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Rethinking Peace Studies (RPS) is an academic initiative that seeks to critically rethink Peace Studies from a multidisciplinary lens. Made up of a series of three seminars and one culminating conference to be held over a three year period starting in 2014, RPS seminar participants are academics and practitioners with a wide variety of backgrounds. The project is global in scope, with seminars held in Tokyo, Japan, New York City, United States and Kandy, Sri Lanka. RPS is a partnership between the Japan ICU Foundation, International Christian University (Japan) and Rutgers University's Center for the Study of Genocide & Human Rights. The primary funding agency for RPS is the Japan ICU Foundation, an educational foundation based in New York City with a mission to support ICU's global programming.
RPS emerged from the Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Forum, which was held on the campus of International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo, Japan in November of 2012. RPS seminars will each convene 15 people with diverse professional and academic backgrounds for four days of dialogue centered on the various shortcomings, strengths and opportunities in the field of Peace Studies.
The seminars each revolve around a theme. The themes are transdisciplinary and will allow seminar participants to approach Peace Studies from a diversity of perspectives. The first seminar will focus on the theme translation, the second memory, and the third dialogue. The first of was held in Tokyo from November 13-16, 2014. The second was held in New York in March 2015 and will be followed by the third seminar in Sri Lanka (November 2015). A culminating fourth conference will be held in Tokyo in 2016. Unlike typical academic conferences, participants will not be asked to present papers. Instead, discussions will be built around the seminar materials, and will be led by Alex Hinton and Giorgio Shani. The seminar structure is purposefully loose in order to allow for a natural dialogue. As a "think tank" we hesitate to define how our dialogue might unfold.
Rethinking is after all an exercise intended to eliminate, to the extent possible, preconceptions. In addition, we have purposefully invited a diverse group of academics and practitioners who will approach the material and subject from unique perspectives. We will, however, be concerned with how the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of Memory Studies might be useful within Peace Studies, and vice versa. Along with reading the material provided, we asked participants to prepare answers to four prompts that stem from the readings. In order to jumpstart dialogue, the moderators ask participants to respond to these questions. They are:
1) What does it mean to rethink?
2) What are we rethinking?
3) What is one question that emerged from the readings?
4) What is one passage that struck a chord with you, and why?
In addition, we asked everyone to give a brief introduction at the beginning of the seminar that touches on the question, "what was your path to peace/memory studies?" Also, we will be employing Chatham House Rules, in order to allow for participants to share ideas freely. Then, we will be inviting participants to submit articles for inclusion in the culminating conference that will be held at ICU in the fall of 2016. A selection of these articles will make up an edited volume.
Rethinking Peace Studies I: Translation
The first of three Rethinking Peace Studies seminars was held from November 13-16, 2014 on the ICU campus in Tokyo, Japan. Thirteen participants spent four days together critically examining Peace Studies through the lens of Translation Studies. The seminar was moderated by Dr. Jeremiah Alberg (ICU) and Dr. Alexander Hinton (Rutgers University).
Rethinking Peace Studies II: Memory
The second of three Rethinking Peace Studies seminars took place in New York City on March 27-28, 2015. The seminar, held at the historic Riverside Church in Manhattan's Morningside Heights neighborhood, brought together a diverse group of scholars and practitioners to examine the relationship between memory and peace studies.
Rethinking Peace Studies III: Dialogue
The third and final Rethinking Peace Studies seminar will be held in Kandy, Sri Lanka from November 12-15, 2015. The seminar, which will be held on the lush University of Peradeniya campus, will bring together a diverse group of scholars and practitioners to examine the relationship between dialogue and peace studies.
RPS's organizing committee consists of the following members:
Jeremiah Alberg, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, ICU
Paul Hastings, Vice President, Japan ICU Foundation
Alexander Hinton, Professor of Anthropology and Global Affairs, Rutgers University
Giorgio Shani, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, ICU
The following people have participated in RPS Seminars:
Alexander Hinton, Rutgers University
Bahia Shehab, American University of Cairo
Beverly Curran, International Christian University
Carolyn Forché, Georgetown University
Danielle Goldberg, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
Giorgio Shani, International Christian University
Jeremiah Alberg, International Christian University
Jie-Hyun Lim, Hanyang University
John Biguenet, Loyola University
Kanchuka Dharmasiri, University of Peradeniya
Leigh Payne, Oxford University
Makiko Oku, Rutgers University
Marita Sturken, New York University
Masaki Ina, International Christian University
Natasha Zaretsky, Rutgers University
Nela Navarro, Rutgers University
Nitin Sawney, The New School
Paul Hastings, Japan ICU Foundation
Salah Hassan, Cornell University
Shin Chiba, International Christian University
Stephen Bronner, Rutgers University
Wilhelm Vosse, International Christian University
Yael Zerubavel, Rutgers University