Friday, Feb. 26, 2010 12:30 pm


GRINNELL, IA— The Peace Studies Program at Grinnell College will host a two-day student conference, Mar. 4-5, featuring Grinnell student presenters on a number of peace-related topics and keynote speakers on the pervasiveness of violence in American culture.

“The Peace Studies Program at Grinnell intends to raise awareness of peace studies as an interdisciplinary, academic field,” said Val Vetter, program coordinator. “This conference was designed to give students from different disciplines an opportunity to explore a variety of topics pertaining to peace and conflict studies. We invite the public to take part in any of these sessions.”

The conference will open Thurs., Mar. 4, at 7 p.m., with keynote speakers David Schmid and John Hagedorn. Schmid will discuss “The Banality of American Violence,” and Hagedorn will offer perspectives on “The World of Gangs.”

Schmid is the author of “Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture,” and has published on a variety of subjects, including celebrity, Dracula and crime fiction. He is currently at work on two book-length projects: “Mean Streets and More: Space in Crime Fiction” and “The Scarlet Thread: A History of Homicide in American Popular Culture.”

Hagedorn, who is professor of criminology, law, and justice at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Great Cities Institute, has studied gangs and violence for the past 20 years. He is the author of “People & Folks: Gangs, Crime, and the Underclass in a Rustbelt City” and “A World of Gangs: Armed Young Men and Gangsta Culture.”

On Friday, Grinnell students will present papers in several panels throughout the day on topics ranging from legacies of violent conflict, women and injustice, torture, the arts and peacebuilding, and human rights. The conference will conclude with presentations at 4:45 p.m. by the 2009 Grinnell student winners of Davis Projects for Peace awards. Davis Projects for Peace are designed to support motivated college students as they implement peacebuilding ideas throughout the world. The Grinnell student projects focused on migrant workers in Shanghai and peace education in Cambodia.

A complete schedule for the conference, including the student panels, is available on the Grinnell website. All events are free and open to the public, and will be held in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, located at 1115 8th Ave on the Grinnell College campus. For more information about the conference, contact Val Vetter.