Swarthmore College Peace Collection

In our efforts to better understand the width and breadth of peace scholarship, we at Peace and Change will begin a regular series of posts in which we examine the digital resources available to students, teachers, scholars, and activists. We will shine a spotlight on those tools and archives that forward our understanding of peace studies by either cataloging resources, facilitating student learning, or providing a unique lens through which to view the subject. Through these posts, we hope to introduce readers to resources that may help them improve their scholarship, enhance student learning outcomes, and strengthen their activism.

We chose to begin our series with the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (SCPC), an archive at Swarthmore College, obviously, that houses thousands of documents, including those from the Peace History Society.

The SCPC was founded as a library and archive for the books and papers of Jane Addams, as well as the files for Women’s Peace Party and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Over half of the collections documents pertain to women, and cover subjects related to “pacifism, women and peace, conscientious objection, nonviolence, civil disobedience, progressivism, the Vietnam era, African-American protest and civil rights, feminism, civil liberties, the history of social work, and other reform movements.” The website also houses a number of digitized photographic collections and links to peace organizations and their history.

The SCPC website provides finding aids to help navigate the archives large collections, as well as links to other online collections.

For those interested in the intersection of race, gender, and class with peace history, the Swarthmore College Peace History Collection is a useful hub that will satisfy the needs of scholars, the teachers, and students.

Peace History Society Conference 2015

Prue Moylan and I (program co-chairs), along with Kevin Callahan (PHS President and local site coordinator) are looking forward to a great Peace History Society Conference at The University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut. The conference opens Thursday October 22nd and runs through Saturday October 24th.

Our theme this year is “Historical Perspectives on War, Peace, and Religion” and we have 15 excellent panels of papers on topics ranging from the writing of the history of American Zionism to a comparison of Jane Addams and Gandhi to an examination of the role religious traditions have played in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide.

We also have two superb plenary sessions. In the first, “Supernaturalism and Peace Activism: Expanding the Boundaries of Peace History,” Leilah Danielson will explore the role of religion and culture in shaping peace activism in the 20th century. She will argue that attention to these factors can help to set a new agenda for peace history, one that will be more fully engaged with historiographical trends and will up possibilities for a truly international peace history.

In our second plenary session, “American Catholic Peace Movement: Past and Present,” scholars will participate in a round table discussion on the Catholic peace movement in the United States during the 20th-century. Papers will be presented on Ben Salmon, one of only four U.S. Catholic conscientious objectors in World War I; Dorothy Day, a co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement in 1933 who has been dubbed the “Mother of the American Catholic Peace movement;” and Fr. Carl Kabat, a Catholic priest and anti-nuclear weapons activist during the Cold War.

We believe that the theme of this year’s conference is appropriate not only because we will be gathering on the campus of a Catholic college, but also because the connection between violence and religion is one which has recently been coming under increased scrutiny by scholars. For instance, William Cavanaugh has argued that the “myth of religious violence”—the notion that religion is inherently violent and so needs to be controlled by state—has a history that coincides with the rise to of modern nation-state. Likewise, Karen Armstrong has noted that what is regarded as religiously-motivated violence is almost always depicted as fanatical, while violence at the service of the state—war—is usually presented as rational and necessary.

Our hope is that many of the conference papers—as well as those to be included in the special issue of Peace & Change—will not only address such historiographical questions, but will also offer alternative historical perspectives on the role faith traditions and individuals within those traditions have played in countering war and building peace.

Again, we are looking forward to a great conference and look forward to seeing you all in West Hartford!

-Ben Peters

Coming Soon in Peace and Change

It’s hard to believe that the end of the year is approaching, but the October issue of Peace & Change is the last one for 2015. We’re wrapping up the year on a high note with two articles on draft resistance, gender, and citizenship in the United States and Israel. Donald W. Maxwell looks at the meaning of U.S. citizenship for men who resisted or deserted from the American War in Vietnam, while Merav Perez and OrnaSasson-Levy analyze a series of original interviews with Israeli men on their feelings about military service in “Avoiding Military Service in a Militaristic Society: A Chronicle of Resistance to Hegemonic Masculinity. Each essay is very rich on its own, but the parallels that run between the two—as well as the contrasts—are downright intriguing. We won’t blog any spoilers, but will promise a truly worthwhile read.

If that weren’t enough, the October issue also features a special forum edited by Kathleen Kennedy and Kathleen Z. Young marking the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Elaine Scary’s The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (1985). Scarry’s multi-disciplinary analysis of the experience, expression, and representation of pain, and the processes by which people create and “unmake” their worlds (and those of others) has shaped numerous works of history and cultural studies on the politics of embodiedness and creativity. The contributors to this forum on The Body in Pain at Thirty—Nicole R. McClure, K. Frances Lieder, and Jason Springs—honor Scarry’s deeply influential work by raising new challenges to it. To quote the editors, the essays “focus her Universalist theoretical framework to address issues of race, gender or the particularities of historical circumstances” in a manner that simultaneously “embraces both the methodological and ethical challenges offered by Scarry’s work while demonstrating that the specifics of her argument need to better account for historical diversity. The result is a host of fresh perspectives on questions that are central to the work of peace studies scholars. There is something for everyone in this forum of innovative essays.


Peace & Change Blog is the dynamic online accompaniment to the Peace & Change: A Journal of Peace Research, the quarterly journal sponsored by the Peace History Society and the Peace and Justice Studies Association, and published by Wiley Blackwell.

The blog is a place for exploration and dialogue beyond the pages of the journal. In addition to previewing and expanding upon journal content, Peace & Change Blog will regularly feature

· interviews with scholars, activists, teachers, and students of peace history and peace studies about issues in the field
· updates on digital scholarship, tools, and archives to support peace history research
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· new publications of interest

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