2016 is an anniversary year that serves as a useful marker for academics and activists to contemplate where we stand in our understanding of peace and how to achieve it. June 2016 is the bicentenary of the establishment of the (London) Peace Society. Alongside the formation of the New York Peace Society, its appearance is widely seen as representing the beginning of the modern peace movement. Similarly it marks the start of a year of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the visit of Martin Luther King Jr to Newcastle in 1967 to accept an honorary doctorate. His impromptu address, which fused together the issues of poverty, war and racism, inspired the research expertise in the city’s two universities, and national work of the Martin Luther King Peace Committee to honour King’s legacy by ‘building cultures of peace’.
The conference will mark these anniversaries by asking big questions about the direction and vitality of the peace movement over 200 years, and the place of King’s philosophy of nonviolence within it. It will be a forum for scholars and activists to critically reflect on our activities and explore how to build future synergies. Between the bicentenary of the Peace Society, the centenary of Britain's enactment of conscription during World War One, and the run-up to the 50th anniversary of MLK’s visit, there is ample opportunity to reflect on this history and stage a robust discussion on radical shifts in the peace movement a hundred years ago, including issues such as conscientious objection and the increased importance of feminist/women’s activist roles, the geographical and historical coordinates and influence of the civil rights movement, King’s distinctive nonviolence in global peace movements, and more.
Four keynote speakers have confirmed their participation in the event:
- Martin Ceadel (Oxford)
- David Cortright (Notre Dame)
- Kate Hudson (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament)
- Thomas F. Jackson (North Carolina)
We now invite proposals for papers that may deal with the following (or related) theme:
- the Peace Society in retrospect
- Martin Luther King Jr.’s concepts and practices of nonviolence – local settings and global networks
- locating the U.S. civil rights movement in historical and global peace and/or other activist movements
- exploring the relationship between violence, nonviolence and armed self-defence: from Gandhi and King to ‘colour revolutions’ and the ‘Arab Spring’
- histories of peace movements
- resisting war through conscientious objection, mutinies, desertions and ‘live and let live systems’
- women’s activism and feminist pacifism
- transnational peace activism
- theology and religion in peace and nonviolence
- peace ideas, analysis and practice
- local histories of peace activism and war opposition (in Tyneside and elsewhere).
Please submit abstracts of 200 words plus biographical line to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11 December 2015. We welcome submissions of proposals for complete paper sessions. Please provide panel title and name of convenor, as well as abstracts and biographical lines for each panel member.
One plenary session will be a roundtable for peace activists, educators and scholars to discuss the state of the peace movement 200 years on and the role of academics and activists within it.
A limited number of travel bursaries are available for postgraduate students and peace activists/educators. If you would like to request one, please indicate this to the organisers.