People's Peace: Prospects for a Human Future

People's Peace: Prospects for a Human Future

Edited by Yasmin Saikia and Chad Haines
(Syracuse University Press)

People's Peace lays a solid foundation for the argument that global peace is possible because ordinary people are its architects. Saikia and Haines offer a unique and imaginative perspective on people's daily lives across the world as they struggle to create peace despite escalating political violence. The volume's focus on local and ordinary efforts highlights peace as a lived experience that goes beyond national and international peace efforts. In addition, the contributors emphasis on the role of religion as a catalyst for peace moves away from the usual depiction of religion as a source of divisiveness and conflict.

Spanning a range of humanities disciplines, the essays in this volume provide case studies of individuals defying authority or overcoming cultural stigmas to create peaceful relations in their communities. From investigating how ancient Jews established communal justice to exploring how black and white citizens in Ferguson, Missouri, are working to achieve racial harmony, the contributors find that people are acting independently of governments and institutions to identify everyday methods of coexisting with others. In putting these various approaches in dialogue with each other, this volume produces a theoretical intervention that shifts the study of peace away from national and international organizations and institutions toward locating successful peaceful efforts in the everyday lives of individuals.

Order online

Women and Peace in the Islamic World Gender, Agency and Influence

Women and Peace in the Islamic World Gender, Agency and Influence

Edited by Yasmin Saikia and Chad Haines
(London: I.B. Tauris, 2015)

How realistic is the prospect of peace in the Muslim world? This question is the predominant focus for global analysis today, but its debate frequently ignores the cultural and social complexity of the Muslim world, reducing it into a system of states and select actors. This book addresses such a failing by exploring how the everyday interactions of women, in accordance with Islamic personal ethics, can offer the world a new interpretation of peace. In particular, it focuses on the women in Islamic societies, from Aceh to Bosnia, Morocco to Bangladesh, initiating a dialogue on the role of these women in peacemaking. This concentration upon the complex issues of the everyday both enables a detailed exploration of how people conceptualise peace and opens up new frameworks for conflict resolution. The discussions that emerge lead to a critical questioning of assumptions about peace as a state policy and cessation of violence. Drawing upon original research from different parts of the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, including Iran, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Egypt and Sudan, the contributors offer a refreshing new look at Muslim women as peacemakers, challenging any assumptions of Islam as an inherently violent religion. Such a timely work provides new and important analyses on the role of Muslim women in forging new pathways of peace in the contemporary world.

Order online

Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971

Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971

Yasmin Saikia
(Duke University Press, Durham, 2011)

Fought between India and what was then East and West Pakistan, the war of 1971 led to the creation of Bangladesh, where it is remembered as the War of Liberation. For India, the war represents a triumphant settling of scores with Pakistan. If the war is acknowledged in Pakistan, it is cast as an act of betrayal by the Bengalis. None of these nationalist histories convey the human cost of the war. Pakistani and Indian soldiers and Bengali militiamen raped and tortured women on a mass scale. In Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh, survivors tell their stories, revealing the power of speaking that deemed unspeakable. They talk of victimization—of rape, loss of status and citizenship, and the “war babies” born after 1971. The women also speak as agents of change, as social workers, caregivers, and wartime fighters. In the conclusion, men who terrorized women during the war recollect their wartime brutality and their postwar efforts to achieve a sense of humanity. Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh sheds new light on the relationship among nation, history, and gender in postcolonial South Asia.

Order online

Northeast India: A Place of Relations

Northeast India: A Place of Relations

Edited by Yasmin Saikia and Amit R. Baishya
(Cambridge University Press)

Northeast India: A Place of Relations focuses on encounters and experiences between people and cultures, the human and the non-human world, allowing for building of new relationships of friendship and amity in the region. The twelve essays in this volume explore the possibility of a new search enabling a 'discovery' of the lived and the loved world of Northeast India from within. The volume employs a variety of perspectives and methodological approaches - literary, historical, anthropological, interpretative politics, and an analytical study of contemporary issues, engaging the people, cultures, and histories in the Northeast with a new outlook. In the study, the region emerges as a place of new happenings in which there is the possibility of continuous expansion of the horizon of history and issues of current relevance facilitating new voices and narratives that circulate and create bonding in the borderland of South, East, and Southeast Asia.

Order online