Identity Matters: Confronting Identity on the Road to Conflict Resolution, Peace and Justice
Dr. Celia Cook-Huffman
Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 7:00 pm
Fr. Jensen Theatre, St. Paul's College
How are identities shaped, defined and managed as part of conflict? What is the role of identity in mobilizing parties? How do the identities we claim shape our strategies for waging conflict? How do self-perception and identity prevent us from compromise and reconciliation and implicate us in social inequality and injustice?
Conflict is fundamentally grounded in the self-perceptions of the individuals or groups in conflict. How the parties define themselves and their opponents in conflict is often a critical factor in the escalation and rigidification of conflict. Accordingly, addressing identity is critical to our ability to shift, mitigate, resolve, and transform conflicts.
Dr. Cook-Huffman's lecture explores the roles identity plays in conflict and what theory tells us about the impact of identities on conflicts. The lecture will question who is creating, presenting, and shaping identities in particular ways and for what purposes, citing recent examples from Rwanda to Ferguson, Missouri.
Dr. Celia Cook-Huffman teaches in the Peace and Conflict Studies program and is the Associate Director of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. Her background combines peace studies with specialized training and education in conflict resolution, nonviolence, gender, and mediation. The focus of her teaching is on understanding how conflict affects individuals, communities and the world system. In exploring conflict, Dr. Cook-Huffman asks students to think about both how to wage conflicts productively as well as how to resolve them. In all her courses, she encourages students to think creatively about conflict and the dangers and opportunities it brings to our lives.
Outside the classroom, Dr. Cook-Huffman has worked with the college community, churches, school and small businesses, teaching mediation and conflict resolution skills, and providing community mediation services under the auspices of the Baker Institute.
Her research focuses on the impact of social identity on conflict and the relationship between gender issues and conflict. She received the Juniata Junior Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award in 1996. She has a B.A. in peace studies and conflict resolution from Manchester College, an M.A. in peace studies from the University of Notre Dame where she was an International Scholars Program Fellow, and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University. She currently holds the W. Clay and Kathryn H. Burkholder Professorship in Conflict Resolution.
The St. Paul’s College University Affiliation Lecture is sponsored by the University of Manitoba, The Ph.D. and Joint M.A. Programs in Peace and Conflict Studies, and St. Paul’s College, with financial support provided by Aikins Law.