Hardt-Nickachos Lectures in Peace Studies
The Hardt-Nickachos Lectures in Peace Studies features leading scholars and practitioners whose work highlights humanity’s imagination of peace and efforts to construct peace in diverse locations, historical periods, and in the contemporary moment.
Telling the Story of the Other
A Conversation with Alice Albinia and Anand Gopal
How can telling the stories of human and non-human others change the way we know and see ourselves? How can we imagine ways to live peacefully with some form of trust and harmony that doesn’t undermine state borders, but does help us overcome state enabled hatred and the accompanying violence? From the effects of climate change on rivers and their communities, to the destructive impacts of ethnic and religious nationalisms, there is an urgent need to think about how communities react to and receive both human and non-human others.
Join us for a discussion of these and other questions with author Alice Albinia and journalist and research professor Anand Gopal.
About the speakers:
- Alice Albinia is an award-winning author of conjoined works of fiction and nonfiction. Her first book, Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River, describes a riverine journey through time and place: from Karachi on the shores of the Arabian Sea, north through Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, to the slopes of Mount Kailash in Tibet. The book won six awards, including a Somerset Maugham award and a Dolman prize. Her first novel, Leela’s Book, is a retelling, set in modern Delhi, of how the Mahabharata, India’s ancient Sanskrit epic, came to be written down on that same Tibetan mountain. It was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club best first novel award and long-listed for the DSC prize for South Asian Literature.|
Albinia is now writing about Britain through the prism of its islands. The Britannias, which begins in Orkney and ends in Westminster, was given a K. Blundell Trust award from the Society of Authors and will be published by Penguin. Alice has been teaching writing since 2012, when she became writer in residence at three London secondary schools with the charity First Story. Thereafter she taught creative writing to adults in Orkney, where she lived for a year on the island of Hoy, whilst also working as a firefighter and school cook. Before her first books were published, she spent two years as an editor and journalist in Delhi, where she was completely re-educated in the process by Indian politics, literature and culture. She has lectured widely at universities across the world, and contributed articles and reviews to, among others, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, New Statesman.
- Anand Gopal is an award-winning journalist and assistant research professor with the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and the Center on the Future of War at Arizona State University. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University, and specializes in ethnographically based data journalism. Gopal has reported extensively on Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, writing for Harpers, the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science monitor, and other publications, while also producing scholarship based on his fieldwork and complex network analysis. Gopal’s book, No Good Men Among the Living, won the Ridenhour Book Prize, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. His recent, pathbreaking piece, “Syria’s Last Bastion of Freedom,” introduces the world to Syria’s revolutionary councils operating outside of regime-held territories. Gopal deftly uncovers the voices of everyday Syrians pursuing of democratic self-rule, offering insight that, until now, had been overlooked beneath the rubble of civil war. Gopal’s piece for the New York Times Magazine, “The Uncounted” (co-written with Azmat Khan), won the National Magazine Award, Ed Cunningham Award for Best Magazine Reporting, and the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism. His article for The Atlantic, “The Hell After ISIS,” was recognized with a George Polk award.
Islam, the West, and the Quest for Understanding
It is often assumed, by both sides of the divide, that the West and Islam rest on radically different cultural foundations and that the two are destined to be at odds forever. But what happens if we are willing to accept that our rock-solid identities and beliefs are not acts of nature, but the residual artifacts of poorly understood events over time?
Anouar Majid (University of New England) explores this question by looking at early relations between Islam and Christian Europe, encouraging a rigorous rethinking of Muslim and Western identities and a critical approach to our own cultural assumptions.
Anouar Majid is professor of English at the University of New England. He is also the Vice President for Global Affairs, the founding director of the Center for Global Humanities (Maine, USA) and the Tangier Global Forum (Morocco), and the founding chair of the Department of English, which he headed from 2000 to 2009.
He conceived and established UNE's campus in Tangier and is the managing director of UNE's operations in Morocco. Majid has published widely on relations between Islam and the West. He is the author of Islam and America: Building a Future Without Prejudice (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012; paperback edition, with new preface, 2015); We Are All Moors: Ending Centuries of Crusades Against Muslims and Other Minorities (University of Minnesota Press, 2009); A Call for Heresy: Why Dissent is Vital to Islam and America (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), Freedom and Orthodoxy: Islam and Difference in the Post-Andalusian Age (Stanford University Press, 2004), Unveiling Traditions: Postcolonial Islam in a Polycentric World (Duke University Press, 2000), and the novel Si Yussef (Quartet, 1992; Interlink, 2005). Majid published articles in Cultural Critique, Signs, Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington Post, and other publications. His life and work were featured on Al Jazeera television and the Bill Moyers Journal. He was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the print magazine Tingis, a Moroccan-American magazine of ideas and culture, which he edits online at Tingismagazine.com.
