THE WISCONSIN INSTITUTE FOR PEACE AND CONFLICT STUDIES

SPEAKERS PROGRAM

The Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies maintains a list of speakers from its membership who are willing to speak on other campuses. Speakers will waive an honorarium for member schools, and WIPCS will reimburse them for mileage. The host normally provides funding for meals or an overnight stay, if necessary. Contact the Wisconsin Institute at wiinst@uwsp.edu to make arrangements and for more details on speakers and their topics. Please keep in mind that the speakers are subject to availability, and the earlier in the year you request a speaker, the more likely you are to secure a mutually agreeable date and time.

A partial list of potential speakers and topics is below, though we have a wide range of expertise and are willing to assist you with specific topics.

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The Struggle for Democracy in Iran: What are the Prospects?
Islam and Democracy: Is Islam Incompatible with Democracy?
The United States and the Middle East
The Current State of the Arab-Israeli Conflict


Ali R. Abootalebi is Professor of Middle Eastern and Global Politics in the Department of Political Science, UWEC. He is the author of Islam and Democracy: State-Society Relations in Developing Countries, 1980-1994 (Garland, 2000), and, co-authored with Stephen Hill, Introduction to World Politics: Prospects and Challenges for the United States (Kendall Hunt, 2013) and more than forty articles on Iran, Arab Politics, Civil Society and Democracy and U.S. foreign policy. He also serves as a research committee member for Center for Global Nonkilling.

Ali Abootalebi
Professor of Middle Eastern and Global Politics,UW–Eau Claire

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Speaking the Unspeakable: Deciphering the Past through Unwritten Sources
How can we use unwritten sources such as war memorials, visual arts, and story cloths to learn about the past? How can such sources be especially powerful in witnessing to horrific wartime events? What are the intended and unintended messages such sources reveal and how can they help or hinder us from making sense of our past, our present, and ourselves?e

Creating the ‘Good War’: the Language and Memory of War in the U.S.
This presentation explores the ways World War II became “the Good War” just at the time that Vietnam was emerging as our great “national mistake.” In what ways are the differing characterizations of these two wars dependent on each other? What are the political reasons to describe each in this way and what effect has that had on peace activism?

The Problem of Creating a Feminine War Hero
This slide lecture parallels popular perceptions of women arrested for espionage in France in World War I and U.S. female combatants in the current war in Iraq to examine the larger questions of women’s perceived and actual roles within war and why society has such a hard time with them.

Creating the Memory of World War I
This slide lecture examines the creation of several WW I monuments in northern France during the 1920s and 1930s as a lens through which to explore the conflicts and tensions of the region over who “owned” the memory of the war.

DEBORAH BUFFTON, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

“My interest in the effects of war on society dates back to the early 1980s and hearing about the fighting going on in the Middle East and Central America. My teaching reflects that interest in a freshman World History survey that is taught through the lens of peace and war, as well as an upper-level course on Peace and War in History. My current research concerns the creation of peace memorials as well as the uses of nonviolence to successfully resist oppression.”

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Characteristic Negro Melodies: The rise of American black minstrelsy 1875 – 1925
The technological advances of the industrial age eased life for many poor Americans during the late 19th century. However, they also provided for the ongoing institutionalization of prejudices through more rapid transportation and new mass media. Traveling vaudeville performers found rich comic fodder in ridiculing black Americans, entertaining white audiences with affected dialect and absurd blackface makeup. Recordings of such routines exist on Edison cylinder records and early 78s, making a sobering context for turn-of-the-century humor.

Opium in China – From the Silk Road to Tiananmen Square
The opium poppy reached China in ancient times, and was used medicinally for centuries. Consumed as a soup or herbal tea, opium sap effectively relieved the pains of hard labor and disease. It was China’s cultural fascination with ritual practice and foreign trade goods that led to mainstream adaptation of opium as a drug of recreation. Both before and after renewed European contact, opium’s role as a commodity, spiritual aid, diplomatic tool, and medicine was a key element of China’s social and economic life. The impact of this plant on Asian history was tremendous and its lessons continue to inform Chinese leaders in their domestic and international affairs.

Dan Choffnes, Associate Professor of Biology and Asian Studies, DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY, CARTHAGE COLLEGE

Dan Choffnes studies the relationship between plants, people, and traditional medical systems. He has conducted fieldwork in South America and Asia, with a particular focus on Chinese medicine and medicinal plants. In addition to teaching in ethnobotany, he teaches and conducts research with students in molecular genetics and developmental biology.

