricken is the founding President and Executive Director of Avaaz, the world’s largest online activist community with 44 million subscribers in every country of the world.

Ricken Patel

Ricken has been voted the “ultimate game changer in politics” (Huffington Post), listed in the world’s top 100 thinkers (Foreign Policy magazine) and described as “the global leader of online protest” with a “vaunting sense of optimism” (The Guardian). Prior to starting Avaaz.org, Ricken was the founding Executive Director of ResPublica, a global public entrepreneurship group that worked to end genocide in Darfur and build progressive globalism in US politics, among other projects. Ricken has also lived and worked in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan and Afghanistan, consulting for organizations including the International Crisis Group, the United Nations, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Gates Foundation, Harvard University, CARE International and the International Center for Transitional Justice. Born in Canada, Ricken has a B.A. from Oxford University and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard.


3. “From the streets of Kabul to the streets of New York: Reflections on covering war and crime”, a  conversation with New York Times reporter,
Joseph Goldstein.

Friday, April 7th @ 4:30 PM
Science Center 105

Joseph Goldstein’s first newspaper job was at the 6,000-circulation Daily Citizen in Searcy, Ark, where he wrote, among other things, a feature story about how meth-fueled treasure hunters in rural Arkansas were creating an underground economy for  arrowheads and other Native American artifacts.

Joseph Goldstein

He soon moved to New York City, where he worked at The New York Sun, until its demise, and later at The New York Post. He joined The New York Times in 2011 and writes mainly about the criminal justice system in New York. He has reported on the N.Y.P.D.’s over-reliance on stop-and-frisk tactics and about a secretive police unit that combs the city’s jails for Muslim prisoners in the hopes of pressuring them into becoming informants. He has covered Ferguson, the emergence of the alt-right, and Afghanistan, where he was based for a year.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science, Global Affairs Program at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, Media Studies, Career Services, and Peace and Conflict Studies.

Fall 2015 Line-up of Peace & Conflict Studies Courses

In addition to all of the excellent courses offered across campus that may be counted toward a minor in Peace and Conflicts Studies, our own program curriculum is expanding next year!

PEAC 015. Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies

In Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies, we learn that peace and conflict are not mutually exclusive. To paraphrase Conrad Brunk, the goal of peace and conflict studies is to better understand conflict in order to find nonviolent ways of turning unjust relationships into more just ones. We examine both the prevalence of coercive and non-peaceful means of conducting conflict as well as the development of nonviolent alternatives, locally and globally, through institutions and at the grassroots. The latter include nonviolent collective action, mediation, peacekeeping, and conflict transformation work. Several theoretical and philosophical lenses will be used to explore cultural and psychological dispositions, conflict in human relations, and conceptualizations of peace. The course will take an interdisciplinary approach with significant contributions from the social sciences. U.S.-based social justice movements, such as the struggle for racial equality, and global movements, such as nonviolent activism in Israel/Palestine, and the struggle for climate justice around the world, will serve as case studies.

1 credit. Tues/Thurs. 1:15-2:30 pm

Instructor: Sa’ed Atshan

 PEAC 039. Social Entrepreneurship for Social Change (NEW COURSE!)

By integrating innovative approaches with revenue-generating practices, social entrepreneurs and their ventures open compelling and impactful avenues to social change. In this course, students will learn about the pioneering individuals and novel ways that social entrepreneurship responds to social needs that are not adequately served by the market or by the state through in-depth case analysis of social change work (locally, nationally, and globally).

1 credit. Mondays 1:15-4:00 pm

Instructor: Denise Crossan, Lang Professor for Social Change


 

 PEAC 053. Israeli-Palestinian Conflict  (NEW COURSE!)

This course will examine the historical underpinnings of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how they have shaped the contemporary context in Israel/Palestine. We will approach this from a demography and population-studies framework in order to understand the trajectories and heterogeneity of Israeli and Palestinian societies and politics. For instance, how has the relationship between race and period of migration to Israel impacted Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Israeli sub-populations differently? What explains divergent voting patterns between Palestinian Christians and Muslims over time? How can we measure inequality between Israeli settlers and Palestinian natives in the West Bank in the present? The course will also synthesize competing theoretical paradigms that account for the enduring nature of this conflict. This includes—but is not limited to—the scholarly contributions of realist political scientists, US foreign policy experts, social movements theorists, security sector reformers, human rights advocates, international law experts, and negotiations and conflict resolution practitioners.

Eligible POLS and ISLM credit.

