Tag Archives: religion

Sexualized Violence, Silence, and Crucifixion

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

CrucifixProf. David Tombs

Trinity College Dublin

4:15 p.m., Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall, Swarthmore College

Download a flyer

Directions to campus

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 so scandalous and shameful?  The lecture examines sexualized violence and tortures in contemporary conflicts and in the Roman world. It explains why the cross was so offensive in the first century, it suggests that the real shame of the cross has been unspeakable for two millennia, and it asks how this might be appropriately addressed in a theology which affirms human dignity.

You can read some of David Tombs’ work on the topic in an article, ‘Crucifixion, State Terror and Sexual Abuse’, that appeared in a 1999 issue of Union Seminary Quarterly Review.

Prof. David Tombs
Prof. David Tombs

David Tombs works in Belfast, Northern Ireland as Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation for the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin. His primary focus is public theology and the interface of religion, violence and conflict transformation.

When Swarthmore students study in Northern Ireland as part of the College’s Northern Ireland Semester program, they study with Dr. Tombs and his colleagues at the Irish School of Ecumenics. David Tombs has been a marvelous partner for the program and works closely with Swarthmore faculty, staff, and students. His visit will provide an excellent opportunity for students who might be interested in studying in Northern Ireland the opportunity to learn more about the Irish School of Ecumenics in Belfast.

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

Contact:  peacestudies@swarthmore.edu

 

Swarthmore Presbyterian Hosts Free Peacemaking Conference October 18 -20, 2013

The upcoming Peacemaking Conference at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church features several members of the Swarthmore College community, past and present! The conference is open to the public and within walking distance of our campus.

Swarthmore Presbyterian Hosts Free Peacemaking Conference October 18 -20, 2013

A three-day peacemaking conference, “Conflict, Faith, Peace,” October 18, 19, and 20, at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church (SPC) will be led by Dr. Patrick Henry, former member and elder of the church and professor of religion at Swarthmore College from 1967 to 1984.

Download a poster or conference schedule.

Dr. Henry will introduce the overall scope of the conference at 7:30 on Friday evening, October 18.  He says that “The conference will portray peacemaking and the life of faith in a way that neither masks the ambiguities nor despairs at the difficulties, so that people are inspired and energized for effective and sustained individual and collective effort.”

Saturday morning will feature brief presentations by Dorie Friend, president of Swarthmore College 1973-82; Doug Bedell, a journalist and former elder of the church; and Susan Landau, a psychotherapist and a member of Congregation Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia.

Saturday afternoon will begin with a production of a portion of the play Protest by Vaclav Havel, who in a short space of time moved from prison to the presidency of Czechoslovakia.  There will be brief presentations by Albert Manwaring, a lawyer and army veteran who served in Iraq, and Anne Yoder, Mennonite and archivist of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.  The afternoon will conclude with a video on peacemaking created by youth in the church.

Dr. Henry, who from 1984 through 2004 was executive director of the Collegeville [Minnesota] Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, will sum up the conference in SPC’s education hour at 9:30 Sunday morning and preach at the 10:30 service of worship.

All parts of the conference are free and open to the public, thanks to contributions to SPC’s peacemaking committee in memory of Barkley Fritz and Margaret Getaz, lifelong peacemakers and members of the church, which is located at 727 Harvard Avenue in Swarthmore.  Advance registration is requested. (Phone: 610.541.0113 or 610.544.7447 or email peacemaking@swarthmorepres.org)

On the Sunday preceding the conference (October 6), SPC will host Dr. Jennifer Karsten, executive director of Pendle Hill in Wallingford, who will speak at the education hour.  She will reflect on the peacemaking efforts of the Quaker education, retreat, and conference center since its founding in 1930.

On October 27, a week after the conference, Shervin Malekzadeh, a member of the political science faculty at Swarthmore College, will lead a discussion on the current situation in Syria and the Middle East at 9:30 a.m.  Guests are welcome at both sessions and for worship immediately following at 10:30.