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Liturgy and Lament
The role of liturgy to help people deal with the tragedies that happen in the world. This talk comes from a Roman Catholic liturgical perspective and asks, if the liturgy is the place where the community gathers to enact the church, surely it is also the place in which to share our communal suffering.


Theologians of Privilege, Preferential Option for the Poor, and Franciscan Value of Minority: Reflection on Praxis
The talk comes from a paper on how to apply the Franciscan Value of minority to the social teaching on the preferential option for the poor. Some theologians chafe at the word “preferential” as it goes against some egalitarian assumptions. However, I contend that the Franciscan value of Minority is a way to approach preferential option for the poor by purposefully making ourselves less so that those on the margins may have more.

Michelle Gilgannon, Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, Chair, Division of Humanities, Cardinal Stritch University

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The High Value of Peace Education
Re-envisioning a future void of the underlying causes of violence – a future that moves us towards a positive peace – is not why most students attend college. However, if we can’t focus on that future, we remain in a reactive mode, concerned with symptoms. And then we’re missing an opportunity to use the classroom for something that has the potential to be transformative and liberating – to explore and address the root causes of violence. Peace educators help students question the dominant culture of militarism and violence. They look at education as something more than a means of equipping students with skills to enter the workforce. Those skills are no doubt important. But education institutions should also educate students to identify and challenge the injustices that contradict and undercut the most fundamental principles of peace, equality, and democracy. As long as education doesn’t do these things, it has little meaning.


Introduction to Kingian Nonviolence
Martin Luther King Jr. made a tremendous contribution to the application of nonviolence on a broad scale in the United States and around the globe. Because his philosophy and methods we so effective in transforming long-held values and discriminatory social conditions, and because he based his response to oppression and violence on his strong conviction that violence was not a valid means in solving social problems, Dr. King stands as a great moral and strategic force. This talk will introduce Dr. King’s path to nonviolence, eclectic philosophy, his 6 Principles of Nonviolence, and an analysis of the 6 Steps of Nonviolent Social Change.

Jim Handley, Senior Lecturer, Social Scienace, UW–Stout

Jim Handley led the development of the Applied Peace Studies minor at UW–Stout in 2013. He teaches classes in Peace Studies, Food Justice, and Geography. He is a Certified Kingian Nonviolence Trainer and frequent speaker on Peace Education. He has served on the WIPCS Executive Council since 2008.

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What does Psychology have to do with War, Peace, and Conflict?
This lecture, appropriate for Introductory Psychology, Social Psychology, and other courses, examines the role of basic psychological mechanisms in the phenomenon of war and peace at different levels of human experience. Also suitable for other courses concerning war and peace that would like to add an element of psychology.

Using Family Culture to Demonstrate the Principles, Problems, and Potential of Intercultural Interaction
This hands-on exercise uses a culture everyone knows, that of their own family, to demonstrate a number of important principles about intercultural understanding. Interculturalism, or multiculturalism, is seen today as an important part of a college education. However, many students in Wisconsin have had little or no contact with others from recognizably different cultures, and may thus feel that they have little experience in multiculturalism. This may lead to discomfort when discussing such issues, or in the failure to understand the value of multicultural education. Dr. Hatcher’s exercise also points out how cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings and misperceptions, and can be used to demonstrate the value of learning from other cultures. The exercise, with introduction and discussion, can be done in 45 minutes, and is suitable for large or small groups.

Peace Studies and Psychology
This presentation is meant to take one class of an introductory psychology or other psychology class and show how basic concepts of psychology can be applied to issues of war and peace.

Joe W. Hatcher, Jr., Professor of Psychology, Ripon College

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The War in Afghanistan: Working for Nonviolent Solutions
Patrick Kennelly has been studying the efforts of the Afghan Peace Volunteers to explore nonviolent solutions to the war in their country. This talk examines the history of the conflict in Afghanistan, the methods of nonviolence, and the motivation of Afghan peacemakers.

Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement Lessons for Today
This talk is an introduction to Day and the Catholic Worker. It traces Day’s development from a young person in Chicago to the leader of a worldwide movement that shelters the homeless and works for peace. Focusing on Day’s upbringing and her development of a social conscience, and work to form communities that confront poverty, violence, racism, and oppression, this talk challenges the audience to examine the relevance of Day’s ideas today.

