Tag Archives: Peace and Conflict Studies

Dr. Juan Masullo Lecture On “Refusing To Cooperate With Armed Groups” – December 1

We are excited to be a co-sponsor of this event featuring Dr. Juan Masullo, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. Read more about the event below, and we hope to see you there.

REFUSING TO COOPERATE WITH ARMED GROUPS:
Civilian Agency and Nonviolent Resistance in the Colombian Civil War
Thursday, 1 December 2022
4.15-5.30 pm, Science Center 199

Swarthmore College (directions)

How do communities living amidst violence activate their agency and organize nonviolent resistance to protect themselves from armed groups’ violence and rule? In this talk, Dr. Masullo will explore the conditions that led ordinary and unarmed civilians in Colombia to collectively refuse to cooperate with heavily armed groups. 

Juan Masullo is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. He is also a co-editor of Qualitative & Multi-Method Research, the biannual publication of APSA’s Qualitative and Multi-Method Research Section, and associate editor of the International Studies Review. 

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science, Latin American and Latino Studies, and the Peace and Conflict Studies Department.

Prof. Amy Kapit Wins Research Grant To Study Student Activism

Let’s celebrate with Professor Amy Kapit, Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace & Conflict Studies! She has won the support of the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund for her research into the suppression of university student activism and the development of a Student Rights Watch Report. This is important work that resonates strongly (especially with a long history of student activism at Swarthmore. Professor Lakey recently reminded us of his first arrest, with Swarthmore students, in the 1960s during civil rights actions in Chester.) If you see Prof. Kapit, offer her a high-five or elbow-bump! Congratulations!

Professor Amy Kapit; Visiting Assistant Professor Peace & Conflict Studies

The goal of this project is to help the granting organization, the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH), to develop a methodology for tracking and analyzing the suppression of university student activism, including through acts that violate student activists’ rights. The project will support SAIH’s advocacy and campaigning to raise awareness of the role that students play as defenders of human rights and to increase protections for them. Kapit will work with student research assistants to carry out data collection to develop an initial methodology, code book, and preliminary set of indicators that SAIH can use to produce an annual Student Rights Watch Report.

“This is a really important and really neglected area of work,” says Kapit. “Many people who become human rights defenders become involved in activism as students. If student activists aren’t protected and the space for student activism isn’t allowed to flourish, that’s likely to also suppress future activism. What I’ve found so far through the research is that there’s a big gap in attention to student activists. Groups that support protections for human rights defenders don’t specifically focus on students. And groups that focus on issues like academic freedom tend to be more focused on the work of academics, rather than on students. I’m also really excited to be working with students here at Swarthmore on this project. This project is about students, and I feel strongly that it needs to be shaped by student perspectives.”

Peace and Conflict Studies Student Paris Shan ’23 Shares Internship Experience With Advocates For Human Rights

Paris Shan ’23 is a Peace and Conflict Studies minor student at Swarthmore College. This summer, she was actively engaged with the Advocates for Human Rights in an internship. She describes her internship experience with ties to interviews, research, data analysis, and importantly the education she received at Swarthmore and in Peace & Conflict Studies.

Paris Shan ’23 Peace & Conflict Studies Minor

“This summer, I was able to engage in meaningful work as an International Justice and Women’s Human Rights intern with the Advocates for Human Rights. Through my role, I worked with prosecutors to collect evidence of gender-based war crimes in Ukraine to submit to the International Criminal Court. This work is extremely important as it can be used to hold perpetrators of violence accountable and allows victims to share their stories. The most impactful moment of this internship for me was an interview with a Ukrainian father who had never had the opportunity to share his pain and struggle with anyone before. He spoke about the burden he felt to protect his family, the fear of the unknown, and his gratitude for the work of the legal professionals at the Advocates for Human Rights. His interview brought him to tears as he came to confront his experience and emotions for the first time. It is easy to feel like your work as a human rights defender is so small, but experiences like this remind me that change-making can exist at various levels.”

“With the Advocates, I also worked with a team of students to research international human rights instruments and country laws on violence against women. The work I did helped bring attention to gender-based violence around the world and aid prosecutors representing victims of violence in court. I was able to build and update the www.stopvaw.org database for other organizations and victims to use as a resource. On the website, I included research and writing reports on sex trafficking and domestic violence, weekly updates on women’s rights around the world, a data tracker on the far-right movement, and updated information on gender-based violence and resources for victims. My research showed me the importance of documentation in the foundation of legal work. As a pre-law scholar, these skills are extremely valuable to my education and future goals.”

