Students Present Research at Notre Dame Peace Conference
by Emily Price BA ’18
Megan Glavin BA ’19, sociology and anthropology major, and Sema Hasan BA ’18, double major in international affairs and mathematics, were recently invited to present at the 2018 Notre Dame Student Peace Conference, an annual student-led event that invites college students from around the world to present their original research on peacebuilding, global issues, and social justice. This year’s conference, titled Toward Just Peace: Exploring the Intersections of Justice and Peace and sponsored by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, ran from April 13–14.
Glavin traveled to the peace conference on April 13 to present her paper “The Art of War and the War of Art: Moving Beyond Imagistic Representation,” which critiques the focus of war photography on voyeurism and spectacle rather than aid, and imagines new ways of representing reality that take into account the multisensory nature of war.
“This project started in Assistant Professor Sepideh Bajracharya’s Anthropology of Suffering course last spring,” Glavin said. “She worked with me to expand the questions I was interested in pursuing, and has inspired new avenues of thought based on these same questions. I owe this project largely to her, the class she led, and the time she devoted to working with me.”
Hasan was nominated to the conference for her paper “Dying for Honor: An Examination of Pakistan’s Honor Killings,” in which she explores the continuing prevalence of honor-based violence against women in Pakistan despite recent domestic legislation and international treaties guaranteeing women’s rights. While she was unable to accept the invitation to present due to a scheduling conflict, Hasan presented her paper at Notre Dame’s 9th Annual Human Development Conference (HDC) last year, and presented another paper about child labor laws in Afghanistan at this year’s HDC conference.
“In the case of honor killings, Islam as a whole is often targeted, even though Islamic scholars contend that honor-based violence is un-Islamic,” she explained. “In this particular instance of human rights violations, I found that victims of honor-based violence are often stripped of agency and viewed as passive figures by the international community, and the variety of Islamic voices are conflated into one, including those of Muslim feminists, lawmakers, and activists. I argue that we can’t ignore these voices.”
Both Hasan and Glavin are excited to have been chosen to engage in the opportunities for dialogue that the conference offers. “I was particularly drawn to the Towards Just Peace theme and the implication that in order to achieve peace, we must reflect on past instances of violence or conflict,” said Hasan. “Most of the discussions I have regarding human rights, international law, and justice come from the perspective of fellow international affairs majors, and so having the opportunity to engage in an open dialogue with students from other disciplines and backgrounds is not only exciting, but crucial.”
Glavin’s experience at the conference was overwhelmingly positive.
“It felt good to present my project to a larger audience outside of the Lewis & Clark community, and to engage with everything else that was happening at the conference,” she said. “The keynote speaker was Alexis Templeton, an incredible black, gender-nonconforming activist who spoke about their experience at the forefront of the Ferguson #BlackLivesMatter movement; hearing them speak, as well as the other presentations I had the opportunity to listen to, was really inspiring. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to attend and present my work.”