 

 

 

Green Islam in Indonesia

Green Islam in Indonesia: Lecture by Anna M.Gade’89

Fri., Feb. 22, 4:30 – 6:00 pm, Science Center L26

greenislamMuslim Indonesia is becoming known globally as a leader in faith-based responses to environmental challenges. Based on fieldwork in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, Gade will explain recent trends in this area. She focuses on a new movement in traditional Islamic education, called “eco-pesantren,” that embraces revitalized approaches in teaching, learning, and practice of global Islamic ecology with respect to multiple issues of concern, including deforestation, water management and climate change.

Dr. Gade teaches in the Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia and the Religious Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is also a faculty member of the Center for Culture, History, and Environment. She is author of the books, “Perfection Makes Practice: Learning, Emotion and the Recited Qur’an in Indonesia” (University of Hawaii Press, 2004), “The Qur’an: An Introduction” (Oneworld Publications, 2010), and revising editor of “The Cham Rebellion: Survivors’ Stories from the Villages” by Ysa Osman (Phnom Penh: Documentation Center of Cambodia, 2006). Short videos on “Green Islam in Indonesia” are available on www.vimeo.com/hijau.

Gade received a B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1989 and a M.A., Ph.D., from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Sponsored  by   Islamic  Studies ,  Environmental  Studies,   Peace  &  Conflict  Studies,   and  the  Department  of  Religion

Michael Walzer on Politics, Justice, and Jewish Thought

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Q & A session at 4:15 pm, Kohlberg Scheuer Room

Lecture at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Science Center 101

Michael WalzerMichael Walzer, emeritus professor at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey is one of the most renowned living political philosophers.

Walzer’s pioneering work on justice, communitarianism, just war theory, and Jewish political thought has illuminated a variety of intellectual landscapes for decades. Walzer has also been a co-editor of the democratic socialist journal “Dissent” for nearly half a century.

He is the author of dozens of books including “Spheres of Justice,” “Just and Unjust Wars,” “Exodus and Revolution,” and most recently “In God’s Shadow: Politics in the Hebrew Bible.”

Michael Walzer will offer a Q & A session at 4:15 pm in Kohlberg Scheuer Room. The Q & A will center on questions offered by students who have been reading his work in their classes, but all interested members of the Swarthmore community are welcome to attend.

Sponsored by the Religion Department, Department of Political Science, Peace and Conflict Studies, Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.

Shane Claiborne on Seeking Justice and Living Peace

Seeking Justice and Living Peace: Shane Claiborne on Solidarity and the Spirit

February 4, 7-8:30 pm, Science Center 101

Shane ClaiborneShane Claiborne is a star in the world of Christian peace activism. He is the author of several books including The Irresistible Revolution, Jesus for President, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers and with Tony Campolo, Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Really Meant What He Said?

Shane helped found “The Simple Way”, an intentional community of Christians living with and working with the poor in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. http://www.thesimpleway.org

Sponsored by the Religion Department, Interfaith Center, Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, Peace and Conflict Studies, Swarthmore Progressive Christians.

Peace Collection and Prof. Ratzman featured on college website

What a great way to start the spring semester, with Peace and Conflict Studies folks featured on the front page of the college website.  The main banner photo shows Swarthmore College Peace Collection curator Dr. Wendy Chmielewski and Miriam Hauser ’13 displaying Jane Addams’ 1931 Nobel Peace Prize Medal. The full story is reproduced below.

You will also notice the distinguished visage of Prof. Elliot Ratzman over an announcement that he will be the keynote speaker at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day luncheon on Monday January 21, 2013 at 12:30-2:00 in Tarble-in-Clothier. He will speak on, “Mighty Streams: What King’s Intellectual and Political Influences Have to Teach us Today.” The full text of the event description is also reproduced below.

