Virtual Coffee Hour

The virtual coffee hour is a Peace, War, and Social Conflict section event for a member to present their work, share their experience, ask questions, and receive feedback. Recording of the virtual coffee hour is available on @ASA_PWSC, in this webpage, and on YouTube.

How do I sign up to present?

Just fill out this form to let us know that you are interested in presenting at an upcoming Virtual Coffee Hour.

For more information please contact:

Sehrazat G. Mart (, University of Notre Dame

Past Meetings

March 1, 2024. Activism under Fire: The Politics of Non-Violence in Rio de Janeiro’s Gang Territories

Dr. Anjuli Fahlberg, Tufts University.

Rio de Janeiro’s favelas have become among the most well-known of Latin America’s neighborhoods, under siege by armed drug gangs and invading militarized police. Since the 1970s, dangerous networks between drug traffickers and corrupt state actors have transformed these poor neighborhoods into sites of armed conflict and political repression, limiting residents’ ability to speak out against violence or demand their democratic rights. Despite these challenges, non-violent politics remains an integral element in Cidade de Deus, one of Rio’s most dangerous favelas. In this talk, Fahlberg will describe some of the main findings from her new book, Activism under Fire, which examines the strategies that activists in Cidade de Deus have deployed to make demands for rights and resources while navigating severe violence and political repression. Findings are based on fieldwork, virtual ethnography, and Participatory Action Research she conducted between 2014 and 2020. The talk will provide an account of how conflict activism operates in Cidade de Deus and offer ideas and concepts that will be useful to researchers examining activism in other areas of violence and repression.

February 16, 2024. What Sociology Can Offer for Understanding October 7 and the Current War in Gaza

Dr. Lisa Hajjar, UC  Santa Barbara; Dr. Ori Swed, Texas Tech University

The past and current chairs of PWSC, Lisa Hajjar and Ori Swed,

will discuss how sociology can be deployed to understand the

events of October 7 and the current war in Gaza. Following brief

presentations and a conversation between the two, the floor will

be opened for questions and discussion with the audience.

Optional material that people who plan to attend can read are Dr.

Hajjar's new article, "Gaza Is a Crime Scene" and Dr. Swed's

new manuscript, "Mass Atrocities and Forensic Evidence: The

October 7th Atrocities as a Case Study.” 

January 17, 2024. Comparing the Transnational Repression of Filipino Diaspora Activists Under Marcos and Duterte

Dr. Sharon Quinsaat, Grinnell College

Since the declaration of martial law in 1972 until its downfall in 1986, the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos suppressed Filipino activists in the United States using hard tactics such as surveillance, harassment, and assassination. Marcos was able to pursue hard repression due to the dense and strong relations between the U.S. and the Philippines, which both had interests in maintaining the dictatorship. While cross-border state repression initially threatened the movement, it became an opportunity for the activists to promote their agenda, especially since it created cleavages within Marcos’s diplomatic corps. On the other hand, the populist Rodrigo Duterte who was democratically-elected in 2016 has not actively repressed his critics abroad. This has been mostly due to Duterte’s overwhelming support in the diaspora and entrenchment of his power in civil society. Instead of hard tactics, Duterte—referred to by Philippine mainstream media as “The Social Media President”—engaged in soft repression, silencing activists in online spaces through an army of social media influencers, bloggers, and commentators. Despite divergent strategies of repression due to different historical conditions, both Marcos and Duterte were identical in the manner by which they have called into question the loyalty to the nation of diaspora activists.

December 14, 2023. The Complex Dynamics of Violence and Nonviolence in Protests (Prof. Case) 

Dr. Benjamin Case, Arizona State University

How do we understand violent moments in otherwise nonviolent movements? In Street Rebellion: Resistance Beyond Violence and Nonviolence, which received an honorable mention for the 2023 PWSC Outstanding Book Award, Dr. Benjamin Case unpacks the theory and empirics of the violence/nonviolence question. Using innovative mixed-methods research on riots and nonviolent demonstrations in multiple countries and contexts, Dr. Case argues that political violence is not only common in the kinds of civil resistance movements that routinely get labeled "nonviolent," but can play a crucial role in the dynamics of social change from below. 

