Call for Proposals
Peace & Protest, Past & Present
Peace History Society Conference
October 26-28, 2023
Gwynedd Mercy University
Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania
The PEACE HISTORY SOCIETY invites proposals for its biennial international conference hosted by Gwynedd Mercy University in a hybrid format blending on-site and virtual presentations, exhibitions, and events from October 26 through October 28, 2023. The conference theme recognizes peace as an active process often expressed through dissent and protest rather than a passive condition signifying an absence of physical violence. It refers equally to nonviolent protest across a range of justice movements and to direct actions in support of peace and justice. Panels and papers that address this theme through various formats (traditional, roundtables, posters, lightning rounds, teaching workshops, etc.) may examine topics set in previous eras or bring the past into the present by exploring ways that current movements have drawn upon earlier examples of protest for inspiration, symbolism, or methods.
Opportunities to consider the history of peaceful protest and protest for peace are especially rich during the conference year, as 2023 marks: the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that culminated in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, call to nonviolent action for justice in his “I Have a Dream” speech; the 50th anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords that brought an end to U.S. military operations in Vietnam after several years of organization, mobilization, and protest across American society; and the 20th anniversary of the mass protest marches held around the world in response to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Topics might include but are not limited to those historic examples mentioned above as well as:
- peace camps, marches, sit-ins, occupations, etc.: e.g., Greenham Common, Seneca Women’s Peace Encampment, Gandhi’s Salt March, Occupy Wall Street
- conscientious objection, draft evasion, tax resistance: e.g., religious-based objections of Buddhists, Quakers, and others, the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
- peace ballots and resolutions: e.g., British Peace Ballot (1934−35), the Nuclear Freeze Campaign (1980s)
- practices and technologies of communications in organizing and mobilizing protest: e.g., social media platforms in the Arab Spring and Black Lives Matter movements
- hunger strikes, fasting, and acts of self-immolation: e.g., Marion Wallace Dunlop (1909), Thích Quảng Đức (1963), Alice Herz (1965)
- symbols, songs, visual art, and other cultural expressions of peace protest: e.g., CND symbol, Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” (1963), Käthe Kollwitz’s Nie wieder Krieg (1924)
- commemorative sites, observances, and ritual practices: e.g., peace museums (Bradford, Dayton, Tehran, etc.), International Day of Peace
- individual peace protesters: e.g., Bertrand Russell, Dorothy Day, James Lawson
Paper proposals about peace history not directly related to the conference theme will also be considered. Selected conference papers will be considered for publication in a special issue of the journal Peace & Change to be co-edited by the program co-chairs. Applicants should send proposals for individual papers or a panel (limit of 250 words per paper) and a one-page CV for each participant to email@example.com by March 1, 2023. Proposals should indicate whether applicants intend to participate remotely and the reasons for doing so. Each applicant whose proposal is accepted will be expected to contribute further to the conference experience by chairing a session, commenting on papers, or some other service.
Gwynedd Mercy University is located in the northeastern suburbs of Philadelphia, within easy reach of the city’s many historical and cultural attractions. The region also boasts a long history of peace advocacy, activism, and protests–from Quaker, Mennonite, Moravian, and other communities who settled in the area during the colonial era to the Vietnam War-era trial of the Camden 28, the 1980 Plowshares Eight action against nuclear weapons in King of Prussia, and opposition to the wars of 9/11. Scholars interested in combining their conference experience with research can travel 30 minutes from the GMercyU campus to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, the archives of the American Friends Service Committee, the Quaker & Special Collections of Haverford College.
Updates about the conference will be posted to https://www.peacehistorysociety.org/phs2023/.
Michael Clinton, Professor of History, Gwynedd Mercy University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Scott Bennett, Professor of History, Georgian Court University (email@example.com)
Wendy Chmielewski, George R. Cooley Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (Emerita) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Shelley Rose, Associate Professor of History, Cleveland State University (email@example.com)
Michael Clinton, Gwynedd Mercy University