Swarthmore website screenshot

 


McCabe’s Lower Level Reveals a Renowned Resource

by Camila Ryder ’13

While McCabe Library may be most familiar to the students whose thesis carrels are found there, it also holds a world-renowned but less wellknown treasure – the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (SCPC). Housed within the lower level and basement of the library is an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, posters, audiovisual items, bumper stickers, buttons, flags and other ephemera that documents “non-governmental efforts for nonviolent social change, disarmament, and conflict resolution between peoples and nations,” according to their mission statement. Established over 80 years ago, the Peace Collection is one of the most extensive research libraries and archive collections in the country that focuses solely on movements for peace.

370x240

Wendy Chmielewski, the Collection’s George R. Cooley Curator, and Miriam Hauser ’13 look over materials in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

In 1930, Jane Addams, the prominent internationalist and founder of Hull House in Chicago, visited Swarthmore for the 300thanniversary of the founding of the state of Pennsylvania. During her visit, Addams met with Frank Aydelotte, the president of Swarthmore College from 1921 to 1940 who is famous for implementing the College’sHonors Program as well as helping to strengthen its liberal arts education and to elevate the intellectual and student life on campus.

“He was interested in developing a library on internationalism for the students and faculty,” says Wendy Chmielewski, the Collection’s George R. Cooley Curator. Thoroughly impressed with Aydelotte and the College, Addams bequeathed her extensive collection of personal books on issues of peace and internationalism as a contribution to the library.

The collection, though, had been unofficially developing over the years before Addams’ donation, as the College began accumulating records from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom(WILPF) – an organization of which Addams was the first international president. After Addams became the first U.S. woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, the collection began acquiring more and more documents from Addams, including personal letters and even her Nobel Prize medal. The WILPF continued housing all of their records, making it one of the largest collections in the library.

“Since that time, we’ve probably added three or four thousand more collections, and many thousands more books, photographs, posters, bumper stickers, stamps, political buttons, digital files, and every audio visual format,” Chmielewski says. “Every format you can name, we probably have.”

370x240

Jane Addams’ 1931 Nobel Peace Prize Medal, above, is part of the Peace Collection.

The millions of documents and items stored in the collection represent a wide array of peace-related topics, dating back to 1815. “We collect mainly on religious and secular pacifism, disarmament, [the] anti-nuclear movement, conscientious objection, nonviolence, [the] civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam war [movement] and the current anti-war movement,” Chmielewski says. Other main collections include issues of anti-militarism and even a collection of letters written by Mohandas Gandhi.

The collection originated with a strong emphasis on women’s rights and women’s involvement in the peace movements – an emphasis that is still strong today. “Fifty percent of what we have here is about women’s public role, not just in the peace movement, but in social movements in general, from the 19th century onwards,” Chmielewski says.

Chmielewski, who has been working at the Peace Collection for what she deems “many, many years,” knows the collections, their stories, and the thousands of items like the back of her hand. When she first joined the SCPC, the College had received a grant from the Ford Foundation to organize all the collections on women into a guide, which allowed her to familiarize herself with the many peace organizations founded and fostered by women. As one of the larger collections, the WILPF records include a bevy of documents, photographs, correspondences, publications, and audiovisual aspects that have been collected since 1915. Other women’s groups represented in the collection include Code PinkWomen Strike for Peace, theWoman’s Peace PartyAnother Mother for Peace (a group that opposed the Vietnam war), and the World War II-era Women’s Committee to Oppose Conscription.

The collection also highlights individual female peace activists who were involved not only in the woman’s suffrage movement, but also in anti-war and anti-nuclear efforts. One such collection is that of Mildred Lisette Norman, better known as Peace Pilgrim, who walked over 25,000 miles across the U.S. promoting global, national, and inner peace. Her papers consist of pamphlets, writings, and news clippings, as well as her tattered shoes, comb, and toothbrush – the few things that Peace Pilgrim carried on her travels.

370x240

Memorabilia from Code Pink, such as this cup with anti-war messaging, is also a part of the Collection.

