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Themester 2011 Home

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War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it.
— General William Tecumseh Sherman

Fall 2011   Making War, Making Peace

 

The phrase “war and peace” is altogether familiar, but for the most part we hear it as if  “war” is the primary and normal condition of conflict in which we live, while peace is an idealistic appendage, often seen as little more than the somewhat passive, absence of conflict.  Making War, Making Peace encourages us to reconsider that relationship by focusing attention on the ways in which both war and peace are actively “framed,” “envisioned,” “represented” or otherwise “constituted” and “constructed” through human practices—social, political, economic, technological, scientific, ethical, aesthetic, rhetorical, and so on.  

The issues raised by such consideration are both timeless and timely—Should we go to war, and for what reasons? What counts as war or peace for a particular culture or era? What resources do we (or might we) actively draw upon as we negotiate how we “make” war and peace?—but at their core are several prevailing questions that should guide Themester 2011:  in what ways are both war and peace implicated by the use of violence to achieve so-called “desirable” results? How does our understanding of wartime violence shape how we imagine “peace,” or vice versa, how might the production of a “positive peace” through efforts like the promotion of human rights, campaigns for nonviolence, efforts at reconciliation, etc. influence the ways in which we cognitively engage the practices and conditions of war? And what are the consequences—intended and otherwise—for how we animate warlike or peace building attitudes and behaviors?

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