Tag Archives: violence

Webinar on the Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements

On November 15, 2018, Prof. Lee Smithey joined his co-editor and colleague, Prof. Lester Kurtz (George Mason University) to talk about their new edited book, The Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements (Syracuse University Press). The webinar was recorded, and you are welcome to view it here. The Communications Office, also published a piece on the College’s website that you may also read below. You can learn more about the book at http://paradox.swarthmore.edu


Professor Lee Smithey
Associate Professor Lee Smithey

Lee Smithey, associate professor of peace & conflict studies and sociology, is a co-editor and contributor to a new book, The Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements (Syracuse University Press, 2018), that offers an in-depth exploration of the use of repression in political arenas and its unintended effect of sometimes fanning the flames of nonviolent resistance.

“The concept of backfire, or the paradox of repression, is widely understood to be fundamental to strategic nonviolent action, but it has not been fully investigated. It was work that needed to be done,” says Smithey, who in addition to writing and teaching about nonviolent resistance has also participated in peaceful protests. “Power is not only about repression but also about building public support.”

The book, edited by Smithey and Lester Kurtz, a George Mason University sociology professor, is meant as a tool for scholars and activists to understand how repression works, as well as to study significant incidents when nonviolent activists took measures to help make repression a defining moment. For example: “When authorities are seen as attacking or disrespecting widely shared symbols, they may mobilize people in defense of shared collective identities,” write Smithey and Kurtz.

The editors first wrote about the topic in 1999, but organizing for the new book began in 2009—bringing together diverse, global contributors to study how repression can energize nonviolent movements and how nonviolent activists have worked to manage repression in their favor. It includes the grassroots efforts of nonviolent resistance such as Women of Zimbabwe Arise, who bravely joined forces as “mothers of the nation” to stand against dictator Robert Mugabe.

As they planned the book, Smithey and Kurtz organized a two-day writing retreat for the contributors to help build an integrated approach to the project. “It was intellectually exciting,” Smithey says. “We were committed early on to making this book a collaboration between academics and practitioners.”

One practice the book’s authors explore is called repression management—enacted by withstanding or avoiding repression or by creating scenarios in which repression against nonviolent activists would more likely elicit a sense of public outrage (and ultimately support).

One example, Smithey says, is the now-iconic photo of Ieshia Evans, who stood stoically in a flowing dress and faced a line of law enforcement officers in riot gear as she protested the shooting death of Alton Sterling. The photo, taken in downtown Baton Rouge, La., on July 9, 2016, quickly became a cultural touchstone.

The Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements also examines the psychological costs for agents of repression, elites’ attempts to avoid triggering the paradox of repression, repression of online activism, and the work of overcoming fear.

“Repression is an attempt to demobilize nonviolent movements by sowing fear,” Smithey says, “but activists can work together to overcome fear and continue to mobilize.”

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict will host a webinar by Smithey and Kurtz Nov. 15 from noon to 1 PM. Smithey will also offer an Alumni Council webinar on the book on Nov. 28. 

Writing from the Wound: Literature and Disenchantment in Postwar Central America

“Writing from the Wound: Literature and Disenchantment in Postwar Central America”

Nanci Buiza, Assistant Professor of Spanish

Tuesday, December 12th, 4:15 PM
McCabe Library Atrium
Open to the Public

Professor Buiza will examine how contemporary Central American writers have made literary art out of a heritage of violence, trauma, and social disaffection.

Prof Nanci Buiza
Prof. Nanci Buiza

Torn by decades of civil war and political terror, and more recently by the depredations of neoliberalism and urban violence, Central America has been unkind to the artistic enterprise. And yet despite the adversity, its writers have in recent years managed to put Central America on the literary map. They have made a virtue of their situation by submitting their disillusionments, traumas, and dislocations to the discipline of art and have produced works of high literary achievement.

Of special interest in this presentation is the way in which these writers contend with the senseless modernity that radically remade Central American society after the era of civil wars had come to an end in the 1990s. The “culture of peace” as a code of conduct promoted by market-oriented postwar reconstruction projects; the unresolved wartime traumas that have devastated the social fabric; the disenchantment that took root after the dreams for social utopia had been dashed by the failed revolutions and by the forces of neoliberalism—all these features of the postwar experience are central concerns of these writers, but they also pose problems for what it means to make art. How contemporary Central American literature registers and resists these problems is the focus of this presentation.

Border Walls and the Politics of Becoming Non-Human

“Border Walls and the Politics of Becoming Non-Human”

Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Co-Director of the Zolberg Institute for Migration and Mobility at the New School.

Friday, April 21st
2:30 – 4:00 pm
Science Center Room 199
Swarthmore College (directions)

Abstract: “In this talk I am concerned by the ways in which border walls and zones come not simply to *defend* (i.e. certain territories), but to *define* — that is, to shape or alter categories of natural and human kinds. I will suggest that borders walls, and all the surrounding and auxiliary technologies they harness, work by shifting how we understand different kinds of beings, ultimately rendering certain kinds killable.”

