Peace Blog

Course: Religion, Violence and Peace

Jeanine Diller, PH.D.

Course: Course: Religion, Violence and Peace

Instructor: DR. JEANINE DILLER, Philosophy and Religious Studies Department, The University of Toledo

Course numbers: PHIL 4900/REL 4380/PHIL 5920/LST 4980

Times: Fall 2017, Tuesdays from 4 to 6:45 pm.

Location: TBA.

Questions welcome: jeanine.diller@utoledo.edu

I have for some years assumed that Scott Appleby, Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame (Ambivalence of the Sacred), is right that (1) the way religion plays out in our world is ambivalent. As a powerful force of social cohesion—like social identities of many kinds such as nationality, ethnicity, etc.—it can be wielded for good or for harm or for lots of states in between. Vocal opponents of this position stress that, even if it might be ambivalent, religion’s overall impact is (2) mainly harmful or (3) mainly helpful. After clarifying key terms and exploring our own initial views about religion and violence, we will examine these three “benchmark” positions about it.

We will test these and other perspectives against some actual historical and current events generally alleged to be cases of religious violence and discuss whether these are real cases of religious violence, and, if so, as importantly, in what way or ways. We will be pointedly on the hunt for other factors (such as political, economic, psychological, etc.) that might be driving the violence, and will ask how religion might function to hide such factors, or aggravate them, or cause the conflict in its own right, etc. Recognizing that claims about causation are complicated even for strictly physical phenomena, I will invite graduate students and those undergraduates who opt in to explore work in philosophy of causation to inform these discussions.

Read the rest of this entry »


Fred Wilson Field Trip

“Wilson’s art speaks a language of redress…”

— Huey Copeland, Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America (Chicago, IL: U of Chicago Press, 2013): 26.

On November 3, 2016, my colleague Eric Zeigler (see his contribution at the end) and I drove six students for an hour and a half to Oberlin, Ohio, to hear African-American artist Fred Wilson (b. 1954) speak about his work on the occasion of two exhibitions he installed this past year at Oberlin College’s Allen Memorial Art Museum in this small college town (my alma mater). We were already familiar with the artist, each one of us having often admired his black glass sculpture Iago’s Mirror (2009), acquired by the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) in 2010 (it was last on view in the TMA’s Gallery 6 for the temporary exhibition Shakespeare’s Characters: Playing the Part).

Mirror made out of black glass.

Fred Wilson: Iago’s Mirror, Murano glass (http://www.toledomuseum.org)

Listening to a talk by the 1999 recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” grant was inspiring and exciting. Getting to see his work in both a solo exhibition (Fred Wilson: Black to the Powers of Ten) and in the site-specific installation Wildfire Test Pit was amazing. Fred Wilson’s works remains on view at the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, Ohio until June 12, 2017.

As a generous, instructive, insightful orator, Wilson was spectacular, sharing slides as he described an artistic trajectory and longtime interest in understanding museums through their collections. Starting out by invitation from the Maryland Historical Society in 1992, his attention began training on the Atlantic slave trade, the Indian slave trade, and movements of oil — or as he eventually came to call such dynamics, Movement of Blackness. Giving form to institutional memory by “mining” museum collections, Wilson would feature decommissioned possessions, like slave shackles or a public whipping post, side by side with an institution’s finest silver and furniture.

He spoke about installing over 50 portraits of Daniel Webster at the Hood Museum, in Dartmouth College, simultaneously with a series of plaster cast busts identifying human specimens from around the world. In the case of the latter, Wilson hid racial inscriptions with sashes of mourning, to encourage viewers to see them as people. This includes a cast of Ota Benga, the Congolese youth exhibited at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904; he would end up committing suicide in Virginia 12 years later.

Read the rest of this entry »


BETTY A. REARDON PEACE EDUCATION RESOURCE CENTER

Betty Reardon giving a speach.

