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Seminars Archive

Dr. Nina Siulc
Nina Siulc

Deportation, Violence and "Securocratic Wars" in the Americas

November 10, 2011

Dr. Nina Siulc is an anthropologist, Assistant Professor in the Legal Studies Program, Department of Political Science University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Siulc has conducted numerous research studies exploring the human impact of detention and deportation policies. She will discuss the violence surrounding new mass deportations of persons convicted of crimes in the United States and sent back to the Dominican Republic, where new penalized spaces and privatized governance projects have emerged in response to the fears engendered by purportedly dangerous deportees.

The violence accompanying the formal and informal policing of and "retraining" practices directed at criminalized deportees--by both police officers and non-state actors--can be seen as part of a larger set of what Feldman dubs "securocratic wars" that have emerged in response to new perceived security threats across the Americas, threats that both result from and intersect with new instabilities wrought by nascent forms of democratic governance in post-dictatorial nations like the Dominican Republic.

Dr. Jill Irvine
Jill Irvine

From Civil Society to Civil Servants:

Women, War, and Political Transformation in the Balkans

March 24, 2011

Dr. Jill Irvine is the Presidential Professor and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Cynthia Enloe and others have argued that while war has a devastating impact on women it can also open up space for a reconfiguration of gender relations. But, under what conditions can a more egalitarian postwar order be achieved?

This study of women’s organizing during war and post war reconstruction in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo attempts to answer this question. To what extent, I ask, have women’s organizations achieved their goals of political transformation and gender equality? In what ways have they shaped the post war processes of refugee return, reconciliation and human security? In seeking to understand strategies and their impact, I focus on the interplay between structure and agency—examining the ways in which domestic and particularly international actors and forces shaped the strategic choices of women’s organizations and activists.

Dr. Orla Muldoon
Orla Muldoon

Social Identity, Political Violence and Psychological Distress:

Some lessons for peace and reconciliation from Northern Ireland

February 17, 2011

Dr. Orla Muldoon hails from the Department of Psychology, University of Limerick, Ireland. The talk will review theory and research from Northern Ireland and other regions affected by conflict to consider the relationship between mental health and political violence. Dr. Muldoon will argue that the orientation of theory and research aimed at understanding the onset of psychopathology in response to political violence has been particularly informed by Western individualistic constructions of social phenomena.

This approach calls for an extension of understanding of psychological distress and post-traumatic stress in response to political violence by considering how a group level analysis can inform incidence, diagnosis and expression of psychopathology. Drawing on a group level analysis, she will use the integrated social identity model of stress, to consider some of the paradoxical consequences of identity processes for mental health and social attitudes in Northern Ireland.

Dr. Daniel Bar-Tal
Daniel Bar-Tal

Socio-Psychological Barriers to Conflict Resolution

November 4, 2010

Dr. Daniel Bar-Tal is the Branco Weiss Professor of Research in Child Development and Education at the School of Education as well as the past director of the Walter Lebach Institute for Jewish-Arab Coexistence through Education at Tel Aviv University, Israel. His research interests lie in political and social psychology, studying the foundations of intractable conflicts and peace-making.

He has authored over two hundred papers in social and political psychological journals and books. In 1991 and again in 2009, he received the SPSSI Otto Klineberg Intercultural and International Relations Prize and in 2000-2001 he was awarded the Golestan Fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Science. In 2006, he received the Alexander George Award from the International Society of Political Psychology for the best book in Political Psychology, as well as the Peace Scholar Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association for distinguished scholarship in the study of conflict and peace-making.

Tyler Boudreau
Tyler Boudreau

War in the Consciousness:

The Making and Unmaking of a Marine.

October 7, 2010

Tyler Boudreau is a 12-year veteran of the Marine Corps infantry and served in the Iraq War in 2004. He is author of the book Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine and his writing has appeared in many publications including the New York Times, Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, and the Progressive.

In 2008, Boudreau traveled to Jordan to investigate and raise awareness about the on-going Iraq refugee crisis. In 2009, he bicycled across the country to talk with communities about war and post-traumatic stress. He now lives in Northampton and is a graduate student in the Communication Department here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Dr. Glendene Lemard
Glendene Lemard

Class, Culture and Violence in Jamaica:

What We Don't Know Can Hurt Us

December 3, 2009

Dr. Glendene Lemard is Research Assistant Professor, Health Policy & Management, the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Managing Director for the Greater Springfield- University of Massachusetts Amherst Partnership. Jamaica is a small island developing state with one of the highest murder rates in the world. It is a democratic society with a stable system of government and many of the murders stem from interpersonal disputes such as acts of revenge, robberies and drug or gang-related activity. There is much discussion on the root causes of violence in the country but empirical analyses of the patterns in killing tend to reveal issues not readily seen or acknowledged by the society.

