Breakout Session 5

5.1 Ritual Space, Art & Music 1 - Panel

  • “Dialogue, Drumming & Synchronicity: Wadaiko in Salvador, Bahia Brazil,” Elizabeth Stela (University of California at Riverside)

This paper, based on fieldwork and oral history interviews, examines internal conflict resolution practices and anti-racist activism in Grupo Cultural Wado, a taiko, or Japanese drumming ensemble located in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Japanese nationals arrived in Brazil in 1908 and settled in the state of Bahia during a wave of immigration in the 1950s. Japanese descendants in Salvador established Grupo Cultural Wado in 2008 with the purpose of promoting Japanese culture through music, and teaching perceived Japanese values such as teamwork, solidarity, and discipline among members and audiences around the city. Wado is open to Nikkeis (Japanese descendants) and non-Nikkeis alike, and group decisions, such as when to accept new members, where to perform, and how often to compose pieces are made via consensus. First, I examine Wado’s practice of holding regular monthly meetings in which members resolve interpersonal conflict through group dialogue and direct emotional support. Here, members are free to voice their opinions and express their emotions to fellow members who mediate disputes and remind each member of their importance as a friend and group member. Next, I explore the group’s musical and kinesthetic training, which according to members, creates harmony through individuals learning to mimic one another's movements. Moving in unison deepens one’s understanding of the other, and the result is an ensemble moving together, creating a feeling of group “energy,” and synchronicity. Here, I argue that music and dance training is a way to practice and enact peaceful relations between human bodies. Lastly, I locate Wado’s work within the context of taiko drumming as a historically non-violent and anti-racist movement in both Brazil and the United States. I discuss the acceptance of non-Japanese descendants as members of the Nikkei community through their work of performing Japanese music, and I argue that pacifist activism sounds like a taiko ensemble: loud, energetic, dynamic, and harmonious. 

  • “Creating a Beloved Global Community,” Joseph de Riveira (Clark University)

International justice requires the establishment of a global community that incorporates both individualistic and collectivist societies. It must promote local communities, be based on socio-emotional relationships, the recognition of dependence on a common earth, and cooperative work on common concerns. The solidarity of the diversity in such a community needs to be distinguished from the cohesion of a superordinate group, and will require inclusionary rituals that celebrate common concerns. I discuss the nature of ritual, how it differs from reason and art and its necessity in the maintenance of community.  The possibility of articulating themes that could be used in ritual celebrations is shown by a recent study in which over two thousand people from 25 different nations were given eight possible themes for celebration. One theme -- The courage to build justice for the children who will inherit this world -- was desired by 93% of the sample, with 78% indicated a desire to participate in a celebration of global community and over 65% wanting to participate from all but 2 of the sampled nations. The results suggest the development of global norms but do not indicate the strength of this norm or the extent to which people would actually attend celebrations. I will discuss recent research on how global community may be promoted.

  • “Why Nonviolent Resistance Needs the Arts,” Shelly Clay-Robison (George Mason University/York College of Pennsylvania)

Social protest art and activist art are broad terms used to describe creative endeavors focused on social movements or art directly related to and set in social conflict contexts. While it is not a traditional form of conflict intervention, this type of art seeks to nonviolently resist and protest against physical violence, structural violence, and civil inequalities through cultural means. Social protest art typically emerges from personal and political notions that question authority and oppression and seeks to challenge or even disrupt the status quo. By inspiring a community of people who oppose oppression and violence, social protest art has the power to galvanize groups to create new social orders. Consequently, the visual arts are necessary to nonviolent feminist resistance movements. This paper looks beyond well-known activist artists like the Guerilla Girls or Yoko Ono and investigates the work of contemporary feminist artists whose artwork challenges toxic patriarchal systems, addresses violent conflict within the realm of feminine-space and craft, and seeks to envision equal and empowered futures for all.  

