Buddhism and Conflict Transformation

ANNOUNCEMENTS, 22 Feb 2016

Olivia Fuchs – TRANSCEND Media Service

An Inter-disciplinary Exploration of Buddhist Resources for Peace and Conflict

18-19th July, 2016 – University of Winchester

Call for Papers

The University of Winchester’s Centre of Religions, Reconciliation and Peace, in partnership with the Centre for Applied Buddhism at Taplow Court, invites scholars, practitioners and artists to join us and our keynote speakers Johan Galtung and Hugh Miall, for two days of multi-disciplinary enquiry into the peacebuilding capacity of Buddhism. The purpose of this stimulating forum is to act as a catalyst for a long-term research project.

In ‘Choose Peace’, a dialogue with Daisaku Ikeda, Galtung refers to Buddhism as having ‘a strong emphasis on non-violence, a non-exploitative approach to the natural world and a spirit of compassion… all of which are badly needed in our deeply troubled world’. Ikeda calls this ‘the power of internally-generated, outwardly-oriented values’.

Yet from even a cursory examination of many ‘Buddhist’ countries we can see numerous examples of ‘Buddhist-inspired’ nationalism leading to violence and discrimination. Critiques of Buddhism as privileging inner spiritual development over social engagement still resonate; and are indeed phenomena evident in the lived experiences of many Buddhists. And whilst conferences and seminars on Buddhism consistently extol its virtuous and peaceful nature, converting dialogue into practice remains inconsistent and often elusive.

Therefore this conference seeks to explore issues around: What a uniquely Buddhist form of Conflict Transformation might look like? Can Buddhist forms of Conflict Transformation be made relevant to the wider world without losing its unique Buddhist attributes? How would/do Buddhist forms of peacebuilding work in practice? Is it feasible to prevent Buddhism becoming appropriated and implicated in structural and physical violence?

We invite papers, case studies, experiences and creative responses that take a critical look at what Buddhist thought and practice can contribute to ‘positive’ peace and/or under what circumstances it has contributed to division, conflict, or structural violence. Areas of investigation may include:

  • Conflict prevention
  • Conflict transformation
  • Community and national Reconciliation
  • Hate speech and attitudes to the ‘other’
  • Buddhist contributions to interfaith/intercultural dialogue
  • Buddhist nationalism
  • Case studies and examples of good practice

Presentations will be in English, and will be allocated 20-30 minutes each, plus discussion.

Prospective participants are invited to submit abstracts of 250-­‐300 words. Proposals must include name, institutional affiliation, a short biography (100 words approx.) and an email address and phone number. Proposals for panel discussions (organised by the participants) will be considered. Deadline for receipt of abstracts is April 29th 2016

We hope to publish a selection of conference papers. A full version of your paper will need to be submitted prior to the conference if you want it considered for publication.

For enquiries please contact: Rebecca.bellamy@winchester.ac.uk

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 22 Feb 2016.

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