UAB Department of Anthropology to Host 2017 Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference

The Department of Anthropology, along with several other UAB departments, will host the 2017 Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) conference in Birmingham.
Several members of the Department of Anthropology recently returned from the 2016 Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) annual conference, held in scenic Nelson, British Columbia.

Local Doukhobour women sing at a "Peace Cafe" held during the conference.Local Doukhobour women sing at a "Peace Cafe" held during the conference.The Department of Anthropology, along with several other UAB departments, will host the 2017 PJSA conference in Birmingham, Alabama. The PJSA’s mission is to bring together academics and grassroots activists to promote nonviolence, strategies for peace building, and social justice.

Some highlights of this year’s conference, which had the theme of “Embracing the Tensions to Build the World We Want,” included a powerful keynote speech by Wab Kinew, a well-known aboriginal leader and activist from Winnipeg, and a closing dinner prepared by a local Doukhobor community, a group of Russian pacifists who settled in Western Canada in the late 19th century.

Department of Anthropology Chair Dr. Douglas Fry, along with faculty members Dr. Geneviève Souillac and Dr. Kevin Higgs, held a panel exploring various aspects of peaceful societies and peace systems, violence and political anthropology, and the relationship of the doctrine of original sin to assumptions of human violence. Anthropology master’s student Sherrie Alexander presented her thesis research on how peace and conflict resolution elements may be important to primate conservation.
 Sherrie Alexander gave a presentation on peace and conflict resolution elements of primate conservation. Sherrie Alexander gave a presentation on peace and conflict resolution elements of primate conservation.
One presentation focused on children, community gardening, and food security in the Detroit area.One presentation focused on children, community gardening, and food security in the Detroit area.

Dr. Higgs, PJSA’s 2017 conference chair, says that he and his UAB colleagues are excited to see the conference come to UAB since the Department of Anthropology will be offering a new Master’s program in the Anthropology of Peace and Human Rights beginning in the Spring of 2017. The new UAB Institute for Human Rights will also be involved in the conference.
Nelson, BC - view from Selkirk Campus where the PJSA conference was held.Nelson, BC - view from Selkirk Campus where the PJSA conference was held.
PJSA panel with Sherrie Alexander.Sherrie Alexander in a panel following her presentation.

The conference will highlight Birmingham’s historic role in the Civil Rights Movement and allow community activists and academics from a variety of fields to come together and examine the future of peace and nonviolence in the South. The conference also creates a unique opportunity for students of the social sciences, along with public health, biology, and the humanities, to share their research on social justice issues, topics related to human wellbeing, and any peace-related initiatives.

For more information on the upcoming conference, please contact Drs. Higgs or Fry.

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