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H-Peace Works-In-Progress ProjectSCOTT H. BENNETT, Georgian Court College, email@example.com
"Letters From the Pacifist Foxhole in CPS & Prison: The WWII Correspondence of Igal Roodenko and Vivien Roodenko, 1943-1947."
This editing project will annotate selections from the approximately 210 wartime letters which siblings Igal Roodenko and Vivien Rookenko wrote to each other (along with a sampling of letters which they wrote to others). Although the correspondence includes letters written while Igal worked in Civilian Public Service (CPS), most of the letters between Igal and Vivien were written while he was in the Federal Correctional Institution in Sandstone, Minnesota.
According to Tom Brokaw, the "greatest generation" was the citizen soldiers who endured the Great Depression, won the "Good War," and reformed postwar America. In the process, they preserved and extended liberty, democracy, and progress at home and abroad. Less known and uncelebrated, some 18,000 conscientious objectors (COs) - both pacifist and nonpacifist - refused to join the armed services during World War II. To honor their convictions, 12,000 COs performed alternative, non-military service in Civilian Public Service (CPS), and 6,000 served prison terms. Although most COs cooperated with the authorities, a small group of radical pacifist COs, often associated with the secular War Resisters League and the religious Fellowship of Reconciliation--led dramatic nonviolent revolts in CPS and prison against conscription, Jim Crow, censorship, and the myriad regulations that dehumanized prison and gutted the original vision of CPS. Like Tom Brokaw and Stephen Ambrose's celebrated citizen soldiers, these COs fought for freedom, democracy, and social justice on the homefront and overseas during and after the Second World War. They, too, are part of the "greatest generation." Unlike GIs, however, COs have been largely forgotten. One of these COs was Igal Roodenko, who spent time in both CPS and prison.
The letters shed light on numerous topics of importance to radical pacifism and the CO experience, including conditions in CPS and prison; CO work and hunger strikes; CO walkouts, lawsuits, and other forms of resistance; pacifist strategies and organizations; the tension between social actionist COs and the religious pacifist organizations that administered CPS; conscription; civil liberties; Gandhi; the United Nations; the formative CO role in the Committee for Nonviolent Revolution (1946-1948) and other militant expressions of postwar radical pacifism; and the forging of a radical pacifist network that would spearhead postwar social reform and nonviolent direct action. Reflecting their radical, secular Jewish background, the Roodenkos also discuss socialism, labor zionism, and Palestine. Finally, the correspondence details the Roodenkos' leadership in the amnesty campaign (1945-1948) that sought a general amnesty for prison COs, including Vivien's leadership in the Committee for Amnesty, and Igal's dramatic 248-day Sandstone hunger strike.
This project has four main goals. First, I will tell the story of Igal Roodenko, a World War II CO, War Resister League leader, and a postwar activist in the peace, civil rights, civil liberties, anti-nuclear, and environmental movements. I will also relate the story of Vivien Roodenko and her important role in the peace and justice movements. Vivien participated and/or held leadership positions in the War Resisters League, National Council on Conscientious Objection (ACLU), Campaign for Amnesty, Congress of Racial Equality, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Women Strike for Peace, and tax resistance campaign against the Vietnam War. Neither Igal nor Vivien's story has previously been told. Besides editing and annotating the approximately 210 wartime letters which they wrote to each other (along with a sampling of letters which they wrote to others), I will write an extended Introduction. This Introduction will provide a dual biography of the Roodenkos and recount their wartime and postwar pacifist/social activism. Editorial annotations and endnotes will permit me to situate the Roodenkos within and reveal the "hidden world" of World War II COs and American radical pacifism.
Second, although there are numerous collections of letters written by soldiers and women, this book will represent the first published collection of letters by a World War II CO and pacifist. This book will provide a documentary history of the progressive disillusionment, radicalization, rebellion, and wartime/postwar social activism of radical pacifist COs.
Third, historians have neglected the contribution of women to the World War II pacifist movement and the gendered nature of the CO experience. This book will address gender and demonstrate the important role that "CO" women (mothers, sisters, wives, and sweethearts) played in maintaining the morale and encouraging the resistance and social activism of CO men in CPS and prison. Moreover, wartime exigencies enabled women to assume new responsibilities, a process that empowered and encouraged them to challenge separate spheres ideology during and after the Second World War. This study will document Vivien Roodenko's transformation from deferential sister to confident participant and leader in the wartime and postwar peace and civil liberties movements.
Fourth, this book will offer a unique window into the motivations of pacifist Jews who opposed the "good war" against Hitler and Nazism. In addition, the correspondence captures details of Jewish American culture and family life.
SCOTT H. BENNETT, Georgian Court College, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Twin Brothers: One Pacifist, One GI: The World War II Correspondence of Frank Dietrich and Al Dietrich."
Through an extended introduction and their wartime letters, this editing project relates the experience of Frank Dietrich and Albert Dietrich, identical twins who took different paths during WWII. One became a soldier, the other a conscientious objector (CO). Drafted into the Army Air Force (AAF), Frank trained as a radio operator and technician, worked as an Army radio instructor in Wisconsin, and shipped to the Philippines in May 1945, where he awaited the planned invasion of Japan. Conversely, Albert, a pacifist, refused to serve in the military, took the CO position, and served in Civilian Public Service camps in South Dakota, Iowa, and Florida. Together, Frank and Albert represent the 16 million men and women who served in the armed forces and the 18,000 conscientious objectors who--in accord with their convictions--refused to join the U.S. military in World War II.