Iraqi Student Project: a Model for Peacemaking
The American invasion of Iraq decimated the country’s higher education system. The university structures were badly damaged and students were left without teachers, books, and computers. Universities became soft targets for violence and many students fled the country. As the years go by, many students remain as refugees in Syria and Jordan and are unable to avail themselves of higher education. The Iraqi Student Project seeks to make undergraduate education possible for qualified students whose education was interrupted and are unable to continue their education because of the violence in their country. The project hopes that by providing students with opportunities to complete their education in the United States, there will be a generation of young Iraqis who will possess the skills necessary to rebuild their country. In addition, the students’ presence on campuses in the United States will allow for the development of person-to-person relationships. It is the project’s hope that these experiences of getting to know the “enemy” will increase people’s commitment to say no to war and work to build peace in the world. Kennelly and an Iraqi university student will discuss the history, success, and shortcomings of the Iraqi Student Project as a model for peacemaking.

Patrick Kennelly, Director, Center for Peacemaking, Marquette University

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Critical Factors in the Development of a Social Justice Orientation

Catholic Social Teaching and Racism

Justice Education and Pedagogies that have high impact

Sean Lansing, Director, Mission Engagement, Cardinal Stritch University

Sean Lansing is the Director of Mission Engagement at Cardinal Stritch University. He has authored or contributed to numerous publications, most recently The Catholic Faith and Family Bible. Research interests include the critical factors that lead to a personal and professional commitment to social justice and the relationship between faith, justice, and culture.

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The Price of Tourism in Argentina: How much is too much?
Explores the environmental, political, and economic consequences of tourism in Puerto Iguazú, Argentina, through the lenses of human rights and environmental rights.

The Galápagos Islands: Fishing, Tourism, and Human Rights
Explores the environmental, political, and economic consequences of over-fishing and tourism on the ecosystem and people of the Galápagos Islands.

Dr. Strangelove May Be Dead, Yet the Bomb is Still With Us!
Since 1992, newspaper articles have claimed that Russian nuclear scientists and nuclear materials were going east and south to the highest bidder. This lecture will explore the truth and implications of these claims and whether the United States should be concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials to North Korea, Iran and other countries. (This talk can be customized to individual school needs.)

Cuba Today: Myth and Reality
This talk is based on current research and four visits to Cuba (January 2002, 2004 2014, 2015). Dr. Roberg can discuss the current political, economic, and social atmosphere of Cuba and its ramifications for both Cuba and the United States. He is heading back to Cuba in January 2016.

Jeffrey L. Roberg, Chair and Professor, Department of Political Science, Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin

Academic specialities: International Relations/Comparative Politics – with specific work in Latin America and the former Soviet Union/Russia and post-Soviet States. My current work examines the effects of tourism on different locations in Latin America related to human and environmental rights.

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Environmental Security: Issues and Politics
This lecture and Powerpoint presentation gives an overview of the different issues involved in Environmental Security. Environmental Security is the study of the link between human conflict and environmental degradation. This means both how the environment is affected by conflict as well as how the environment is part of the cause of conflicts within and between countries. A number of examples and images of these two aspects are given, followed by a discussion about what current policy is regarding Environmental Security and what individuals can do to try to lessen these security risks.

Wendy Scattergood, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science/Survey Center, St. Norbert College

Wendy Scattergood is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at St. Norbert College and associate with the Strategic Research Institute. At St. Norbert College, she conducts the biannual Wisconsin Survey, jointly sponsored by St. Norbert and Wisconsin Public Radio, as well as several other surveys. She teaches courses in American Politics, Political Economy, Policy Analysis, Public Administration, Environmental Policy, and International Law and Security. Her survey work has been cited in both state and national media and she has presented her research on environmental security at national conferences as well as in England and Greece. Her most recent publication is a book chapter on security and climate change.

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Tourism, Development, and Mbyá Guaraní Communities in Argentina: Continuing Cultural Conflicts Over Land
In Argentina, the Mbyá Guaraní ethnic people live in an area near the Cataratas del Iguazú that is being rapidly developed for tourist use. While tourism has brought needed income to some Mbyá communities, there have been concurrent changes in culture and physical and psychological health. This talk examines concerns about how governmental policy makers have developed tourism on Mbyá lands, and suggest goals that stakeholders should achieve in their plans for sustainable development. Finally, programs of sustainable tourism must include the indigenous participation at all levels of planning and implementation, a practice seldom followed in the case of the Mbyá.

