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Harmony Forum

Peace from Harmony
Culture of harmonious peace as the base for sustainable living, development and security

Janusz Przychodzen and Sylvain David


Peace as a social value


Peace as a social value has, in the same manner as War, always followed human evolution. It was, however, defined in a coherent way - that is by association to what o­ne could call "the supreme good" - much later than were the treaties of the war, even if its previous depictions can be traced back to the state of bliss conveyed by the myths of the creation of the world. It is during this long invention of peace that, in the spirit of Kant, for example, appears the ideal of perpetual peace (taken up recently by Habermas). Peace, born from a situation of conflict, henceforth becomes an autonomous concept; with the advent of modernity, it will be transformed into a progressive value. What remains of peace today, in a so-called global

If many studies of the uses and practices of peace in the historical and contemporary worlds have already demonstrated the complex character of the phenomenon - which falls under sometimes very distinct ethics, systems and/or political, social and cultural movements - the aesthetic dimension of such a symbol still deserves a thorough exploration. For peace is also beautiful. But to what point? What is the true relation governing these two entities?

Peace as the end of hostilities between men, religions, States or economic powers has often been seen as the consequence of multiple phenomena including the signature of a treaty, the application of a truce or the increase of economic exchange. But it has also been seen as a reaction to the horror brought o­n by massacres, which it tends to push back ad infinitum, or even as the direct result of war and conquests.

Nevertheless, the manners of instituting, living and breaking peace remain multiple and answer to different logics; in the same way, the depictions, fictitious or not, of the condition of human beings living in a pacified state or universe often vary according to particular characteristics. This especially as the image of peace often goes beyond an instituted rapport, beyond the mere word, and is made visible through gesture, glance, dress or posture: in short, peace is surrounded by an ethos whose transparency and obviousness testify o­nly to its importance. From a multi-disciplinary point of view, this conference wishes to bring together researchers interested in
the modes of depiction of peace, particularly insofar as the transposition of an ethical question to an expression of an aesthetic nature in the broad sense makes it possible to approach, from a critical perspective, the problems or benefits, for modern and post-modern societies, of a pacified
universe, o­ne in the process of pacification or o­ne living in the memory of peace.

Suggested Topics

- Peace and modernity: a sociopolitical ideal of peace and harmony vs. a philosophical and aesthetical ideal of negativity, conflict and rupture; forms of expression and depiction;

- End of History, postmodern world, global society and peace; new aesthetics of peace;

- Peace in literature and the arts (painting, theatre, cinema, music, dance, etc.);

- Religious and spiritual heritage of peace; social memory of peace; argumentation and narration;

- To see and to show peace: an iconography and its symbolic system;

- Aesthetics of the pacifist movements, from the hippies to the anti-globalists;

- "Si vis pacem, para bellum": the paradox of a combat, of an armed struggle for peace (this stemming from revolutionary movements as well as from powers in place); pathos of peace;

- Representations of peace in the event of victory or defeat; staging honor, resignation, shame, revolt, etc;

- Peace and culture (also, the correlation, posited by a certain philosophy of history, between the idea of pacification and that of the decline of civilization); peace as a critical element of culture.

Proposals for papers, in English or in French, must include a summary of 300 words, accompanied by a title and coordinates (name, position, University, Department, etc). The organizing committee must receive proposals before October 31, 2005.

Janusz Przychodzen (York University)

Sylvain David (Universite Concordia)

[IFLAC]Digest Number 1131, October 11, 2005

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