Faculty members at Monmouth College are exploring the development of a peace studies program and three of them – department of philosophy and religious studies professors Anne Mamary, Dan Ott and Hannah Schell – will attend a conference next month devoted to the subject.
The trio will attend the 5th Annual Summer Institute for Faculty in Peace Studies Program Development, hosted by the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies June 9-14.
One definition of peace studies is that it “analyzes violent and nonviolent behaviors as well as the structural mechanisms attending conflicts with a view towards understanding those processes which lead to a more desirable human condition.”
“The conference is the biggest piece of the development right now,” said Ott. “It is designed to help institutions start or strengthen their peace studies programs. We’ve been thinking about this for a while, and we’re working on a proposal to start our own peace and justice program at Monmouth.”
At the conference, MC’s faculty members will engage with leading thinkers on contemporary issues in peace studies and explore the challenges of developing a program. They will also collaborate with teams of faculty on course development.
“Several schools in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) have similar programs,” said Ott, who will teach a pilot course called “Peace with Justice” in the spring of 2014. “It’s a growing movement. More and more institutions are offering something like this, although they look different at different institutions and have different names. We hope to tailor a new program to Monmouth, and it’s exciting to be a part of that development.”
Monmouth’s program would include speakers, and Ott said, “We are pleased that Rick Ufford-Chase, a prominent peacemaker in the Presbyterian Church, will speak on campus this fall. We have also invited Azizah al-Hibri, a lawyer and philosopher who specializes in Muslim women’s rights, to give this year’s Thompson Lecture.”
al-Hibri is the founding editor of Hypatia, a journal of feminist philosophy. Also in the spring, Ott will be leading an Alternative Spring Break trip to the Mexican border through a BorderLinks program.
In addition to the Kroc institute, Ott said meetings with other faculty members are scheduled to further develop the peace studies program, with the intent of developing it into a minor. Several departments have already given input and expressed support, including: political science, sociology/anthropology, history, English and communications.