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News & Topics
January 6, 2020

Remusicking Peace: Sound & Proactive Peacebuilding MOMRI at International Christian University (ICU), Oct. 25, 2019, Tokyo

Report by Olivier Urbain, Director & Mika Takahashi, MOMRI Research Assistant    

A milestone in the development of Peace Studies, the book Rethinking Peace was published this year and co-written by professors from ICU. The book launch took place on Oct. 25 in the evening, and I was invited to give a talk in the early afternoon, thanks to the introduction of Syann Williams, a student in the MA program. My presentation was entitled “Remusicking Peace,” and the main point was that if we are going to reconsider how to challenge peace issues today, we need to take creativity and the arts seriously.
In other words, “rethinking” is important, but not sufficient.

According to Giorgio Shani, one of the editors of the book, liberal peacebuilding is dead. If this is so, then what kind of peacebuilding do we need today, when we are facing rising populism and nationalism, climate change and the sixth mass extinction, and the rise of artificial intelligence? In Rethinking Peace (and many other writings), Oliver Richmond recommends “emancipatory peacebuilding,” and Hartmut Behr emphasizes “peace-in-difference,” embracing differences through dialogue.

This was an opportunity to address some of the major issues in Rethinking Peace directly with some of the authors and with students taking their classes. The Q&A session that followed lasted more than an hour!

Some students stayed longer to continue the discussions, and one caught up with me after the book launch for an additional question. Priyanka Borpujari is an MA in the Peace Studies, Public and Social Research Program. Before coming to ICU, she was working as a journalist in India and one of her articles, “India’s second Independence Day set love free” was published online on CNN. We had a fascinating discussion on Bollywood, gender discrimination and musicking… to be continued.  

Book Launch: Rethinking Peace

At the book launch for Rethinking Peace, six of the authors shared the essence of their chapters, and responded to numerous questions from the audience.

Jeremiah Alberg (left) teaches Philosophy and Religion at ICU and wrote “Memory and Temporality, Translation, To Arrive Where We Started: Peace Studies and Logos.”  

Shin Chiba (right) is professor of Politics and International Studies at ICU, and one of the pioneers who introduced Peace Studies in Japan, and he established peace studies at ICU. His chapter is entitled “The Crisis of Japan’s Constitutional Pacifism: The Abe Administration’s Belated Counter-Revolution.”

Beverly Curran teaches Society, Culture, and Media at ICU, and wrote “A Translational Comics Text and Its Translation: Maus in Japanese.” She also cordially invited me to give a lecture about the relation between musicking and translation, which I did in her class on Dec. 12 for more than 200 students.

Hartmut Behr is professor of International Relations at Newcastle University, UK and was teaching at ICU as visiting professor at that time. He wrote “Peace-in-Difference: Peace through Dialogue about and across Difference(s).” Professor Behr kindly visited the Min-On Museum and MOMRI on November 6.

With deep gratitude for all the faculty, staff and students who made these exchanges possible, we look forward to continuing our discussions on rethinking & remusicking peacebuilding and peace studies!