This presentation will examine the patterns of killings in Jamaica since independence in 1962 up to 2007 and will discuss the implications for health and development. The presentation will also examine the underlying factors that impact the growth in violence in the country which include the class structure, inequality and distinctions in access to opportunities. It will also examine social norms and mores that promote a culture of violence. Seemingly, "nonsensical killings" as in the case of some reprisals and many mob killings may in fact have patterns not readily apparent that suggest a rhyme and reason for such action. The information garnered can help to inform strategies to boost violence prevention efforts which will also be discussed.

Dr. Andrew Papachristos
Andrew Papachristos

The Corner and The Crew:

The Role of Inter-Group Conflict and Geographic Turf on Gang Violence

October 22, 2009

Dr. Andrew Papachristos is Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Visiting Scholar, Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government.

Dr. Andrew Papachristos’ research uses social network analysis to examine: the social structures and group processes at the heart of interpersonal violence and delinquency; issues of group dominance and reciprocity; and the use of violence and honor as measures of social control. In this presentation he uses a social network approach to examine the influence of two dimensions of street gangs on violent behavior: inter-group conflict and the overlap of geographic turf. Inter-group conflict and gang turf are essential aspects of gang formation, group identity, and the collective processes at the foundation of many gang behaviors, including violence.

Using incident level police records and detailed maps of turf boundaries, this paper recreates and analyzes gang violence by examining the social networks of action and reaction that create them. The findings suggest that individual violent interactions between gangs create an institutionalized network of group conflict, net of any gang’s size, racial composition, group specific effects, and turf overlap. Violence moves through these networks through an epidemic-like process of social contagion that is fueled by dominance considerations of gangs jockeying for social status.

Dr. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela

Working Through the Past:

Some Thoughts on Forgiveness in Cultural Context

September 17, 2009

Dr. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela is Professor of Psychology University of Cape Town, South Africa, and award winning author of the book, A Human Being Died That Night. In this presentation, Dr. Gobodo-Madikizela will explore forgiveness of perpetrators as a unique outcome of the truth commission method in the aftermath of mass violence and political conflict. She will briefly identify some developmental trends in the debates on forgiveness in the context of mass atrocity.

Using a case example from the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, she will explore the development of empathy in an encounter between victims and a perpetrator in the context of the perpetrator’s remorseful apology on the one hand, and the victims’ forgiveness on the other. She will consider the subtleties of cultural language in the dialogical exchange between victims and perpetrators when both victims and perpetrators are black Africans, and argue that apology and forgiveness provide impetus for transformation. The apology and forgiveness response in politics should be viewed as an essential feature of human connectedness, and a moral imperative necessary to restore hope before the work of reconciliation can start.

Dr. Jorge Manzi
Jorge Manzi

Political Reconciliation in Post Pinochet Chile:

Political and Psychosocial Processes.

March 26, 2009

Dr. Jorge Manzi is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Measurement in the School of Psychology at Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Santiago, Chile. Dr. Manzi's research in social psychology concentrates on political phenomena, including such diverse themes as the development of political ideas and affiliations among youth, collective memory for political events, and the role of emotions in processes of reconciliation. Currently, he is conducting a large-scale panel study to examine aspects of political culture among three generations of Chileans.

Dr. Elizabeth Levy Paluck
Elizabeth Levy Paluck

Deference, Dissent and Dispute Resolution:

An Experimental Intervention using Mass Media to Change Norms and Behavior in Rwanda

March 5, 2009

Dr. Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Princeton University and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs is also an Academy Scholar at Harvard Academy for International Affairs, Harvard University.

Deference and dissent strike a delicate balance in any polity. Insufficient deference to authority may incapacitate government; too much may allow leaders to orchestrate mass violence. Although cross-national and cross-temporal variation in deference to authority and willingness to express dissent has long been studied in the social sciences, rarely have scholars studied programs designed to change these aspects of political culture.

The present study, situated in post-genocide Rwanda, reports a qualitative and quantitative assessment of one such attempt, a radio program aimed at discouraging blind obedience and reliance on direction from authorities, and at promoting independent thought and local initiative in problem solving. This radio program or a control program dealing with HIV were randomly presented over the course of one year to pairs of communities, including communities of genocide survivors, Twa people, and imprisoned génocidaires. Changes in individual attitudes, community norms, and deliberative behaviors were assessed using closed-ended interviews, focus group discussions, role-play exercises, and unobtrusive measures of collective decision-making.

Although the radio program had little effect on many kinds of beliefs and attitudes, it did have a substantial impact on listeners' willingness to express dissent and the way they resolved communal problems. Consistent with some arguments regarding the origins of political culture, these results suggest that certain aspects of political culture are changeable, at least in the short run.