5.2 Reconciliation & its Obstacles 1 - Panel

  • “Peacebuilding in the Context of Structural Inequality: The Inescapable Grounding of Collective Trauma in Challenges to Neoliberal Social Norms,” Jeremy Rinker (University of North Carolina Greensboro)

While, the legacy of collective historical trauma (Kirmayer, Gone, & Moses, 2014) clearly connects group identity, violent social conflict, and nonviolent change strategies, few scholar-practitioners of peace and conflict studies have deeply explored the implications of past traumas on current social inequalities and/or the nonviolent strategies activists often choose to combat these inequalities. This paper will bring together peacebuilding theory, best practices in developing psycho-social resilience, and case study of modern nonviolent resistance as a means to explore the important threads between dominant norms, neoliberal values, and sustainable change. Recent books by Meckfessel (2016) and Engler and Engler (2016) problematize important connections between strategic nonviolence and neoliberal global developments, but what remains obscure is a rendering of the social psychological antecedents of this problematic relationship. What does effective nonviolent conflict transformation (i.e. peacebuilding) look like on the ground in the current era of neoliberal social and economic inequality? Can we truly understand the complex relationship between neoliberal systems of inequality (i.e. capital accumulation and unfettered consumption) and nonviolence without exploring trauma as a collective experience? The need for deep exploration into value commitments of nonviolence and neoliberalism, as well as the processes of reconciliation in cases of past wrongs has become increasingly urgent in our divided social landscape. This paper argues that much of this need stems from a combination of misunderstandings about both the roots of past collective trauma and current dominant neoliberal policies and values, not to mention vague understandings of nonviolent activism itself. By grounding a pedagogy of peacebuilding practice in educating people about the interrelationship between nonviolence and neoliberalism, peacebuilders can both shift dominant narrative and build community resilience.

  • “Bridging the Divide: Cross-Cultural Mediation,” Joshua M. Mahuna and Laura N. Mahan (George Mason University)

This session is an engagement through exhibition of theory and collaboration with participants for the shared understanding and expansion of theoretical application in various conflicted situations. The presenters want to expand and integrate this model for cross-cultural utilization and analysis into a variety of fields. This session is focused towards a collaborative engagement with experts, scholars, and professionals in their own fields to construct a more definitive course of action for the development and initiation for this research and the development of narrative mediation. Afterwards, the presenters want to open the discussion for questions, critique, and constructive engagement. 

  • “Framing War, Weapons and Peaceful Solutions with Top-Down and Bottom Up Thinking,” Rob Kall (Bottom-up Show/OpEdNews.com)​

This presentation introduces Top down and bottom-up thinking—their roots and dimensions, and how they affect the way we think about solving problems, war, peace. Top-down thinking includes authoritarian, narcissistic, hierarchical, domination, separation, secrecy, based on counting, mechanistic thinking and centralization. Bottom-up thinking is cooperative, interdependent, empathic, open, based on systems thinking, pattern and sharing. Bottom-up thinking leads to connection consciousness—an awareness that we are all connected to each other and to all of nature. It takes the golden rule a step farther, from do unto others as you would do unto yourself to remember that others are a part of and connected to you.
    The roots of top-down thinking, a relatively new phenomenon for humans will be briefly explored and the new millions of years old roots of bottom-up seeing, relating and being will also be described, based on research on the primatology and neurobiology of the development of human and animal morality.
    Top-down and bottom-up thinking apply to war and peace and creating communities and connections in many ways that will be explored during the presentation.  Much of war and the thinking that leads to war is built on top-down fantasies and strategies. For example, nuclear weapons offer one extremely powerful person the ability to, theoretically, decimate an enemy. One big bomb can destroy an army. These are fantasies that rarely work. Yet how many people, as a solution to disagreements, use the phrase, “Nuke the bastards.” Bottom-up solutions are the future of diplomacy and conflict revolution, creating connections between communities instead of dominating invasions.

  • "Reconciliation comes through mending," Shawanna Vaughn (Silent Cry Inc.)

Reconciliation through mending is about forgiveness. Creating a healthier mental and physical state through healing our silent cries from violence and oppression. This discussion is from the lens of a victim who has lost a brother to gun violence for initiation purposes. So, in this process I have myself overcame the criminal justice system and gained education and passionate in my nonprofit work as a way of mending. In the journey of reconciliation I had to forgive the person who murdered my brother in person and we now speak. I believe to truly accept the word, (Peace) we have to internally find it and resolve our issues from the inside out. To manifest all the benefits of peace we must mend broken places in our lives, society, communities and invoke change as we move through these parallel times.