1 credit. Tues./Thurs. 2:40-3:55 pm

Instructor: Sa’ed Atshan


PEAC 071B. Research Seminar: Strategy and Nonviolent Struggle

(Cross-listed as POLS 081 and SOCI 071B)

This research seminar involves working with The Global Nonviolent Action Database built at Swarthmore College. This website is accessed by activists and scholars worldwide. The database contains crucial information on campaigns for human rights, democracy, environmental sustainability, economic justice, national/ethnic identity, and peace. Students will investigate a series of research cases and write them up in two ways: within a template of fields (the database proper) and also as a narrative describing the unfolding struggle. Strategic implications will be drawn from theory and from what the group is learning from the documented cases of wins and losses experienced by people’s struggles.

1 credit.  Mondays 1:15-4:00 pm

Instructor: Lee Smithey

Theater of Witness covers new ranges of emotional spectrum

The following piece appeared in the most recent issue of The Phoenix.

Theater of Witness covers new ranges of emotional spectrum

Theater of Witness is a series of staged dramatic performances and cinema pieces through which subjects recount complex personal histories. It was brought to Swarthmore on Monday, February 10 by its founder and director Teya Sepinuck. Sepinuck served as adjunct faculty in member in the college’s dance department for almost 20 years before leaving to found the Philadelphia-based TOVA: Artistic Projects for Social Change in 1991. More recently, she has been in Northern Ireland expanding the Theater of Witness program.The program opened with Sepinuck reading a short passage from her book, describing an encounter with children who were unwitting victims of war. It seemed generic, too distant to be meaningful. Sepinuck then moved towards presenting the actual “theater” of witness.She started with some footage of a young boy narrating on and off camera, accompanied by footage of his Philadelphia neighborhood. It is part of a piece connecting mothers of young gang violence victims to the perpetrators of said violence. The relationship between victim and perpetrator is essential and unique to Sepinuck’s work.“It’s harder to identify with the perpetrator,” said Sepinuck. “But it’s important.”Teya SepinuckAfter a brief and interesting, if not completely comprehensive, introduction to the methods of the program, Sepinuck showed a few particularly powerful Theater of Witness performances.The first video featured a man named Hakim Ali telling his story. Ali had committed acts of gang violence, and had not spoken about it or outwardly reflected on it before participating in Sepinuck’s program.

“It’s very healing,” said Sepinuck.

On stage he is full of emotion, the kind of regret and loss that is easy to feel and almost impossible to communicate. Sepinuck shared a story about how the mothers of victims and convicted perpetrators alike were in tears, moved to unabridged expression by the stories of their sons. But none of them were shown on screen, and the distance remained.

Next was the story of a couple from Sepinuck’s film “Raising Our Voice.” The work was inspired by a man who called Sepinuck, requesting to participate after having seen one of her programs. He confessed to committing domestic abuse and told Sepinuck that he kept hearing her name when he was praying. The film opens with a monologue from the man’s wife, who decided to participate in the program after watching him. She fights tears on screen as she outlines a history of helplessness and running away, ending on a note of strength and confidence. The scene then cuts to the man’s own story as the film follows him through a saga of masculine pressure that poisoned his protective instincts of love. The two end up on stage together, dancing closely. The “healing” capability that Sepinuck had referred to earlier was more than just cathartic introspection. It unifies parties that have damaged each other. As the couple dances on screen, there is not exactly forgiveness, but there is still love.

Sepinuck then presented her more recent work on the lives of those who had lost loved ones due to separatist and military violence in northern Ireland. She showed individually narrated short films: one of a young woman named Victoria, whose father was killed in an IRA related bomb attack and one of a young man named Fionbarr, whose father died at the hands of suspicious British police. Sepinuck then showed a Theater of Witness project featuring a young woman who had given herself to the IRA years ago as she tells the story of her impassioned extremism and its abrupt end due to a brain hemorrhage. She is then shown on stage together with the wives of men killed by IRA activity, in an example of the show’s careful exploration of the relativism of innocence and the universality of pain.

To conclude, Sepinuck showed material from her film “Living with Life”, a Theater of Witness project done at the State Correctional Institute in nearby Chester. A group of men sentenced to life in prison are interviewed about their free lives and current emotions at an unexpected, almost inconceivable depth. This is followed by their performance of an original composition by the prisoners, about how they must hold on to some fragments of sanity while confined. It is a perspective on life that, as consumers of a media saturated with grotesquely fantasized prison environments, is almost never seen.