“My work this summer helped me further develop my data analysis, professional writing, and knowledge learned through my coursework as a political science and peace & conflict studies student at Swarthmore. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to apply many of the concepts that I have learned through my education at Swarthmore into real-world experiences and projects. I am grateful to the Lang Center for Social and Civic Responsibility for the Social Summer Impact Scholarship that allowed me to pursue this summer opportunity. My growth this summer is a huge step towards my goal of attending law school and becoming an international human rights lawyer.”

30th Anniversary Event: Preparing for Peace, Building Social Justice

Join us online on Tuesday February 22 at 4:15 pm EST to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Peace & Conflict Studies program at Swarthmore College! The virtual event will reflect on the past three decades of peace and conflict studies at Swarthmore and the ways that program alumni have integrated peace and conflict studies to their careers.

This virtual event is free and open to the public. Please register to attend at https://bit.ly/330ZWuw

Allison Oman Lawli, '91
Deputy Divisional for Nutritional Operations, Analysis, and Integration, World Food Programme

Maurice Weeks, '08
Co-Executive Director of the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) Coordinator

Jasmine Rashid, '18
Director of Impact at the Candide Group

Jerry Frost
Howard M. and Charles F. Jenkins Professor Emeritus of Quaker History and Research and Former Peace & Conflict Studies Program Coordinator

Lee Smithey
Professor of Peace & Conflict Studies and Sociology and Peace & Conflict Studies Program Coordinator

We’re hiring! visiting assistant professor position

The Peace and Conflict Studies Program of Swarthmore College, home of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, invites applications for a full-time three-year Visiting Assistant Professor position, beginning Fall 2022.

Please share widely. Thank you.


Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies
Swarthmore College: Peace & Conflict Studies Program

Location
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Description
The Peace and Conflict Studies Program of Swarthmore College invites applications for a full-time three-year Visiting Assistant Professor position, beginning Fall 2022. Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

Qualifications
Candidates should demonstrate expertise in peace and conflict studies. Applications from candidates in the humanities are encouraged. We welcome regional expertise in areas besides Europe. The successful candidate for the position will be expected to teach four courses per year in our interdisciplinary undergraduate program, which may include the introductory course and the senior capstone course for majors. We seek a candidate with a compelling classroom presence, strong teaching and research skills, and a knowledge and passion for peace studies that will support student advising and contribute to the development of a dynamic program. The strongest candidates will demonstrate a commitment to creative inclusive teaching and a research program that speaks to and motivates undergraduates from diverse backgrounds. A Ph.D. in peace and conflict studies or in another discipline should be in hand by September 2022, accompanied by intellectual and professional engagement in the field of peace and conflict studies.

Application Instructions
Please apply at https://apply.interfolio.com/99927   Direct inquiries to the program coordinator, Lee Smithey, at lsmithe1 at swarthmore.edu

Full consideration will be given to all applications received by January 24, 2022. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Candidates should send:

  • a cover letter, including teaching philosophy, teaching experience, and research agenda
  • a curriculum vitae
  • a writing sample
  • three letters of recommendation.
PCS students peace sign

New Course: SPAN103 – Trauma, afecto y derechos humanos en la literatura centroamericana

We are excited to share a new course coming in Spring 2022! Professor Nanci Buiza’s will begin teaching honors seminar SPAN 103: Trauma, Afecto Y Derechos Huamnos en la Literatura Centroamericana. This course is an elaborated companion to her course PEAC 038: Civil Wars and Neoliberal Peace in Central America. We congratulate Professor Buiza on receiving a Mellon Course Development Grant to create this new course.

What’s the difference between PEAC 038 and SPAN 103?

Prof. Buiza writes, “The PEAC038 course focuses on the sociopolitical and historical causes and consequences of armed conflict in Central America (1960s-early 1990s), the transition to peace and democracy, and the implementation of neoliberal economic reforms that came with the arrival of peace in the mid 1990s. The course, however, really does not study the cultural production (literature, film, art, music) related to these decades of instability in the region. My honors seminar in Spanish will focus on the cultural production of the region and how it relates to and engages with the above mentioned sociopolitical and historical forces.

The focus will be on the Central American region, mostly the countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The seminar will incorporate theory to discuss issues of ethics, social justice, and human rights in a war-torn society. It will allow students to weave together critical and theoretical concepts of peace and conflict studies that they have learned in the program and apply them to our analysis and study of how cultural representations engage with sociopolitical turmoil; how performance artists engage with issues of social justice in nonviolent ways; and how cultural production as whole invites people to think about other possibilities to violence and state repression.”

