The Linfield Program for the Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement (PLACE) 2013-2014
Wars constitute perhaps the most defining, important, and tragic events in the course of human history.
The 2013-2014 PLACE program seeks to create a common space within the Linfield community to discuss the causes, consequences, and legacies of war from a variety of perspectives and from an array of disciplines. Within the Linfield Curriculum, this year’s theme places a particular emphasis on the “Vital Past” (VP) and “Global Pluralism” (GP) modes of inquiry.
The 2013-2014 program will stress several sub-themes:
1) War and Gender. In what ways can we understand war to be a gendered phenomenon? This sub-theme analyzes the varied roles of men and women during wartime at home and abroad, over the course of history, and during contemporary times. Through a series of related events and integrative courses, we will ponder questions like: how can the biologically and socially constructed ideas of femininity and masculinity inform our understanding of peace and war, reasons to fight, and ways we fight? What are the similarities and differences in the ways that war affects men in comparison with women? Do the legacies of war as they reverberate down the generations affect women differently than men? Are women necessarily victims of war, or are they agents? Why is war often sexualized? When women write about war and its consequences, who do they think about it and what do they say? Does history reveal a long-standing war waged by patriarchy (in its varied manifestations) against women's autonomy and interests--a war that prompts the contemporary argument that "the war against women" is still going strong. Is it?
2) War and the Environment. War has a major impact on the environment, ranging from the immediate destruction of ecosystems during battles to the longer lasting changes in how we manage our natural resources. Shifts in the environment might also be a source of war, as phenomena such as climate change can affect agriculture, access to water, the spread of disease, and migration, which makes conflict more likely. This subtheme explores the complex relationship between war and the environment. Thought a series of activities, courses, and roundtables, we will ask questions such as: How have technologies that arose during war have been converted into peacetime technologies and how have these technologies affected our ecosystems, both positively and negatively? Do the peaceful benefits of nuclear energy outweigh its environmental risks? If environmental degradation and resource depletion can be a source of war, what steps can be taken to promote peace?
3) War, Politics, and Culture. How do the machinations of politics and the makeup of culture and society influence the waging of war and vice versa? This broad subtheme explores a range of topics, including the sources and consequences of the apparent U.S. addiction to war, the lasting impact of nuclear bomb through the voices of those who experienced the Hiroshima bombing, how war and militarism might be socialized through the video game culture, the increased use self-immolation in Tibet, the effects of war-time decision making by US presidents such as FDR and Lincoln on U.S. society, and the post bellum experiences of veterans.
4) War and the Arts. How do visual artists respond to war? How does the work produced by artists who have served in their nation’s military contrast to the work produced by artists who are traumatized by war’s destructive impact? This sub-theme studies the arts’ tense relationship with warfare. As long as humanity has waged war, human beings have also made art ... about war. Indeed, some artists have often been the most effective social forces denouncing war just asothers have glorified war and commemorated its heroes. And, yet, some artist’s design war memorials that remain neutral altogether. Through a series of interrelated courses, concerts, performances, exhibitions, screenings, lectures and panel discussions, this PLACE series will consider the wide range of ways artists address war.
"Mankind must put an end to war, before war puts an end to mankind."
~ John F. Kennedy
For more information on specific events, please see the 2013-2014 PLACE calendar.
For questions about the PLACE program, please contact Professor Patrick Cottrell (cottrell@Linfield.edu).