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Mount Union Faculty Collaborate on Peace Studies Book

September 17, 2021

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Six University of Mount Union professors recently contributed to a new book entitled, “Humanities Perspectives in Peace Education: Re-Engaging the Heart of Peace Studies.”

The book was collaboratively written by Dr. Nicole Johnson, professor of religious studies, Dr. Jamie Capuzza, professor of communication, Dr. Michelle Collins-Sibley, professor of English, Dr. Grant Cook, Margaret Morgan Ramsey Professor of Music and director of choral activities, Dr. Scott Gravlee, associate professor of philosophy and Dr. Teresa Davis, associate professor of history, along with four additional non-UMU faculty.

The book explores the content, methods and pedagogies within each professor’s respective discipline and how each discipline contributes to the study of peace and justice. The faculty involved in authoring the chapters in the book come from different departments across campus, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of Mount Union. Many of the faculty found that working with other colleagues across campus was a major highlight of the project.

“I believe that the book highlights the sort of interdisciplinary work that we do here at Mount,” Davis said. “As an historian, I have ‘guest lectured’ in gender studies and religious studies, and I have had a member of the music faculty guest lecture in my 19th Century US History course, but it was really a thrill to work so much more closely with folks from not only religion and music, but communication, philosophy and literature.” 


Johnson, who teaches in the College of Arts and Humanities, knew that her fellow Mount Union faculty were doing great things in their respective fields, so when looking for scholars to author the chapters, rather than searching externally, she looked right to her colleagues at Mount Union. 

“I approached fellow Mount Union faculty about authoring chapters that explored the role and contributions of their particular fields to the study of comprehensive peace education which is, by definition, highly interdisciplinary,” Johnson said. “I think that in delving into our humanities disciplines to mine them for insights into peace education, we were each able to re-connect to our disciplines in fresh ways, which in turn both enriches our teaching and renews our love for our respective fields of inquiry.” 

It is the hope of those involved in authoring the book that it will make others think more deeply about the collaborative nature of the humanities and how that combines with peace and justice in our world.

“[This] pathbreaking book aims to assist students and faculty alike to build a humanity that is beautiful enough and bold enough to help stem the tide of our terrible global crisis, and I am privileged and humbled to have contributed to it in a small way,” said Cook. “I believe that [the] book truly exemplifies the words of the distinguished American author Wendell Berry, who wrote: ‘Underlying the idea of the university—the bringing together, the combining into one of all the disciplines—is the idea that good work and good citizenship are the inevitable by-products of the making of a good—that is, a fully developed—human being.’ What could be more important than a book that seeks to build one’s humanity?” 

Each chapter of the book looks at various humanities fields, including history, language and culture studies, literature, music, philosophy, religion and rhetoric, highlighting the collaborative nature of those working on it.

“I was excited to be able to contribute to the book, and to be part of this interdisciplinary team of colleagues,” said Gravlee. “Interacting with other academic fields has always been a part of doing philosophy, and that sort of interaction enriches everyone. At Mount Union, the smaller and more personal atmosphere encourages more interdisciplinary interactions among faculty — and the excitement of doing that sort of work finds its way back into the classroom.” 

The book is now available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google Books.