A Special Honor

I’m very excited to share with you the news that I have been awarded the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Peace History Society. I was presented with this honor on October 21 during the “Muted Voices” conference at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. I’ve attached an article written by past President of the organization, Virginia S. Williams, which gives a background of the organization. The article was written in 2009. Since then, the organization and its members have accomplished a great deal. For more information on PHS and more recent activities, go to http://peacehistorysociety.org. And here is a photo of the plaque presented to me:

PHS award
The Peace History Society: An Affiliate of the AHA since 1963

Virginia S. Williams, November 2009

During the December 1963 annual meeting of the American Historical Association, a group of historians moved by the assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy and the beginnings of the Indochina War, decided to commit more effort and attention towards the study of peace. The AHA gathering was held in Philadelphia that year, and 50 historians interested in peace research attended a meeting at the Friends Meeting House, chaired by Merle Curti, one of the best-known historians of the time and a past president of the AHA. This group decided to form a special conference group within the AHA and to hold a joint session at the AHA meeting the following year. A continuing committee issued a call to join its efforts “to encourage the kind of research on the history of war, peace, violence and conflict that can clarify the causes of international peace and difficulties in creating it.”

These efforts resulted, in 1964, in the creation of the Conference on Peace Research in History, with Charles Barker of Johns Hopkins University as its first president. The organization kept the name Conference on Peace Research in History until 1994, when members chose to rename the organization the Peace History Society (PHS).

For more than four decades, PHS has prided itself on having a diverse membership. Although mostly composed of historians, PHS has attracted other scholars of international and military affairs, transnational institutions, nonviolence, movements for peace and social justice, scholars of religion, peace activists, and members of the general public. They have come not only from North America, but also from around the world. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the PHS, panels at PHS conferences have approached topics from many different angles. PHS members have been concerned with making peace research relevant to scholarly disciplines, policy-makers, and their own societies.

The Peace History Society has regularly sponsored panels at the meetings of the AHA, the Organization of American Historians, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the International Peace Research Association, and the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. It also has a long history of cosponsoring conferences and events with other organizations. In 2008, PHS co-hosted a conference with Historians Against the War entitled “War and Its Discontents: Understanding Iraq and the U.S. Empire.” Besides serving as an affiliate of the AHA, PHS maintains nongovernmental organization status at the United Nations. PHS is also affiliated with H-Peace, an international electronic network that seeks to broaden understanding about historical and contemporary peace, justice, and disarmament concerns.

In addition, PHS has sponsored major conferences of its own on a biennial basis. The themes of the last two have been “Peace Activism and Scholarship: Historical Perspectives of Social, Economic, and Political Change” and “Historical Perspectives on Engendering War, Peace and Justice.” In October 2009, Winthrop University will host the latest PHS conference, with the theme, “Toward a Peaceful World: Historical Approaches to Creating Cultures of Peace.” Staughton Lynd, the longtime scholar and activist, will give the keynote address.

PHS has been particularly active in encouraging collective research and writing projects. An early example was The Garland Library of War and Peace, edited by Blanche Wiesen Cook, Sandi Cooper, and Charles Chatfield (New York, 1972–1977). Others include Berenice Carroll, Clinton Fink, and Jane Mohraz’s Peace and War: A Guide to Bibliographies (Santa Barbara, Calif., 1983); Charles DeBenedetti’s Peace Heroes in Twentieth Century America (Bloomington, 1986); and Melvin Small and William Hoover’s Give Peace a Chance: Exploring the Vietnam Antiwar Movement (Syracuse, 1992). Furthermore, individual members of PHS have produced a vast body of scholarly work. In recognition of the prolific scholarship in peace history, PHS awards the Charles DeBenedetti Prize for an outstanding article in peace history and the Scott Bills Memorial Prize for an outstanding first book or dissertation in this field. Both of these awards are named for distinguished peace historians and past presidents of PHS. In 2007, PHS inaugurated the Lifetime Achievement Award, and presented it to Charles Chatfield, one of the pioneering peace historians.

Since 1972, the PHS has co-published Peace & Change: A Journal of Peace Research, which remains the major journal in the field with the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA). PHS co-owns the journal with its publisher, Wiley-Blackwell, and Peace & Change reaches 2,232 libraries globally through the Wiley-Blackwell consortia sales program. Most recently, Peace & Change published a guest-edited issue on the Iraq War (37:2, July 2009). Additionally, PHS members receive news updates through a quarterly newsletter, PHS News.


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