MU peace studies program hosts panel discussion on terrorism
The panel included professor Karen Piper and professors emeritus Paul Wallace and Larry Brown.
Jan. 27, 2016
MU’s peace studies program brought attention to the international issues of terrorism, racism and violence against women in a panel on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
“We wanted to have an educational event that spoke to recent national and international events,” said Clarence Lo, associate professor of sociology and director of peace studies. “We want to encourage people to get in the habit of following and speaking about current world events.”
Paul Wallace, professor emeritus of political science, spoke first about terrorist groups including ISIS.
Wallace said instead of speaking about the 800-pound gorilla in the room, he chose to discuss the 800-pound angel: positive turns away from terrorism in South America, Europe and Asia.
“All is not really negative in the world today; there are a lot of bright spots,” Wallace said. “There are a lot of avenues which can be explored.”
Wallace compared terrorist groups to cults and said that Armageddon is key to such groups.
“If you give complete trust to your leadership; if you follow the mandates that are prescribed for you, then you are going to find yourself in a privileged position at the time of the final battle of the true believers versus the infidels,” Wallace said. “This relates broadly throughout the world.”
Professor emeritus of geography Larry Brown spoke about Christian identity movements and redefining the term “hate groups” in order to understand the motivation behind the violent activity of such groups.
Brown also spoke about groups that have a racial viewpoint such as the Ku Klux Klan and its remaining presence today.
“It’s the story that is the driving force and the community binding force of these groups,” Brown said. “Violence is the strategy, but it’s the folks that get invited into this common story that are going to be able to claim (the group’s) true identity.”
English professor Karen Piper spoke about violence against and the struggles faced by women in war.
Piper said that the majority of war victims are women and children. She spoke of women facing rape as a weapon of war, expectation to maintain their households, responsibility for their children and displacement.
“I liked the intersection between the speakers,” sophomore Ben Cosgrove said after the event. “Each speaker shared different information, but I liked that they were all connected to the greater theme of injustice.”
The event was held in the Agriculture building, where each panelist spoke for 15 minutes followed by questions and comments from the nearly 100 students and faculty members who attended the event.
“I am really pleased with the size of the audience,” Lo said. “It is a very positive sign that people came on their own time and that there is a real hunger out there for positive ways to change the world.”
Edited by Taylor Blatchford | firstname.lastname@example.org