Lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, August 7, 1930, Marion, Indiana “’Make America great again . . .’ there [is] a blind spot in this idea of the America that once was great or this place deep in the historical past where America was great. [. . .] . . . we only feed into the erasure of the actual history of America and the actual history of my ancestors by deciding that we would rather not see their images.” Barry Jenkins On Friday, May 14 Barry Jenkins’ 10-part adaption of The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, began streaming on Amazon Prime. The series, four years in the making, debuts at a pivotal moment in our shared history: just shy of one month after Derek Chauvin’s conviction in the murder of George Floyd, ten days shy of the one-year anniversary of that murder and just two weeks shy of the centennial of the Greenwood Massacre. If the arc of the moral universe does indeed bend towards justice, this ground breaking visual narrative of our nation’s racial legacy may be understood as yet another point on that trajectory. Like Whitehead’s original novel, Barry Jenkins’ series offers another contribution, in powerful visual language, to contemporary neo-slave narrative. Neo-slave narrative challenges the past in the light of the present while simultaneously challenging our vision of the present by remembering the past; in so doing these narratives reconstruct United States history from the bottom up and through a Black gaze. His visual neo-slave narrative, also like Whitehead’s novel, intersects with speculative fiction – specifically the New Weird -- and irrealism. Of the two narrative genres I’ve just named “speculative fiction”...Read more
The Steering Committee shall choose one of its members to serve as the Convener of the Steering Committee. The Convener shall serve a term of one year; the term may be renewed.
A. Distribution ofMembers The Steering Committee shall be a diverse groupof energetic people committed to understanding and promoting alternatives to violence. At least four members of the committee shall be currentfull-time students or full-time employees of Ashland University. At least four members of the committee shall not be currentfull-time students or full-time employees of Ashland University. No other requirementsof age, gender, status, or professionexist. B. Terms Members of the Steering Committee shall serve for threeyears; terms may be renewed.Members who have servedtwo consecutive terms shall wait at least one year before being elected to another term. If a memberleaves the committee before the member’sterm has expired, the committee shall name a replacement to serve out the remainderof the term. (This...Read more
I left the United States for Kenya in the wake of the violence of January 6th. On January 8thI was on my way to the International Peace Research Association’s (IPRA) conference in Nairobi. The journey from driveway to hotel was about 33 hours, and it was a strange experience at every level—transitioning from functional self-isolation to international travel is quite surreal. My trip almost hit a roadblock. With cases of COVID-19 spiking, getting a PCR test within 72 hours of arrival into Amsterdam (where I’d have a layover) was difficult. I found a single location in the whole state of Ohio that said they “might” be able to get my results in time for a trip. It was a whirlwind. I was the only attendee who was able to make the trip from the US. The other North American representative made the trip from Mexico; however, there were several hundred people who were able to attend and present virtually—appropriate (I think) for a conference discussing the role of technology in peace. It was a reminder that there is not always consensus on approaches and strategies within the peace research community. While I took extensive measures to make sure I did not spread the virus in any direction I traveled, there were a number of people who condemned and/or challenged the ethics of such a conference and/or my participation. When I arrived, I shared with colleagues from Kenya and other African states who were frustrated that former settlers are still trying to make decisions “for us” instead of “letting us make decisions for ourselves.” There is a long history of violence in Kenya, and the West has been complicit in much of it. Like America, Kenya also has markers of its violent story. The measures taken to...Read more
The events of 6 January 2021, when a Trump-rally fueled, offshoot mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and Congressional chambers, will be analyzed for some time to come. Not since the War of 1812, when the Capitol was attacked and burned by British troops, has this architectural and emplaced symbol of democracy been so desecrated. From the perspective of nonviolent theory and practice, the wake of the largely peaceful, nonviolent Black Lives Matter protests nationwide and in Washington, D.C. across the summer of 2020 and beyond affords us a comparative lens with which to understand and to process what has unfolded. What does this mean for our democracy? To our allies’ democracies? What does this event mean for aspiring and newly budding democracies worldwide? It is illuminating to consider nonviolent theorist Johan Galtung’s highlighting of three central kinds of violence: (1) direct or physical interpersonal violence, (2) institutional and systemic violence, and (3) cultural violence. We witnessed direct violence in the mob’s physical attack on the place, persons like Congressional police and staffers. We witnessed institutional and systemic violence in the Trump Administration’s use of its power to hold a counter-rally on the day of the Electoral College’s vote formalization: in short, we saw institutional and systemic forms of violence that used power to plan a timed rally that would funnel angry, upset Trump supporters and violent hate group supporters to intimidate and disrupt the democratic process of the U.S. Congress’s final tally and codification of the Electoral College vote, which was to confirm Joe Biden as U.S. President-Elect who will be inaugurated in a few short weeks. Other institutional and systemic modes of violence include Twitter’s and Facebook’s and other social media outlets purveying misinformation and outright propaganda to gullible, non-college educated Trump supporters: tech companies’ profit...Read more