Update: Feminist Perspectives on Resistance and Solidarity in Palestine and Israel

The event originally announced for March 2 featuring Dr. Simona Sharoni is being updated to include Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi

Feminist Perspectives on Resistance and Solidarity in Palestine and Israel

Dr. Simona Sharoni and Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi

Monday, March 2, 2015
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Bond Memorial Hall
Swarthmore College (directions)

Dr.  Rabab Abdulhadi and Dr. Simona Sharoni met over twenty five years ago and have collaborated over the years on multiple scholarly and activist projects. Aside from sharing a life commitment to the struggle of peace with justice in Palestine and Israel, these two prominent feminist scholars have made contributions to other struggles for social, gender and sexual justice in the academy as well as at other international and North American sites.

Abdulhadi and Sharoni will offer such analyses including:

  • The distorted dominant media coverage of the assault, which ignored the power disparities between Palestinians and Israel
  • The racist and gendered images and statements deployed by Israeli officials and citizens to legitimize the violence.
  • The impact of the violence on, and the responses of Palestinian and Israeli women
  • The response of the international community with particular attention to the growing visibility and impact of the global movement of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), on one hand, and efforts to hold Israeli officials accountable and investigate possible violations of human rights and international conventions.
  • Prospects for a just and lasting peace in the region in the aftermath of the Israeli war on Gaza and the earlier repressive campaign in the West Bank.

Simona Sharoni and Rabab Abdulhadi

Dr. Simona Sharoni is a feminist scholar, researcher, and activist. She is a professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at State University of New York in Plattsburgh, and her research includes a comparative analysis of gender dynamics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in the North of Ireland as well as a critical explanation of militarization and masculinities and especially the interplay between political violence and gander-based violence.

She is the author of Gender and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Politics of Women’s Resistance and was the founding Executive Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Association and a founding member of the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section at the International Studies Association. For more information about Dr. Sharoni: http://www.plattsburgh.edu/academics/gws/faculty/sharoni.php.

Gender Conflict Book

Rabab Abdulhadi is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies/Race and Resistance Studies and the Senior Scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative, at the College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University. Before joining SFSU, she served as the first director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. She received her BA (Summa Cum Laude) in Special Honors Curriculum, Sociology and Women’s Studies from Hunter College in New York and her MA, MPhil and PhD from Yale University.

A co-founder and Editorial Board member of the Islamophobia Studies Journal, she co-authored Mobilizing Democracy: Changing US Policy in the Middle East, and co-editor  Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence and Belonging, winner of the 2012 Evelyn Shakir National Arab American non-fiction Book Award, and a special issue of MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies special issue on gender, nation and belonging (2005).Her work has appeared in Al-Shabaka; Gender and Society; Radical History Review; Peace Review; Journal of Women’s History; Taiba: Women and Cultural Discourses; Cuadernos Metodologicos: Estudio de Casos; This Bridge We Call Home; New World Coming: The 1960s and the Shaping of Global Consciousness; Local Actions: Cultural Activism, Power and Public Life in America; The Guardian, Al-Fajr; Womanews; Palestine Focus; Voice of Palestinian Women; and several Arabic language publications, such as Falasteen Al-Thahwra; Al-Hadaf; and Al-Hurriyah.

Abdulhadi taught at eight transnational sites of higher education including the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and Birzeit University in Palestine. The recipient of several honors and awards (including the New Century Scholarship, Sterling Fellowship, Phi Beta Kappa, and teaching excellence awards from Yale University and AUC), she serves on the Board of Policy Advisors of the Palestinian Think Tank, Al-Shabaka and the International Advisory Board of the World Congress of Middle East Studies (WOCMES). As a scholar/activist committed to justice-centered scholarship and pedagogy, she co-founded the Union of Palestinian Women’s Associations in North America (UPWA), the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC), California Scholars for Academic Freedom and the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). She co-organized and led several delegations to Palestine made up of Indigenous scholars and scholars of color and has participated in academic, intellectual and public sites in the Global South and North, including World Social Forum in India, Brazil, Kenya, Senegal, and Tunisia.

The event is sponsored by War News Radio, J Street, SPJP, and the Peace and Conflict Studies Department.

For more information on the event, please contact Sabrina Merold (smerold1@swarthmore).

Interreligious Dialogue in Israel and the Middle East

“The Other Peace Process: The Role of Interreligious Dialogue in Israel and the Middle East”

Sunday, October 26
4:00 pm
Kohlberg 116, Swarthmore College
Featuring Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish

Rabbi KronishFounder and Director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) since 1992, Ron Kronish is also a noted rabbi, educator, author, lecturer and speaker. He has lived in Jerusalem for the past 35 years, serving as Director of the Israel Office of the American Jewish Committee, Director of Staff Development and later Co-Director for the Melitz Centers for Jewish Zionist Education, and lecturer in education at Tel Aviv University and at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Dr. Kronish lectures to a wide variety of groups in Israel, including synagogue groups, Jewish community missions and Jewish, Christian and interreligious groups. In addition, he has been a scholar-in-residence in universities, synagogues and communities across the United States, Canada and Europe and in the Far East.