Here is the course description. We highly recommend Peace program students consider registering for SPAN 103.

This honors seminar studies contemporary Central American literature and culture with a focus on theories of trauma to discuss cultural representations of human suffering, empathy, and pain. The seminar explores the social disintegration and legacy of violence left by decades of civil wars, genocide, and revolution in the region, as well as theories of trauma, memory, affect, aesthetics, philosophical cynicism, and human rights. These theoretical approaches will help us reflect on the relation between literature and human rights; the sociopolitical upheavals and their cultural representations; and how cultural production engages with issues of peace and conflict in the neoliberal era. We will pay special attention to representations of social disaffection, political disillusionment, and survival in a postwar context shaped by socio-economic precarity. In addition to reading literary works by some of the main authors in the region, we will analyze scholarly debates surrounding Central American literature, as well as watch films and performances that probe into the issues of ethics, historical truth, social justice, reconciliation, historical memory, and the human predicament in a postwar society.

Ramiro Hernandez ’23 Participates in Harvard Kennedy School Public Policy Leadership Conference

Ramiro Hernandez

Ramiro Hernandez ’23 started his fall break off with a bang, taking part in the Harvard Kennedy School’s 2021 Public Leadership Conference earlier this month.

One of just 68 undergraduates from across the U.S. chosen, Hernandez relished the chance to build community with his fellow attendees.

“Hearing all of the projects, initiatives, and change-making that other students are pursuing at campuses across the country was inspiring,” says the honors medical anthropology, peace & conflict studies, and educational studies special major from Hidalgo, Texas, “and I found comfort in sharing a virtual space in which everyone was vulnerable enough to discuss our fears and aspirations.”

The mission of the conference is to inspire student leaders — particularly those from historically underrepresented and underserved communities — to pursue careers in public service. Participants learn what it means to study public policy in a graduate school environment and have opportunities to connect with current Harvard Kennedy School students, faculty, and staff as well as their fellow attendees

“I also really enjoyed hearing from the representatives of various public policy programs, as I learned a lot about financial aid opportunities and fellowships that I was not aware of,” Hernandez says. “I finished the weekend with the confidence that pursuing a career within the field of public policy is the path I’m meant to take.”

After missing the cut for the conference two years ago, Hernandez was nervous about opening the notification email for this year’s event. But being selected at this time proved fortuitous.

“I’ve become much more grounded in my politics, my beliefs, and the multiple truths I hold dear,” he says, “and I feel much more confident in my change-making abilities.”

Among Hernandez’s activities at Swarthmore are serving as student body vice president, a programming intern with the Intercultural Center, campus treasurer of the Petey Greene Program, and co-chair of the League of United Latin American Citizens Federal Training Institute Partnership. Earlier this year, he was chosen as a reporting fellow for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

A first-generation college student, Hernandez has a broad interest in public service that is grounded in his experience as a second-generation immigrant growing up in a border community in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. He is intent on using every opportunity he receives to move resources where they are most needed, ensuring that future generations have everything they need to live well in their communities.

Reflecting on the conference, Hernandez points to the excitement of “meeting 67 other folks who come from backgrounds similar to mine and are just as passionate as I am about improving the conditions of various communities around the world.”

[This blog post was reposted from the Swarthmore News and Event page and was written by Ryan Dougherty.]

Swarthmore Community Comes Together for King Speech Reading in collaboration with Breaking the Silence

A number of major civil rights organizations, including The Fellowship of Reconciliation, the SNCC Legacy Project, and the Highlander Center, came together this month to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s April 4, 1967 speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” in which he for the first time publicly advocated for an end to the U.S. war in Vietnam. Dr. King was assassinated exactly one year later after delivering the speech. The nation-wide webinar, “Breaking the Silence: An Intergenerational Call for Unity” occurred on the anniversary of the speech and consisted of its public reading as well as a panelist discussion.

The event organizers also invited groups to host local readings of the King speech–a call readily taken up by the Swarthmore community. Professor Lee Smithey (Peace and Conflict Studies) in cooperation with Professor Edwin Mayorga (Educational Studies) coordinated Swarthmore College’s reading. The project included a full gamut of community voices, including students, faculty, administrators, alums, and more. The video recording of the college’s reading can be found below.