In Argentina, the Mbyá Guaraní ethnic people live in an area near the Cataratas del Iguazú that is being rapidly developed for tourist use. While tourism has brought needed income to some Mbyá communities, there have been concurrent changes in culture and physical and psychological health. This talk examines concerns about how governmental policymakers have developed tourism on Mbyá lands, and suggest goals that stakeholders should achieve in their plans for sustainable development. Finally, programs of sustainable tourism must include the indigenous participation at all levels of planning and implementation, a practice seldom followed in the case of the Mbyá.

Penny Seymoure, Professor Emerita of Psychological Science, Carthage College

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The Theatre of Empowerment: Prison Theatre and Social Change
For over 15 years, Jonathan Shailor has been using theatre as a means to teach prison inmates about themselves, about others, and about conflict resolution. This remarkable work has been featured in The New York Times, on Wisconsin Public Radio, and elsewhere. In this talk, Jonathan will share stories of his experiences in directing and acting with inmates, and he will discuss how this “theatre of empowerment” has changed his perspective on the U.S. prison system. Jonathan is the author/editor of several publications on arts in corrections, including the book “Performing New Lives: Prison Theatre” (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2011). For more information, go to http://shakespeareprisonproject.blogspot.com/.

Jonathan Shailor, Founder and Director, Certificate Program in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and The Shakespeare Prison Project

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“Til All Need For Witness Cease,” Poems To Celebrate the Hundredth Anniversary of World War I,
A dramatic reading in three acts, these poems are a bitterly ironic critique of the World War I, and by implication, all wars. It would be a good discussion starter for history classes and peace studies courses.

Kent Shifferd, Professor Emeritus, Northland College, Author, From War to Peace: A Guide to the Next Hundred Years (2011) kentshifferd@gmail.com

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How to Create a Civil War and Destroy a World: What Shakespeare Has to Say About Today
We live in an age of ideologies, a time when contrasting world views compete for control of human thought and society—in our own country and throughout the world. That conflict tends to focus, often in a very nasty way, in matters of culture: entertainments and diversions; the status of women; attempts by one group to regulate the behavior and social and religious practices of another group; the tendency to demonize those with opposing views (“I’m right, you’re evil”). The age of ideologies actually began in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries—the age of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. His plays not only reflect the competition of those ideologies, they chart the process by which a conflicted society can spiral from disagreement to civil war and the death of a peaceful, coherent, society. Professor Stokes uses Shakespeare’s texts together with a wealth of contemporary historical documents to illustrate Shakespeare’s prophetic understanding of that disintegration, not only as it occurred in his own society, but as it is occurring in our own.

We live in an age of ideologies, a time when contrasting world views compete for control of human thought and society—in our own country and throughout the world. That conflict tends to focus, often in a very nasty way, in matters of culture: entertainments and diversions; the status of women; attempts by one group to regulate the behavior and social and religious practices of another group; the tendency to demonize those with opposing views (“I’m right, you’re evil”). The age of ideologies actually began in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries—the age of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. His plays not only reflect the competition of those ideologies, they chart the process by which a conflicted society can spiral from disagreement to civil war and the death of a peaceful, coherent, society. Professor Stokes uses Shakespeare’s texts together with a wealth of contemporary historical documents to illustrate Shakespeare’s prophetic understanding of that disintegration, not only as it occurred in his own society, but as it is occurring in our own.

Is a Common Conscience Possible in the Modern World?: Building a Framework of Principle as a First Step toward Global Peace
As a Baha’i, Professor Stokes has an abiding interest in the quest for world self-governance. Is the ancient yearning for peace a practical hope? Is it possible to define a process by which sustained peace may be achieved? The presentation argues that it is, and that such a process begins with the gradual development of “a common conscience,” via the building of a framework of principle as a first step.

James Stokes, Retired Professor of English, University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point jstokes@uwsp.edu

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Is Pink more Peaceful? Stereotypes, Social Realities, and Women on the Global Stage
Why is the debate about whether women are more peaceful still not solved? What do we find at the intersection of peace discourse and movements for gender equity? This interactive presentation reviews historic arguments about women and peace and brings those discussions up to present realities.

Peacebuilding is more than Peacemaking
An introduction to the concept of “Peacebuilding,” this talk outlines what is meant by this term and how it is used from the local to the global to link peacemaking, restorative justice, and community development.

Imaging a World Without Weapons
A workshop initially offered by Elise Boulding, now updated for current day events. Participants explore what a world without direct or structural violence would look like and how it might be proactively designed.

Lynne M. Woehrle, PhD Associate Professor, College of Nursing, UW-Milwaukee, Sustainable Peacebuilding Master’s Program

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