Monday 11 April 2016

'Two Centuries of Peacemaking' conference, 7 and 8 June 2016

We are delighted to announce details of the ‘Two Centuries of Peacemaking’ conference, which will be held at Newcastle University and Northumbria University on 7 and 8 June. This event asks big questions about the direction and vitality of the peace movement over 200 years. It is a forum where scholars and activists will reflect on the past, present and future of the peace movement. Participants will consider the shifts that occurred in the peace movement, addressing issues such as conscientious objection and the importance of feminist/women’s activist roles, the geographical and historical coordinates and influence of the civil rights movement, King’s distinctive nonviolence, global peace movements, and much more.

We are organising this conference as 2016 is an anniversary year that encourages us to contemplate our understanding of peace and the paths towards it. Firstly, it is the centenary of Britain’s enactment of conscription during World War One, reminding us of those who rejected military service and became conscientious objectors. Secondly, June 2016 is the bicentenary of the establishment of the (London) Peace Society. Alongside the formation of the New York Peace Society, its appearance is commonly seen as the beginning of the modern peace movement. Thirdly, 2016 is the start of a year of activities that commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s visit to Newcastle, where he accepted an honorary doctorate in November 1967. His impromptu address, which fused together the issues of poverty, war and racism, has inspired research at the city’s two universities and informs the work of the Martin Luther King PeaceCommittee which seeks to honour King’s legacy by ‘building cultures of peace’. 

In addition to around 25 academic papers, the conference will feature keynote lectures by Martin Ceadel, David Cortright, Kate Hudson and Thomas F. Jackson. Kate Hudson’s talk is a free public lecture. It is preceded by Peace Fair at which local initiatives on peace and conflict will present their work.

The conference is jointly organised and hosted by academics from Newcastle University (Nick Megoran, Ben Houston) and members of the 'Histories of Activism' research group at Northumbria University (Jon Coburn, Daniel Laqua, Sarah Hellawell). 

Registration both for the conference itself and for the free public lecture and peace fair has now closed. If you would like to get in touch with the organisers, feel free to email


Tuesday, 7 June

09:30 – 10:00     Registration and coffee

10:00 – 11:15      Plenary I: Martin Ceadel (University of Oxford) 'The Peace Society in retrospect'

11:15 – 11:45      Refreshments

11:45 – 13:15      Panel sessions A

a cENTURY OF Transnational peace aCTIVISM, 1825 TO 1925

  • Michael Clinton (Gwynedd Mercy University)Making friends of peace: exchanges between British and French peace advocates during the nineteenth century
  • Daniel Laqua (Northumbria University)The transnational trajectories of Leopold Katscher
  • Sarah Hellawell (Northumbria University) WILPF and transnational campaigning in the 1920s and 1930s

  • Simon Hall (Leeds University)1956: the year that made Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  • Peter Ling (Nottingham University) King’s performance of Gandhian nonviolence
  • Jake Hodder (Nottingham University) American pacifists and the political construction of Kingiji

13:15 – 14:30      Lunch

14:30 – 16:30      Panel sessions B

  • Ben Houston, Nick Megoran and Matthew Scott (Newcastle University) The Newcastle Upon-Tyne Auxiliary Peace Society, c. 1817–1850 
  • David Saunders (Newcastle University) Peace In North-East England, 1816–1914 
  • Keith Edghill (UCL)Early nineteenth-century Christian pacifists and the Concept of defensive war 
  • Richard Allen (University of South Wales) ‘The disgrace of a Christian society’ (William Wilberforce): The Herald Of Peace and its reports on duelling in the 1820s

  • Sherrill W. Hayes (Kennesaw State University) 'Peacejacking' and social policy: a case study of Martin Luther King and the Fair Housing Act of 1968
  • Maia Hallward (Kennesaw State University)Exploring the tensions and contradictions of nonviolence: the case of academic boycott
  • Andreas Hackl (Edinburgh University) Civility and resistance: debating the case of Palestinians in Tel Aviv
  • Roberto Baldoli (Exeter University) Reconsidering nonviolence: a revolutionary ideology for freedom and plurality

17:15 – 18:30    Peace fair with stalls by 14 groups and initiatives as well as refreshments, snacks and music

18:30 – 20:00    Plenary II / public lecture: Kate Hudson (CND) – 'Peace activism in twentieth-century Britain'

Wednesday, 8 June

09:00 – 09:30    Registration and coffee

09:30 – 10:45    Plenary III: Thomas F. Jackson (University of North Carolina) – 'Chicago to Newcastle: jangling disords of Martin Luther King's nonviolent strategy in November 1967'

10:45 – 11:15    Refreshments

11:15 – 12:45    Panel sessions C

Peace Activism AND THE GREAT WAR

  • Sabine Grimshaw (Leeds University) Writing about peace: self-representations of peace activists during the First World War
  • Matt Perry (Newcastle University) The Black Sea Mutinies: war, peace and revolution in mutineer subjectivity
  • André Keil (Durham University) Civil liberties and human rights activism during the Great War: the Bund Neues Vaterland and the Union of Democratic Control


  • Christian Hogsbjerg (UCL) 'Peace and empire are irreconcilable': C.L.R. James, Pan-Africanism and peacemaking in the Age of Extremes
  • Ellen Crabtree (Newcastle University) Books for Vietnam: French academic activism during the Vietnam War
  • Discussant: Joe Street (Northumbria University)

12:45 – 13:45      Lunch

13:45 – 15:15      Panel sessions D


  • Laurie Cohen (Universität Innsbruck) and Helen Kay (independent researcher) –  Connected enemies: German and British peace women communications during World War One
  • Ingrid Sharp (Leeds University) An unbroken family? Restoring the international community of women after World War I
  • Laura Beers (Birmingham University)Liberal and socialist collaboration in the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

  • Jon Coburn (Northumbria University) And the beat goes on: past, present and future in a peace activist’s memoirs
  • Christoph Laucht (Swansea University)Hiroshima, Nagasaki and transnational medical activism against nuclear weapons in Britain, West Germany and the United States during the 1980s
  • Tom Bishop (Nottingham University) Salesmen, fallout shelters and consumer protest during the Nuclear Age

15:15 – 16:30      Plenary IV: David Cortright (University of Notre Dame) 'Peace: the past, present and future of an idea and a movement'

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