Both before and during World War II, Frank and Albert regularly wrote each other long letters explaining their attitudes toward war and peace, the military and pacifism, and military service and conscientious objection. They also discussed culture (particularly music and literature), women, family, travels, and their jobs as social workers; they both had graduate degrees in social work. In addition, Frank, who married Christine Dickey in 1943, wrote her regularly during the over eight months that he served in the Philippines. Like other newlyweds and parents, they packed their letters with professions of love, future plans, and news or questions about Sally Lou, their infant daughter. Besides writing about his military duties, social and cultural activities, fellow GIs, and camp life, Frank offered evocative descriptions of Manila, the Philippines, Filipinos, and his sightseeing trips and local adventures.
The Dietrichs' correspondence provides valuable insights into the wartime experience of GIs and COs. Besides offering a detailed social portrait of GI wartime marriages, family life, and experiences on the homefront and overseas, it illustrates the important role that non-combat GIs played in the U.S. military effort. It also provides a neglected perspective on American conscription, on the legal-administrative struggle that pacifists often endured before obtaining CO status, and on the CO experience in Civilian Public Service camps. Most significantly, their correspondence provides a unique window on a debate over military service versus pacifism in an era of global war. I have selected approximately 25 percent of the Dietrich's correspondence--that which highlights their discussion of war and peace--for this project.
JULIE HYDE, McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario), email@example.com
"The Pedagogy of Peace Studies."
Peace Studies is a rapidly developing field of interdisciplinary study that places an emphasis upon the interconnectedness between knowledge and practice. This research project will examine the relationship between the intellectual goals and the teaching practices of Peace Studies to determine the extent to which this connection between academic study and practical application is achieved. To what extent does (or must) a practical, even activist, agenda carry over into the classroom? Is there a particular skill-set (conflict resolution/transformation, group facilitation etc.) related to Peace Studies? Do modes of learning reflect these relationships? Is this essential? What are the philosophical justifications and the learning benefits? Is there a unique Peace Studies pedagogy?
This project requires a study of the pedagogy employed in undergraduate Peace Studies programs. The net is being cast as wide as practicable within the time constraints of the project. Data collected include: course syllabi; internal policy statements; programme publicity; statements of teaching principles; interviews (e-mail, phone and in person) with instructors and students. This primary research will be tied into the published literature on student-centered teaching and learning. The objective here is to determine, what, if anything, is unique or exceptional about the pedagogy (or perhaps pedagogies) of Peace Studies.
If anyone would be willing to participate in an interview or to complete a questionnaire over email, please contact the author. If you know of any instructors or students who might be interested in this project, please pass on this message.
IAN LEKUS, Duke University, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Queer and Present Dangers: Homosexuality and American Antiwar Activism during the Vietnam Era."
This project addresses the ways in which the political culture developed by antiwar activists during the Vietnam War years influenced their effectiveness organizing against American foreign policy. Examining the experiences of gay and lesbian activists across the spectrum of tactics and ideologies, from radical pacifists to armed revolutionaries, offers an ideal opportunity to evaluate the democratic movement culture developed by antiwar activists.
The clear majority of movement participants grew up in a Cold War culture that equated homosexuality with both communist subversion and the corruption of American youth. Harassed for their long hair and their draft resistance, many activist men reclaimed their masculinity by bragging about their sexual prowess with women and by mocking their rivals as homosexuals. FBI and police infiltrators further exacerbated these hostile movement cultures by spreading rumors about activistsí sexual orientations in order to discredit them. In order to justify such rhetoric and practices, these men often referenced the homophobia and misogyny that they perceived as inherent to the white working-class, Black Power, and international Third World movements and cultures that they judged to be authentically revolutionary. Gay-baiting took its toll upon unknown numbers of lesbians and gay men, compelling some to lie and hide their sexual orientation, while driving others from the peace movements altogether.
At the same time, the trust and the candor earned during the ongoing work of discussing, planning, and carrying out social change provided some heterosexual activists with the experiential knowledge necessary to challenge homophobic values and institutions. Ultimately, those movement cultures which were less reliant upon hierarchical forms of decision-making and less enmeshed in racialized and gendered notions of what "revolution" entailed proved most capable of recruiting Americans to pressure the U.S. government to withdraw from Southeast Asia. Those activists who could develop personally and politically intimate relations created the movement spaces where lesbians and gay men did not have to sacrifice their identities for the sake of building a more democratic society.
I am currently beginning to revise this manuscript for publication.
JON PAHL, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, email@example.com
"Violence and the Sacred in America."
This work, after critically assessing the leading scholarly theoreticians of the relationship between violence and religion (Girard,Appleby, Juergensmeyer, Gopin, Kimball, Lincoln, Schwartz), turns attention to four historical "case studies" of how religious traditions have interacted with various manifestations of violence in U.S. history. The first study examines the execution of Quakers in early Boston, most notably Mary Dyer, as a manifestation of competing religious discourses of "cursing." The second re-reads the diary of Abigail Abbot Bailey for the way a hegemonic distinction between public law (violence) and private community (family/religion) permitted and tacitly legitimized her repeated violation by her husband. The third examines the practices recommended in The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, notably reading, writing, and public speaking, as ritually inscribed contrasts to the ritual practices by which slaveholding was perpetuated underneath a "Christian" ethos, notably beatings and torture. Finally, I study four films, "Reefer Madness" (1936), "Rebel without a Cause"(1955), "Halloween"(1978), and "Scream,"(1996) for the ways they constitute a "cinema of adolescence" that invites youth to invest in a marketed image of themselves that posits their initiation into a status in which they are either victims or victimizersin spectacles of sacrifice. Throughout, the goal of the project is to complicate the assumed relationship between "sacred" and "profane," or "religion" and "nation," in the study of American history, in ways that deconstruct civil-religious iconographiesof innocence that legitimize and mask the monopoly of violence accorded the United States, its surrogates and accomplices.