5.3 Women Working in Peace & Revolution - Panel

  • “Women’s Nonviolent Processes of Peacebuilding and Peacemaking in Uzbekistan,” Zulfiya Tursunova (Guilford College)

In Uzbekistan, women’s ritual activities respond to rapid political and socio-economic changes, providing organic peacebuilding venues. Otins are women who lead women’s rituals, officiate at life cycle events (birth, marriage, and funerals) and provide informal Qur’anic education to young girls and women in their homes. Women’s peacebuilding activities are demonstrated in rituals. These rituals show influences from contemporary Islam but also incorporate pre-Islamic religious influences from Zoroastrianism, shamanism, and animism: otins’ practices are saturated with mysticism and traditional spiritual beliefs. They also draw on Sufi practices; participants of gatherings known as mavlud and ihson join in chanting and recitation of poems or religious texts. These ritual processes create meaning and legitimize true Muslim practices and notions of Muslim selfhood that enable women in Uzbekistan to deal with trauma, injustice, and oppression. Otins and women who are participants in ritual are agents enacting true heterodox knowledge for peacebuilding and community empowerment. Through rituals, women negotiate and contest knowledge regarding what constitutes Islam and its practices; they determine their multiple Muslim identities, feel empowered and supported, and create shared ways to address community issues.  

  • “The Importance of Cultural Approaches in Conflict Resolution,” Yeju Choi (Kennesaw State University)

More than 200,000 teenage Korean girls were taken by Japanese soldiers as sex slaves during the 1930s and 1940s. They are called comfort women. In December 2015, the South Korean and Japanese governments reached an agreement in an attempt to resolve the issue of comfort women, getting an apology from the Japanese government, which had been on-going between them for more than 70 years. However, the surviving comfort women showed resentment towards this agreement and condemned the Korean government for reaching the agreement with the Japanese government. Why do the comfort women and many South Koreans reject this agreement? Also, two different understandings of the identically written accord have brought social conflict in South Korea. Where do these discrepancies in understanding the same accord come from? Applying the emic and etic approaches to culture, this paper analyzes the discrepancies in how people analyze and approach conflict resolution and highlights the importance of the approach to culture in conflict resolution.

  • “Building Democracy and Leading a Revolution in Culture: Helen Hoy Greeley, Organizer and Orator of Campaigns for Woman Suffrage in California, Oregon, New Jersey and New York, 1911-19,” Nancy E. Boyer (University of Delaware)

The campaign for women’s suffrage in the USA worked to achieve political equity and a more complete democracy in the USA.  It required fundamental change in cultural and societal norms with respect to the role of women and the relationship between men and women.  Women at the time were reportedly “crushed” for not conforming to what was deemed proper behavior for women, and many women opposed such change. In the context of suffrage and women’s rights campaigns throughout the USA dating from the 1800s, this study analyzes the organization and framing of the California, Oregon, “New Jersey Next”, and New York campaigns as prime examples of principled nonviolence.  The analysis is based on the personal papers of Helen Hoy Greeley, a leader, organizer and orator for successful suffrage campaigns in California (1911), Oregon (1912) and New York (1916-7) and the failed New Jersey campaign in 1915. Five years later, New Jersey was the 29th state to ratify the 19th Amendment.
    By the final push in the “New Jersey Next Campaign,” Greeley was already a renowned organizer, orator and strategist for National American Woman Suffrage Association. NAWSA helped to organize and provide speakers and financial assistance to woman suffrage organizations throughout the USA.  Helen Hoy Greeley worked from NAWSA headquarters in New York, then was sent to assist in various state campaigns. As a valued colleague of Harriot Stanton Blatch, Jane Addams, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, and other leaders, her papers reveal the well-managed organization and extensive networks of suffragists, their brilliant sensitivity to strategy and relations with the press, and the framing of issues to appeal to the hearts and minds of men who were needed to vote for suffrage for women.
    Focused on issues of framing and organization in their historical context, the paper draws parallels and contrasts with other political and human rights campaigns. Slides of suffrage campaigns in various locales, such as in Contra Costa County, CA, also can be shown. Knowing this history is instructive wherever a clarification of values or a paradigm shift in culture and social norms is the goal. This effort informs such campaigns as working for a more peaceful and just world. After finishing her work in suffrage campaigns and later being a paid stump speaker for the Progressive agenda of Senator Bob LaFollette of Wisconsin, among other breath-taking achievements, Helen Hoy Greeley aimed to use these same campaign and educational techniques to affirm in people’s minds a preference for peace over war.  After finding that her former and prospective partners did not want to join her, she turned to other endeavors. The suffrage educational campaign may also inform campaigns for LGTBQ rights, environmental protection, immigration policy and a variety of other endeavors.