Ticktin on border walls

Sponsored by the Departments of Sociology and  anthropology, Political Science, The Environmental Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies Programs, The Global Affairs Program at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, and the Center for Humanities at Temple University

Doctors of the Revolution: Medicine and Violence in Egypt’s Tahrir Square

Doctors of the Revolution: Medicine and Violence in Egypt’s Tahrir Square

Dr. Soha Bayoumi (Harvard University)
Dr. Sherine Hamdy (Brown University)

Friday, April 14, 2017
4:30pm
Science Center 199
Swarthmore College

Doctors of the Revolution

Organized by Peace and Conflict Studies and Co-Sponsored by Arabic, Biology, Health and Societies Program, Islamic Studies, Political Science, Pre-Med Office, Sociology and Anthropology, Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.

Fighting Gender-Based Violence: A Discussion With Urmi Basu

FIGHTING GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: A DISCUSSION WITH URMI BASU

Learn about and meet one of the most inspiring woman in non-profit work today with a series of events!

Urmi Basu

Urmi Basu, founder of nonprofit New Light, is a fighter for social justice and the marginalized community of sex workers and women in prostitution. Based in Kolkata, India, New Light’s mission is to promote gender equality and fight violence and abuse of women and children. They have various women-empowerment programs, anti-trafficking programs and they also provide shelter and education to prevent second-generation prostitution.
She was elected as the NGO coordinator by the office of the Governor of West Bengal to present to former President of the United States Bill Clinton in 2001 and in 2012 she was part of a core team that met with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. She was also chosen as a recipient of a blessing from His Holiness The Dalai Lama under the title Unsung Heroes of Compassion 2009 in San Francisco for her work promoting compassion and peace. An impassioned speaker with a unique global perspective, Urmi Basu continues her daily fight for what she believes in.
LIST OF EVENTS:

Nov. 18 7:00pm @ LPAC
“Half the Sky” film screening, a documentary based on the book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. This documentary, in which she is featured, focuses on women’s control of their own body as well as microfinance and women’s education. There will be snacks.

Nov. 22 11:30- 1:00 pm @ Bond Hall 
Student lunch with Urmi Basu

Nov. 22 4:30 pm @ SCI101
Listen to Urmi Basu speak about her experiences and come talk to her about women’s rights, prostitution and sex slavery, non-profit work and more! There will be snacks.

Co-Sponsors- i20, Women’s Resource Center, Peace and Conflict Studies Department, Office of Student Engagement, Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility

Contact Information:
Name: Anna Everetts
Phone: (610) 328-7750
Email: aeveret1

David Kennedy ’80 to speak on an applied ethics of crime control

“What if criminal justice had a Hippocratic Oath? Toward an applied ethics of crime control”

justice_oathDavid Kennedy ‘80

Director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City

April 14, 2014

2:00-3:30 p.m.

Science Center 199

Swarthmore College (directions)

Download a flyer (follow the link, and click on the gear icon)

David M. Kennedy (Swarthmore class of 1980 and an honorary degree recipient in 2011) directed the Boston Gun Project, whose “Operation Ceasefire” intervention was responsible for a more than sixty per cent reduction in youth homicide victimization and won the Ford Foundation Innovations in Government award. He is the author of Don’t Shoot, One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America. Read more about David Kennedy.

Watch David Kennedy address the senior class of 2011 during the Commencement in which he received an honorary degree from the College:

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Sponsored by the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.

Visual Anthropology and State Violence in Jamaica

deborah-thomas

Black History Month Keynote Speaker

Please join us on Wednesday, February 12th from 4:30 pm -5:45 pm in the Scheuer Room of Kohlberg for the annual Black History Month Keynote lecture given by Dr. Deborah Thomas, anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania. The title of her lecture is, “The Time of the Archive: Visual Anthropology and State Violence in Jamaica.

She will make connections to state sponsored violence in the United States.

Session will include time for question and answers. Light refreshment will be served.

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

 

Tweeting on gun violence prevention

Students in the course PEAC 077 “Peace Studies and Action” partnered with the local gun violence reporting organization, guncrisis.org over the spring semester 2013. In the spirit of “process journalism” that guncrisis journalists employ, our class made announcements, shared resources, and offered comments on gun violence prevention over the course of the semester using a #swatpsa hashtag on Twitter.

Most of the tweets have been bundled together at Bundlr.com. Recenlty, Bundlr featured our bundled tweets in their Education and Science gallery.

GunCrisis.org: Seeking Solutions to Gun Violence in Philadelphia with Digital Journalism

A public lecture sponsored by our friends at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility

GunCrisis.org: Seeking Solutions to Gun Violence in Philadelphia with Digital Journalism”

Jim_MacMillanTuesday, April 2nd, 2013

4:30-5:30 p.m.

Scheuer Room

Swarthmore College

Maps and Directions

Download a flyer

Jim MacMillan

Former Journalist-in-Residence for War News Radio and Manager of Media and Social Responsibility for the Lang Center, Founder, GunCrisis.org Current Assistant Director for the Center for Public Interest Journalism at Temple University

How do we address the epidemic of homicide by gunfire in America? What is the future and impact of journalism in response to epic changes in information delivery? How can social media be put to use for positive social change? On average, at least one person has been murdered in Philadelphia every day over the last 25 years, and more than three-quarters of them have been killed with a gun.

The Gun Crisis Reporting Project is a non-profit independent journalism organization intended to fill the gaps in gun violence reporting, and to help seek solutions.

Visit: GunCrisis.org.

Sponsored by the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.

guncrisis_web_3-26-13