Educated at Brandeis University (BA), Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York (MHL, rabbinic ordination) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education (doctorate in philosophy and history of education), Dr. Kronish has published articles and essays on Jewish politics, faith communities and the peace process, as well as education, culture and contemporary issues in America and Israel. He has represented ICCI at the Vatican and at many international conferences, and is frequently consulted by media representatives for background information and briefings. In addition, he blogs regularly for the Times of Israel and the Huffington Post.

Dr. Kronish is the editor of a new book,: Coexistence and Reconciliation in Israel: Voices for Interreligious Dialogue (2015). In addition, he has edited: Towards the Twenty-first Century: Judaism and the Jewish People in Israel and America, an anthology in memory of his beloved father, Rabbi Leon Kronish, Toward the Third Millennium and Pilgrimage in a New Millennium. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife Amy and is the proud father of 3 wonderful daughters (and 3 wonderful sons-in-law) and the even prouder grandfather of 4 fabulous grandchildren.

Please join us for a lecture followed by refreshments and a question-and-answer session.

Hosted by J Street U and the Israeli Cultural Society. Funded by the Forum for Free Speech and Peace and Conflict Studies.

Why is the Conflict So Intractable?: 20 Years of Crisis in the DR Congo

Why is the Conflict So Intractable?: 20 Years of Crisis in the DR Congo

A lecture by Prof. Laura Seay, Colby College

Wednesday, April 9th

4:30 PM

Science Center Room 199

Swarthmore College

Laura_Seay_ColbySTAND (formerly known as “Students Taking Action Now: Darfur,”) is bringing Laura Seay to discuss the conflict in the DR Congo. She will explain the dynamics of the conflict, which is the deadliest war since World War II, and propose possible advocacy options. Laura Seay is a professor of Political Science at Colby College and is one of the top American experts on Central Africa. She has written for the New York Times, Foreign Policy, the Atlantic, and other prominent publications. Laura Seay has worked with the World Bank and is currently finishing a book called Substituting for the State.

Sponsored by the Political Science Department, the History Department, and Forum for Free Speech.

Press Release for Tombs lecture on the Cross and Sexualized Violence

The Scandal of the Cross: Sexualised Violence, Silence and Crucifixion

SWARTHMORE – 20 November, 2013 How contemporary reports of torture and sexualised violence can offer new understanding of the crucifixion will be explored at a public talk at Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, November 20th, 2013  at 4:15 p.m. in the Scheuer Room of Kohlberg Hall.

Prof. David Tombs
Prof. David Tombs

In a lecture entitled The Scandal of the Cross: Sexualised Violence, Silence and Crucifixion, Dr David Tombs, Assistant Professor in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at Trinity’s cross-border campus in Northern Ireland, will use both ancient and modern sources to examine crucifixion as a form of state terror torture and sexualised violence.

Speaking in advance of the lecture, Dr Tombs commented: “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 a scandal, and why is it relevant to a Christian response to sexualised violence in conflicts today?”

“In this lecture I will present 15 years of research on why the cross was so scandalous in the ancient world. I will look at why the most critical element in the scandal has been unspeakable for two millennia, and why this has profound relevance to a church concerned about sexualised violence in conflicts around the world today.

Crucifix“My research suggests that ‘the scandal of the cross’ is a scandal of sexualised violence, and it is also scandalous for theologians and churches to have been silent on this for so long. In in response to reports of widespread conflict-related sexualised violence (including Central America in the 1980s, Bosnia and Rwanda in the 1990s, and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the last decade) the central symbol of Christianity needs to be seen in a new way. The cross challenges theologians to break the silence and taboo of sexualised violence, and yet do so in a way that affirms the dignity of victims past and present. The lecture points to how this might be done in three areas of theological thought: the humanity of Christ; the unspoken memories of Eucharist; and the good news of resurrection.”

Co-sponsored by Peace & Conflict Studies, Department of Religion, Provost’s Office, Off-campus Study, The Northern Ireland Semester, Gender and Sexuality Studies

 

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

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”

atshan_saed_06Wednesday, October 30, 4:30 p.m.

Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall

Swarthmore College

Directions to campus

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