Exploring the Eclipse of Equality

Posts Tagged ‘Conflict Resolution’

A and B, but not enough C: Galtung on the state of American Conflict Resolution

In Reviews on April 26, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Well you missed another session of bracing conversation with Johan Galtung last night–that is unless you were among the roughly twenty people who turned out to fifth and K to see the great peace scholar do his thing at Busboys and Poets. The evening was well worth the effort to turn out. Not only is the space really a pleasant venue for an intellectual evening, but Professor Galtung’s lecture provided just what one would come to expect from one of the twentieth century’s great radical social scientists.  Perched in the corner of the room like some cross between Nick Cave of the Bad Seeds and Spaulding Gray on his way to Cambodia, he offered his evaluation of the War on Terror and the so-called American Empire. If you are American or Israeli, you almost have to root against him, because his views are so pessimistic, but love him or hate him, he offers a take on world affairs all his own.

If I could highlight one special moment of the evening (apart from the fact that my four year old daughter listened dutifully to the entirety of the lecture without disruption), I would point to Galtung’s evaluation of the Conflict Resolution field in the United States. After sharing an anecdote about Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain and how he handled the terrorist attack there with an accommodating civilizational posture, he suggested that Spain had the leading intellectual peace community in the world. He imagined that this might surprise the audience, and in his avuncular way averred that we are doing alright here in the U.S., but are unable to produce good scholarship due to our Anglo-American fascination Read the rest of this entry »

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This is your Brain on Conflict: An unwritten chapter in conflict studies

In Intellectual History on April 1, 2010 at 9:24 am

The most interesting article I came across this morning was from the New York Times (big surprise), and concerned the use of fMRI in English departments. This is written by Patricia Cohen who has a nice niche in covering intellectual movements and happenings at the University (full disclosure, she broke a big story about my research a couple of years ago). Patricia has a knack for picking up on novel aspects of the life of the mind and putting them out there for discussion. This is quite important work really.

In this story we see how important data is for the advancement of knowledge. If you have ever been a student of mine you will have heard the phrase: “love your data.” This is always my advice for those who would attempt to get in the knowledge game, for while explanatory theory is the goal, the data are the way. There is nothing that will get your well connected and over educated peers going than a new set of findings. When you add a new technology of finding making, watch out! This is what we have with fMRI. In case you don’t know what that is, the simple answer is that it is a brain scanning technology that helps researcher to know where in your brain thinking is taking place, and from this to infer what you are thinking about.

The know-how is progressing apace and already most of  social sciences have a cognitive subfield with cross-over Read the rest of this entry »