5.4 Decolonizing Knowledge of Revolutionary Nonviolence - Panel

This panel seeks to engage in dialogue on decolonizing knowledge of decolonizing resisters confronting contemporary forms of colonialism, as well as decolonizing knowledge of the researchers investigating them.  We start from the premise that mainstream scholarship tends to use Eurocentric, Western frameworks to study resistance struggles around the world, including those adopting revolutionary nonviolence. We problematize this approach and focus on exploring alternative ways of doing research from the standpoint of decolonizing resisters.  
    Our panelists will address 4 subjects to spur discussion on decolonizing knowledge of revolutionary nonviolence.  One speaker will introduce the panel theme and consider the importance of decolonizing knowledge produced by researchers and academia.  Another will highlight the importance of "sumud" (persistent everyday resistance) in Palestinian struggles for freedom.   A third speaker will answer critics of liberal pacifism by constructing a radical concept of nonviolence that ‘revolutionises revolution’, while at the same time acknowledging the challenges of white privilege, the complexities of rejecting violence in oppressive situations, and the agency of revolutionary actors to change course.  And the fourth speaker will trace out the philosophies underpinning the historical narrative of resistance at Parihaka, a Maori community in New Zealand who have resisted the imposition of crown authority since 1868.  We hope that presenting 4 different perspectives on decolonizing knowledge will encourage in-depth and rich conversations on revolutionary nonviolence in violent times. 

5.5 Ending Police Violence, Dismantling Racism, & Building Justice - Roundtable

For several years now, PJSA members have been very active in the work to end police violence and brutality, and build communities of justice and accountability. This roundtable discussion will be an opportunity for you to hear updates from academics and activists engaged on their campuses and in their communities in the work for justice that challenges systemic racism and the militarization of their communities.

5.6 Justice, Gender, Sexuality: An Intersectional Roundtable - Roundtable

We are living in times in which those who support gender and sexuality-based oppression are feeling increasingly emboldened around the world. Simultaneously, women's and LGBTQ movements globally are feeling increasingly empowered.  Further, for many students, the campus has served as both a site for finding solidarity and support for their intersectional identities, as well as one in which gender and sexuality-based violence are a constant threat.  
    The session aims to facilitate a discussion facilitated by the roundtable presenters but open to all attendees. We will organize our discussion around the following question: How do we understand the above realities? How do we address them in our classrooms? What does peace and justice studies have to offer the examination of gender and sexuality-based justice movements? What does foregrounding gender and sexuality have to offer our understanding of peace and justice studies? How do we integrate intersectionality in our analysis of women’s and LGBTQ movements but also of other social justice movements?

5.7 Courageous Conversations: Exploring Emotional & Cognitive Responses to build an Interfaith Restorative Community - Workshop

Revolutionary non-violence involves caring what others think and feel. When this notion is applied to addressing faith-based inequities wherever they smolder or seethe, one question arises: how can people have faith by keeping faith with those who do not share their specific traditions? Through a gallery walk participants will be exposed to a provocative, purposeful exploration of both welcoming and uncomfortable images representing experiences of the faithful of many religions. The aim is to apply restorative approaches challenging people’s perspectives on what is “really going on” in order to reframe and deepen our awareness of what it will take to build sustainable non-violent change through interfaith cooperation.
    The socio-emotional connections uniting across differences will be further explored through role play. Restorative approaches will be employed to invite introspection and dialog--stimulating both socio-emotional engagement and cognitive understanding of myriad forms of privilege that, if not carefully inspected, can prevent sustainable change. Connecting an emotion-laden gallery walk with a thinking-through small group role counternarrative storytelling emphasizes empowerment and rapprochement. Finding deep links across communities and traditions provide strategies for participants to reframe and reimagine their own ideas and experiences wholeheartedly appreciating what invigorates our deepest communal beliefs also connects us across faiths.