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Products for grant AQ-51123-14

NEH Enduring Questions Course on Concepts of Peace in Western and Eastern Cultures
Renee Bricker, North Georgia College and State University

Grant details:

Enduring Questions of Peace: an Undergraduate Course (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Enduring Questions of Peace: an Undergraduate Course
Author: Renee A. Bricker, Ph.D.
Abstract: This presentation is about developing and teaching an interdisciplinary course with support from an NEH Enduring Questions award for a project that asks, ‘What is peace? The course under development examines notions of peace in eastern and western contexts from ancient to modern periods with the ambition to push back against stereotyped images of ‘peaceniks.’ Nuances of its meanings conjoin with notions of justice, violence, human dignity, social and political order, tolerance, or their lack. Because our institution, the University of North Georgia, is one of six senior military colleges, though with a majority civilian student body, answers to the question of peace have pressing, practical, and current implications for economics, social justice, and global conflict.
Date: 10/10/14
Conference Name: “Peace and Human Rights in World History,” 26th Annual Southeastern World History Association (SEWHA) Conference,

Peace Pedagogy from the Borderlines (Book Section)
Title: Peace Pedagogy from the Borderlines
Author: Renee Bricker, Yi Deng, Donna A. Gessell, and Michael Proulx
Editor: Andrew Fiala
Abstract: A Peace Pedagogy from the Borderlines What is peace? It may seem that the answer is self-evident, only its path to realization tangled, obscure, and impossible to sustain. That is certainly the assumption of our students. Yet, the question of “what is peace” is an enduring one, without a single answer. Therefore, the underlying assumption of the course we have developed is that concepts of peace are mutable: changing with time, as well as with cultural, religious, and geopolitical perspectives. Our challenge is to resist the urge to arrive at a final definition, or even to develop a map for constructing peace in a modern conflict. Rather, we and our students repeatedly ask ourselves what is peace as we try to unpack its variegated meanings. Our task together is critical, made acute because this will be the only course about peace our students will ever encounter during their tenure at our university. Our goal, at once modest and ambitious, is to instigate thought about peace; to provoke discussion, and exploration; to render peace worthy of seriousness, challenging the old-fashioned stereotypes many of our students may share that peace is a mere relic of a bygone Vietnam “hippie” era or an unobtainable fantasy. Instead, and together with them, we scrutinize many of the linguistic and historical conditions of peace amid the lacunae of the broader strokes rendered by wars that comprise so much of recorded history (Boulding 2000: 16). Like war, peace happened, too. This startles many students. Often history or political science courses ignore, or fail to make explicit, the reality that many accomplishments in history require freedom from direct violence. Because peace, unlike war, lacks a narrative arc, it often seems more difficult to grasp. Peace can seem ambiguous or even irrelevant, for example, often muted in survey history courses.
Year: 2018
Primary URL:
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: THIS IS THE URL TO THE EBOOK
Publisher: Routledge
Book Title: The Routledge Handbook of Pacifism and Nonviolence
ISBN: 9781138194663

Teaching Peace-as-Concept from Global Historical Perspective: Challenging National Identity from the Outside In (Article)
Title: Teaching Peace-as-Concept from Global Historical Perspective: Challenging National Identity from the Outside In
Author: Renee Bricker and Michael Proulx
Abstract: Abstract: The Pledge of Allegiance teaches every schoolchild the shared American national self is defined by “the land of the free, home of the brave, one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.” Consonant with those ideals, Seymour Martin Lipset identifies five characteristics of Americanness: religiosity, optimism, patriotism, individualism, civic rights. Mindful of these, our NEH funded course explores peace-as-concept in Western and Eastern traditions using an approach that resonates with current scholarship on peace pedagogy calling for ‘critical education’ and decentering Western paradigms. Thus, students are challenged with the complexities of understanding themselves as Americans living in a global community seeking peace. Using seminar methods, students read, discuss, and interrogate sources. A final activity requires them to show synthesis through creation and presentation of a meme. This essay presents examples that oscillate between western and eastern historical expressions of peace that challenge notions of American national identity. WORD COUNT: 149 [abstract only
Year: 2019
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: This is the main URL for JAH issues. Bricker and Proulx's article is forthcoming in 2019.
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of American History
Publisher: Organization of American Historians

“Exploring Visions of Peace: A Round Table” (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: “Exploring Visions of Peace: A Round Table”
Abstract: This was a panel presentation of the course we developed that showcased student work and assessment techniques.
Author: Renee Bricker
Author: Donna Gessell
Author: Yi Deng
Author: Michael Proulx
Date: 04/02/2016
Location: Chattanooga, TN

Peace at the nexus of culture and place (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Peace at the nexus of culture and place
Abstract: How is peace understand and experienced? Using the nexus of community and culture as a lens to explore what peace means, this interdisciplinary panel presents three papers to examine cultural meanings of virtue, race, and conflict in order to understand the attainment of peace or its limitations. Literary scholar Donna Gessell claims that Flannery O’Connor’s short story “The Artificial Nigger” should be included in the category of “overlooked or under-appreciated visions of peace.” O’Connor contests notions of peace and violence through her characters’ confrontation of culture and place in the short story, published in 1955. Philosopher Yi Deng explores how the illustrious virtue in the Great Learning is an approach to peace. Instead she argues that reinterpreting illustrative virtues in The Great Learning, ignored in the wave of reviving Confucian political philosophy, will advance the development of Confucian political virtues in more global contexts. Historian Michael Proulx explores the idea of community in strife and the modeling of virtuous behavior that emerges from it in Ancient Greece and India. He makes the point that, while intense conflict plague each community, model values and virtues of peace occur within the domestic settings of each culture, where hospitality customs temper adversaries as people strove to develop their own unique forms of peace. It will examine sections of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey to develop a view of ancient Greek standards of virtue within a community under the stress of conflict and war.
Author: Renee Bricker
Author: Yi Deng
Author: Donna Gessell
Author: Michael Proulx
Date: 02/27/2016
Location: Dahlonega, GA