Faculty Members Present at Peace and Justice Conference

November 14, 2014

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Four University of Mount Union faculty members from three disciplines recently attended the Peace and Justice Studies Association annual conference at the University of San Diego.

Mount Union faculty members Niki Johnson, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies; interdisciplinary and liberal studies and coordinator of the Peacebuilding and Social Justice Studies program; Andrew Price, professor of English; Michelle-Collins Sibley, professor of English and chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary and Liberal Studies and Kevin Kern, assistant professor of theatre, hosted a roundtable panel discussion on “Humanities and Fine Arts at the Peace Studies Table.”

During the roundtable, each faculty member, along with faculty members from other institutions, presented on the role of peace studies in his or her field with Johnson serving as moderator.

“My favorite part of the conference was being able to reach out across department lines to work with Niki and Michelle and Andrew,” said Kern. “It makes us all stronger as faculty members to work together. The conferences help us reach students outside of our particular discipline.”

“It was really great to see all of us coming out of our specific disciplines to concentrate on the field of peace studies,” Johnson said. “It was really exciting to see my colleagues speaking about their own expertise and their unique contributions to this field.”

Johnson said the discussion was the start of a collaboration that will continue amongst those in attendance.

“We want to get the word out that the fine arts and humanities have a lot to offer the field of peace studies,” she said.

“I was happy about this chance to bring another colleague into the collaboration,” said Collins-Sibley. “The collaborative work began when Niki, Andrew and I traveled to Notre Dame together for the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies Summer Institute: ‘Teaching Peace in the 21st Century,’ back in 2012. We’ve done a lot since then and in every stage, the response from scholars and activists in the field has been very encouraging.”

In addition, Johnson presented work from her chapter contribution to a forthcoming book, “Teaching Peace Through Popular Culture,” at the conference. Johnson’s chapter, “Transcending Difference: The Power of Contemporary Films for Teaching Inter-Religious Dialogue and Peacebuilding,” discusses how film can be used to teach interreligious dialogue, which is central to teaching peace.

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