From https://kingandbreakingsilence.org/

Cosponsors at Swarthmore College include: Educational Studies Department; Peace and Conflict Studies Program; Black Studies Program; Intercultural Center; Women’s Resource Center; The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility; Department of Sociology and Anthropology; TriCo Asian American Studies; Department of Religion; History Department; Beit Midrash; The Interfaith Center; Student Government Organization; ENLACE; Intercultural Center Interns; QuestBridge; Swarthmore Queer Union; Petey Greene Program.

Two Swatties Earn National Award for Work in Peace & Conflict Studies

— by Ryan Dougherty via Swarthmore News and Events, January 8th 2021

Vanessa Meng ’20 (left) and Lucy Jones ’20 were honored at Peace and Justice Studies Association’s annual meeting, held remotely in November.

For the first time in its history, the Peace and Justice Studies Association’s (PJSA) award for best paper went to two students this year — and they’re both Swarthmoreans.

The selection committee honored both Lucy Jones ’20, who explored the experiences of Central American migrant women on the U.S.-Mexico border for her thesis, and Vanessa Meng ’20, who examined the debates surrounding colonialism in contemporary Chinese-African relations.

The students, who graduated in May with high honors, were honored at PJSA’s annual meeting, held virtually in November.

For Jones, it was an opportunity to properly celebrate her thesis, “Resistance, Resilience, and Survival: Central American Refugee Women Across the U.S.-Mexico Border,” which she completed while in quarantine during the pandemic.

“It was a huge honor, and very exciting to have my work recognized and to be able to talk about it with peace scholars from around the country,” says Jones, who majored in peace & conflict studies at Swarthmore and is now a legal assistant at an immigration law firm in Philadelphia.

For Meng, it was particularly rewarding to be recognized for her thesis, “The Middle Kingdom Dreams: Understanding and Reframing China-African Relations,” at what she considered a time of heightened hostility from the Western media toward her native China.

“I hoped to show that there is an opportunity for peace between the U.S. and China, because the values and ideas that I was taught at Swarthmore, specifically the American revolutionary dream from activists in the United States, are in fact aligned with the dream of the country I grew up in,” says Meng, who majored in peace & conflict studies and has been writing a children’s book on environmental science. 

Both students expressed gratitude for the faculty and students of the Peace & Conflict Studies Program, citing its depth of collaboration and support. They follow PJSA thesis award winners from Swarthmore in 2013 and 2014.

“Research and writing are important in our program, so we are understandably thrilled when colleagues in our field recognize that our students are doing important and often cutting-edge work,” says Lee Smithey, professor and program coordinator. “Lucy and Vanessa exemplify student scholarship in peace & conflict studies.”

Assistant Professor of Peace & Conflict Studies Sa’ed Atshan ’06 advised both students on their thesis projects, and offered comments on their behalf at the awards ceremony.

“Lucy arrived in my office in August 2016 from Birmingham, Ala., where she was born and raised,” Atshan recalls. “In our very first meeting, she expressed palpable enthusiasm for peace & conflict studies, reflecting on her Irish heritage, and proved to be a brilliant student.”

Atshan says Meng joined the College community “with a very clear consciousness regarding peace and environmental justice, speaking eloquently about climate challenges she witnessed in her hometown of Beijing.”

Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism?

A book talk with Naomi Moland, Professorial Lecturer at the School of International Services at American University.

Wednesday, December 4th
4:30p.m.-6:30p.m.
McCabe Library Atrium

big bird terrorism-2

For fifty years, Sesame Street has taught generations of Americans their letters and numbers, and also how to better understand and get along with people of different races, faiths, ethnicities, and temperaments. But the show has a global reach as well, with more than thirty co-productions of Sesame Street that are viewed in over 150 countries. In recent years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided funding to the New York-based Sesame Workshop to create international versions of Sesame Street.

At this talk, Dr. Naomi Moland will discuss her new book, Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism? which looks at the Nigerian version, Sesame Square, which began airing in 2011. The show  seeks to promote peaceful coexistence in Nigeria, where segregation, state fragility, and escalating conflict raise the stakes of peacebuilding efforts. This book offers rare insights into the complexities, challenges, and dilemmas inherent in soft power attempts to teach the ideals of diversity and tolerance in countries suffering from internal conflict

The Swarthmore Campus & Community Store will provide books for purchase and author signing.

Sponsored by Peace and Conflict Studies with co-sponsorship from Film and Media Studies and Education Studies