Long considered a subfield of international relations and political science, Peace Studies has solidified its place as an interdisciplinary field in its own right with a canon, degree programs, journals, conferences, and courses taught on the subject. Internationally renowned centers offering programs on Peace and Conflict Studies can be found on every continent. Almost all of the scholars working in the field, however, are united by an aspiration: attaining Peace, whether “positive” or “negative.” The telos of peace, however, itself remains undefined and elusive, notwithstanding the violence committed in its name.
This edited volume critically interrogates the field of peace studies, considering its assumptions, teleologies, canons, influence, enmeshments with power structures, biases, and normative ends. We highlight four interrelated tendencies in peace studies: hypostasis (strong essentializing tendencies), teleology (its imagined “end”), normativity (the set of often utopian and Eurocentric discourses that guide it), and enterprise (the attempt to undertake large projects, often ones of social engineering to attain this end). The chapters in this volume reveal these tendencies while offering new paths to escape them.
Visit http://www.rethinkingpeacestudies.com/ for further details on the Rethinking Peace Studies project.
Acknowledgments / Preface, Paul Hastings / Introduction: Rethinking Peace Studies, Alexander Laban Hinton, Giorgio Shani, and Jay Alberg / 1. The Inner Battles of Peace Studies: The Limits and Possibilities, Ashis Nandy / 2. Sovereignty, Interference, and Crisis, Stephen Eric Bronner / 3. Towards A Peace with Global Justice, Oliver Richmond / 4. Saving Liberal Peacebuilding: From the “Local Turn” to a Post-Western Peace, Giorgio Shani / 5. Cultural Memory in the Wake of Violence: Exceptionalism, Vulnerability, and the Grievable Life, Marita Sturken / 6. Justice in the Land of Memory: Reflecting on the Temporality of Truth and Survival in Argentina, Natasha Zaretsky / 7. Negotiating Difference and Empathy: Cinematic Representations of Passing and Exchanged Identities in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Yael Zerubavel / 8. Silence and Memory Politics, Leigh A. Payne / 9. A Translational Comics Text and its Translation: Maus in Japanese, Beverly Curran / 10. To Arrive Where We Started: Peace Studies and the Logos, Jeremiah Alberg / 11. The Crisis of Japan’s Constitutional Pacifism: The Abe Administration’s Belated Counter-Revolution, Shin Chiba / 12. Peace-in-Difference: Peace through Dialogue about and across Difference(s), Hartmut Behr / 13. From Substantialist to Relational Difference in Peace and Conflict Studies, Morgan Brigg / 14. Zona Intervenida: Performance as Memory, Transforming Contested Spaces, Nitin Sawhney / Afterword: Look Again – Aleppo: The Last Lesson on Prevention, Alexander Laban Hinton / Notes on Contributors
Rethinking Peace is a path-breaking book in Peace Studies. Brilliantly exposing the field’s recessive underside, it offers radically new avenues of reflection, engagement, and analysis. The volume is likely to emerge as an indispensable resource for innovative research and pedagogy.
This important volume puts into practice Ashis Nandy's admonition not simply to reject Peace Studies for its entanglements with liberal modernity, including the state, but to work to recover resources for peace from spaces and voices that are generally invisible or even exiled from our studies and practices. Though what Nandy calls "undomesticated" voices can be hard to hear from our positions in the Academy or international/transnational institutions, Rethinking Peace wisely makes issues of translation and the challenges and possibilities of dialogue central to its call for rethinking. I recommend that anyone drawn to Peace Studies first read this book as both a cautionary tale and a source of hope.
Moving beyond traditional criticisms of the liberal peace and binary approaches to critical peace research, Rethinking Peace offers to push us into other directions and disciplines to question the emancipation project itself. This edited volume brings together erudite scholars that form the core of peace studies rooted in IR, as well as those that bring insights from development studies and human rights, to work toward a new agenda for the field based on more interdisciplinary foundations. A thought-provoking read that will be interesting for scholars and students, inside and outside the mainstream of peace studies.
Alexander Hinton is Founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (CGHR), Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, and UNESCO Chair on Genocide Prevention at Rutgers University.
Professor Giorgio Shani is Chair of the Department of Politics and International Studies and Director of the Rotary Peace Center at International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan.
Professor Jeremiah Alberg teaches philosophy and religion in the Humanities Department of International Christian University. He is the Director of the Library and of the Center for Teaching and Learning.