As the only collection in the country that focuses solely on peace, the SCPC attracts scholars from all over the U.S. and the world, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, France, and Canada. Graduate students use the records for their theses or Ph.D. work, while another portion of the collection’s visitors are undergraduates and the general public. The SCPC also maintains a close connection with Swarthmore’s Peace and Conflict Studies program (Chmielewski is a member of the program’s oversight committee) and provides materials for databases such as the Global Nonviolent Action Database, spearheaded by visiting assistant professor George Lakey and his students.

Another recent use of the Peace Collection’s holdings can be found in the work of Duyen Nguyen ’13, a Wichita, Kan., native and political science major, and Alison Roseberry-Polier ’14, a gender and sexuality studies and history double major from New York City. They dedicated their time last summer to the expansion of an online database that identifies female candidates who ran for office before 1920 – and thus before the 19th Amendment which allowed them to vote was ratified. Called Her Hat Was in the Ring!, the database features biographies for several little-known women involved in the political process of the early 20th century. Their work was supported by Tri-Co Digital Humanities, an initiative committed to discovering and promoting digital literacy and innovating through humanities-based inquiry using new technology.

Though the Peace Collection is mainly utilized for research purposes, it also has its eclectic side, with unique items such as banners from women’s suffrage marches, photographs of the Vietnam War, anti-war bumper stickers, a piece of the Soviet missile destroyed in Saryozek in 1988, and even a small portion of the Berlin Wall. The online database, Triptych, provides digitized versions of over 1,700 buttons, pins, and ribbons from peace organizations over the last 130 years, as well as many other items.

The Peace Collection hosts a variety of lectures and exhibits with McCabe Library and the Friends Historical Library, such as last year’s exhibit on Bayard Rustin, a peace activist and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, and a recent lecture about Roy Kepler, founder of Kepler’s Books in California and a prominent member of the public radio station KPFA. Chmielewski also hopes to host an event commemorating the upcoming 100th anniversary of WWI.

With its historical treasures and materials, the Peace Collection offers up a distinctive slice of national and international history on peace and social justice.

 


Mighty Streams: What King’s Intellectual and Political Influences Have to Teach us Today

Eliot RatzmanElliot Ratzman, Visiting Professor in the Department of Religion, will be the keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day luncheon. King the activist was informed by King the scholar. The speeches, sermons, and strategies of the Civil Rights Movement were in large part shaped by the vibrant ideas King wrestled with during his education at Morehouse College, Crozier Seminary and Boston University. The books he read and the scholar-activists he was inspired by shed a different light on King’s works and legacy. Those thinkers on King’s bookshelf were also themselves activists for justice, peace, and equality. As we celebrate King’s life and rededicate our own commitments to justice, come hear what these “mighty streams” have to teach us for our own struggles.

Elliot Ratzman is a visiting professor in the Religion Department teaching courses in the modern philosophical, political and ethical dimensions of religious traditions. Since college, Ratzman has been involved with movements for economic justice, Middle East peace, and human rights. He is finishing a memoir on academics and activism in Israel called “After Zion” and writing a monograph about the genre known as “immersion journalism” where journalists experiment with living for a time as “the Other” as in the classic Black Like Me and Nickel and Dimed. Ratzman’s course, “Religious Radicals: The Theological-Political Martin Luther King Jr” is the basis for a book project on King’s intellectual influences. Contact him at elratzman@gmail.com.

Location Information:

*Swarthmore College – Clothier

Room: Tarble-in-Clothier All-Campus Space

Contact Information:

Name: Naudia Williams

Email: nwillia1@swarthmore.edu

 

Rabbi Arthur Waskow receives Peace Award

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, founder of The Shalom Center of Philadelphia, received the Peace Award from Germantown Mennonite Church today. He spoke to the congregation on bringing labor and rest into alignment with a healthy quality of life and a healthy planet. His recent book, co-authored with Rabbi Phyllis O. Berman, is titled, Freedom Journeys: The Tale of Exodus and Wilderness across Millennia. Rabbi Waskow once taught a course in the Department of Religion at Swarthmore College.