Making Peace – Keeping Peace

It is of course simplistic to say that history repeats itself. But writing and performing two Great War centenary events for my home community (Axbridge) kept ringing bells and raising questions about our current predicament. In particular, the 2018 Remembrance Day rituals made me question the validity of remembrance without some further analysis of why peacemaking and peacekeeping are such complex and fragile activities.
“History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” (James Joyce, Ulysses) It was certainly the worst taught subject in my schooling, but having survived the most war-torn century in history I am keen to explore ways of waking from the nightmare.
That sounds like a tall order for a day school. Rather than getting lost in generalisations, we will split the day into six sessions based on specific points from the 1919 to 1925 period and their modern resonances.
1. Peace: The Paris Peace Conferences, success or failure of subsequent peace efforts, e.g. in Ireland and South Africa. Peace Studies.
2. Mass Media: Radio, TV, advertising, literacy, education, ownership and control of media.
3. Breakdown of “aristocratic” government: The Russian Revolution, challenges to government in the new Europe (and globally).
4. The Role of Women: Suffrage, the hidden history of social work, peace campaigns and work outside the home.
5. The Arts: Some key elements of modernism in literature, painting, music.
6. Where are we now? Populism, democracy . . . ?
We will work with a seminar structure. I will bring various images, sounds and handouts to share, but it will not be a one-man show! Plenty of discussion please.


Course Details