Dr. Betty Reardon (Soka University of America)

Housed in the Judith Herb College of Education, the Betty A. Reardon Peace Education Resource Collection contains more than 5000 books and curricular materials related to peace education, human rights, justice, disarmament and more.  >>Click here to learn more… 


WHY STUDY PEACE @ UT? THE IMPERATIVE OF PEACE STUDIES IN THE UNIVERSITY CURRICULUM – SPECIAL CONVERSATIONS WITH DR. BETTY REARDON

Renowned peace scholar, educator, activist and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Dr. Betty A. Reardon visited The University of Toledo from April 12-14 for a series of conversations with students, faculty and community members about the need and possibilities of peace studies.  >>Click here for more information…


BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE PRESENT: WHAT CAN ONE PERSON DO?

The Peace Education Initiative hosted a special panel discussion on sustainability and change on November 10 in the Student Union where a panel of experts explored work being done to promote sustainability at various levels from the grassroots to the global.  Illuminating both challenges and solutions to sustainability, stories of individual actions in creating sustainable change were also shared to help us answer the question: what can one person do?  A recording of the sessions is now available.  >>Click here for more information…


PEACE EDUCATION INITIATIVE HOSTS SPECIAL EXHIBIT

Poster of the Seeds of Hope exhibition

Seeds of Hope Poster

The Peace Education Initiative hosted a special exhibit “Seeds of Hope: Visions of Sustainability, Steps Towards Change” at the Carlson Library through the fall semester 2015.  The exhibit, free and open to the public, was curated and developed by Soka Gakkai International and Earth Charter International.


IIPE 2015 HELD AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO

Students sitting at a fountain with blooming magnolia trees in the background.

IIPE at the The University of Toledo, 2015.

The 2015 International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) was hosted by The University of Toledo from July 26-August 2, 2015.   The 2015 IIPE explored the theme of “Education for Urban Renewal toward Social & Ecological Justice: Peace Education in an Era of Globalization.”  60 academics, formal and non-formal educators and activists representing 18 countries came to Toledo to participate in the week-long event exploring the role of peace education in addressing issues of urban decline and the interconnected dilemmas of poverty, violence, health, and environmental degradation in an era of unprecedented economic globalization. The IIPE provided a constructive process model and interactive space through which these issues were explored toward the identification and development of strategies and methods to address them.  Click here for background information about IIPE 2015.


COMMUNITY DIALOGUE AND PUBLIC FORUM ON URBAN REVITALIZATION

Poster of Urban Revitalization

On July 29, 2015, over 300 community members, leaders, and organizations participated in the “Community Dialogue and Public Forum on Urban Revitalization Through the Lenses of Peace and Justice” held at the Frederick Douglass Community Association. A World Café conversation was held to discuss challenges facing the Toledo community and possible solutions. The conversation focused around four main topics: social justice, economic justice, ecological justice, and peace.  The report illuminates the most significant concerns, ideas and possibilities that surfaced from the discussions.  >>Click here to access the report. 


PEACE EDUCATION INITIATIVE HOSTS PUBLIC FORUM

On July 29 the Peace Education Initiative hosted a full-day public forum and dialogue on the topic of urban revitalization through the lenses of justice and peace and the Frederick Douglass Community Center in Toledo.  More than 300 local educators and activists participated in the event toward identifying strategies for revitalizing Toledo with peace & justice.  1. Click here for background information about the forum.  2. Click here for coverage from the Toledo Blade.  3.  Click here for coverage by UT News.  4. See below for local TV news coverage of the event.


UT INITIATIVE DEDICATED TO TEACHING HOW TO PROMOTE PEACE

In the UT News: By Lindsay Mahaney : July 9th, 2015

“In a world plagued by violence and unrest, there is an initiative at The University of Toledo working for peaceful resolutions.

Picture of Tony Jenkins talking.

Dr. Tony Jenkins delivered a lecture on peace education in Trondheim, Norway in February.

The Peace Education Initiative in the Judith Herb College of Education was established to help the University become a global leader in peace education. Through a variety of programming and research in peace education and peace studies, UT is working to promote understanding both in the local community and globally.” (…)

Read more here