Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Nonviolence in Theory and Practice Conference - Call for Papers

Proposals Due October 15, 2017

Multi-disciplinary conference will be held Saturday, February 24, 2018 on the campus of Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio

Nonviolence includes a wide variety of philosophies, theologies, practices, and strategies. It commands different levels of commitment from adherents, whether tied to absolute and unconditional core beliefs or tactical and ad hoc methods for achieving social and political change. Some advocates link nonviolence to convictions about the way things are: to wager everything on it is to experiment with truth itself; its practitioners are working with the grain of the universe. Others point to the success of nonviolent movements, greater justice for vulnerable groups, and more equitable arrangements of and access to power, often also linking nonviolence with democratic participation.

Whether primarily thought of as a kind of philosophy or an approach to political arrangements, reflection on nonviolence leads to a range of questions that are being taken up in today’s world, often with great urgency. What are the sources of nonviolence, both philosophically and historically? How do different approaches to nonviolence (such as Eastern versus Western) differ from each other? How do these different perspectives learn from each other? What about when nonviolence fails or appears to fail? What are the most effective ways to promote nonviolent alternatives to retributive responses to injustice? How should we evaluate the outcomes of violence and other conflicts in light of these alternatives?

The goal of this one day conference is to address questions such as these by displaying and analyzing many of the ways that people, communities, and traditions think about and embrace nonviolence. In order to enhance the discussion, we are seeking presentations from a variety of academic disciplines. Both theoretical and practical considerations are welcome.

Possible topics for individual papers and panels might include (but are not limited to):
  • Historical evaluations of nonviolent tactics being used and/or important leaders and advocates in nonviolent movements
  • Philosophies of nonviolence and/or the key figures who have advanced them
  • Religious, spiritual, or theological perspectives
  • Histories of development and debate over the meaning and purpose of nonviolence
  • Sociological or political case studies
  • Ethical debates about the moral meaning and purpose of nonviolence
  • Nonviolence and specific moral issues such as capital (and other) punishment, suicide, war, abortion, immigration, euthanasia, health care, the economy, race, gender, and sexuality
  • Nonviolence in the workplace and at home
  • Nonviolence as a personal or communal virtue and how it is developed
  • Practical training / workshop
Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted using the online submission form no later than October 15, 2017. Presenters should plan on a 35-minute paper or presentation with an additional 10 minutes for questions and discussion. We also welcome panel proposals.

Presenters are welcome to engage in technical and academic debates, but they should avoid jargon and be aware that the conference audience will be diverse, including scholars from multiple disciplines, practitioners from many fields, students from various backgrounds, and community members.

The conference organizers are considering publishing a selection of the papers, depending on submissions. Please indicate in your proposal whether you are willing to produce a version of your presentation for publication. Please note that papers for publication will be longer than versions used for presentation (publication versions will usually be around 7,000 words in length).