Surviving Genocide: The Women of Srebrenica Speak
Caught in the violence of war in the mid 1990s, Bosnian Muslims became the victims of a brutal and bloodthirsty purge at the hands of Serbian forces. Murder, rape, plundering, and forced relocation on a massive scale ravaged the region, and the small town of Srebrenica became the site of the first genocide in Europe since World War II.
Years later, despite a signed peace agreement, the war continues in the minds of the survivors. The aftermath of the conflict shows us how “war” and “peace” are not mutually exclusive phenomena in history, but are intimately related. The Srebrenica women who remain are overwhelmed with grief, mourning more than the dead, as their connections to the wider world and their own communities have been severed.
In her talk, Selma Leydesdorff, professor of oral history and culture at the University of Amsterdam, will give voice to the women of Srebrenica. Why is it important that their stories are told, believed, and recognized? Trauma has broken social bonds and human connections, and shattered a sense of self, and the denial and distortion of the survivors’ voices is partly the result of their stories not being recognized. Leydesdorff will explore how using oral history to tell these stories does more than just trace the historical narrative of one individual or incident; it also shows us how we interpret past experiences and tells us about our expectations for our lives in the future.
Selma Leydesdorff is professor of oral history and culture at the University of Amsterdam. Her research has contributed to the transformation of oral history from mostly a fact-finding method-adding to criticizing traditional historical narratives to research on the ways memory is framed and modified over time. Influenced by an interest in women's history, Leydesdorff moved from gender studies to her present position. She promoted oral history by extensive teaching and with the help of the National Research School of Cultural History she formalized the national network in oral history.
Leydesdorff is author of Surviving Genocide: The Women of Srebrenica Speak and has worked as an editor since 2001, making her co-responsible for the publication of many volumes, and more are in preparation. Her research interests include themes totalitarianism, subjectivity, trauma, the transmission of stories.
Global Citizenship in an Age of Anger
How can we explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world—from American ‘shooters’ and ISIS to Trump, from a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world to racism and misogyny on social media?
Join us as Pankaj Mishra addresses public bewilderment by casting a gaze back to the eighteenth century before leading us to the present, speaking to the historical root of the world’s major nationalisms. In a time of heightened, hardened nationalisms, it becomes imparitive to retrieve some inclusive visions, emphasizing the common humanity that transcends local affiliations and identities. But is this recovery possible in the present global economic regime, one that benefits a transnational elite and provokes many of the left-behind into hardline nationalism? Mishra will explore some of the tensions that went into the making of Asian nationalisms, offering his perspective on how to rescue cosmopolitanism from the transnational.
Pankaj Mishra is a novelist, essayist, literary critic, lecturer, and reporter who travels the world writing on a wide range of topics, including globalization, the Dalai Lama, Bollywood, and the “Talibanization” of South Asia. He regularly contributes to the New York Review of Books, the New York Times, the Guardian, and the New Statesman, and has written for too many international magazines and newspapers to list. In his latest book, The Age of Anger: A History of the Present (2017), Mishra casts his gaze back to the eighteenth century before leading us to the present to explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world: from American shooters and ISIS to Donald Trump, to a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world, to racism and misogyny on social media. Mishra was born in North India and completed his MA in English Literature at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
His first book was Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Travels in Small Town India(1995), a travelogue which described the social and cultural changes in India in the new context of globalization. His novel The Romantics (2000) an ironic tale of people longing for fulfillment in cultures other than their own, won the Los Angles Times’ Art Seidenbaum award for first fiction. His book An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World (2004), mixes memoir, history, and philosophy while attempting to explore the Buddha’s relevance to contemporary times. Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond, describes Mishra’s travels through Kashmir, Bollywood, Afghanistan, Tibet, Nepal, and other parts of South and Central Asia. Like his previous books, it was featured in the New York Times‘ 100 Best Books of the Year. Published in 2012, From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber prize in Canada, the Orwell Prize in the U.K, and the Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award in the United States. It won the Crossword Award for Best Nonfiction in 2013. In 2014, it became the first book by a non-Western writer to win Germany’s prestigious Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding. In 2013, he published A Great Clamour: Encounters with China and its Neighbours. Mishra was a visiting professor at Wellesley College in 2001, 2004, and 2006. In 2004-2005 he received a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars, New York Public Library. For 2007-08, he was the Visiting Fellow at the Department of English, University College, London. In 2009, he was nominated a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 2014, he received Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Literature Prize.