November 26, 2023. Hardship Duty: Sexual Harassment Sexual Assault and Discrimination in the US Military (Prof. Bonnes) 

Dr. Stephanie Bonnes, University of New Haven

How does sexual harassment and assault remain prevalent in an organization that has dynamic policies, prevention strategies, and evolving education programs designed to combat sexual violence? In this PWSC Virtual Coffee Hour, Dr. Stephanie Bonnes will discuss sexual violence in the United States military and findings from her new book Hardship Duty. 

In the past thirty years, it has become evident that the U.S. military has faced widespread and ongoing challenges related to harassment and sexual assault. Despite prevention efforts, estimated sexual assaults are increasing, reporting is decreasing, and the problem persists across all branches of the military. Drawing primarily on in-depth interviews with fifty servicewomen, Dr. Bonnes will discuss how masculinity and misogyny are entangled in the organization's structure, policies, values, physical spaces, and culture in ways that create sexual abuse vulnerability. In her book, she demonstrates how privileging masculinity and denigrating femininity at the organizational level encourages harassment at the interpersonal level, how servicewomen are often forced to cope with harassment and sexual abuse on their own--despite policies designed to assist victims--and how women who do report are often treated like institutional enemies, harassed more, and face resistance from the institution.

June 13, 2023. Fighting Better: A Constructive Conflict Approach to Improving American Democracy (Prof. Kriesberg)

Dr. Louis Kriesberg. Syracuse University

Prof. Louis Kriesberg from Syracuse University discusses his new book "Fighting Better." In this book, Prof. Kriesberg looks at how conflict shapes inequality in the US and how to fight for equality constructively.

May 11, 2023. Outsourcing Repression: Everyday State Power in Contemporary China (with Prof. Lynette Ong)

Dr. Lynette Ong. University of Tornoto

How do states coerce citizens into compliance while simultaneously minimizing backlash? In this coffee hour, Prof. Ong will discuss her recent book Outsourcing Repression (2022, Oxford University Press) which has won the International Studies Association Human Rights Section Best Book Award. In this book, she examines how the Chinese state engages nonstate actors to coerce and mobilize the masses for state pursuits, while reducing costs and minimizing resistance. She draws on ethnographic research, a unique and original event dataset, and a collection of government regulations in a study of everyday land grabs and housing demolition in China. Theorizing a counterintuitive form of repression that reduces resistance and backlash, Prof. Ong invites us to reimagine the new ground state power credibly occupies.

March 29, 2023. Decolonising the Sociology of Peace and War: Exigency and Future Directions

Dr. Lea David, University College Dublin

Dr. James Fenelon, California State University, San Bernardino

Dr. Fatma Müge Göçek, University of Michigan

and Dr. Yaejoon Kwon, Reed College

moderated by Syeda Masood, Ph.D. Candidate at Brown University

In answering sociological questions about peace, war, and social conflict we have often overlooked the imperial milieu many sociologists are part of and the ways in which coloniality imprints on our theories. As we aspire towards a more just and peaceful world, distinguished scholars are calling to decolonize our discipline and they caution us against several aspects of "doing sociology." First, research based on Euro-American history and experiences is generalized to provide universal answers. Second, transnational connections between the imperial metropole and the formerly/currently colonized spaces and the impact of these connections on social patterns are understudied. Third, how experiences of colonization and racism relate to peace, war, and social conflict is generally overlooked. Lastly, our theories pay little attention to the role of the imperial and post-imperial societies that we are also part of – e.g., North America and Western Europe - in waging, creating, and supporting wars.

December 10, 2021. Aid Imperium: US Foreign Policy and Human Rights in Post-Cold War Southeast Asia

Dr. Salvador Santino Regilme, Leiden University

Does foreign aid promote human rights? As the world’s largest aid donor, the United States has provided foreign assistance to more than 200 countries. This presentation discusses the key arguments and findings from the recently published book Aid Imperium: United States Foreign Policy and Human Rights in Post-Cold War Southeast Asia (2021, University of Michigan Press, Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies Book Series). The core argument maintains that the convergence of donor and recipient governments’ interests as well as the domestic legitimacy of the donor government shape physical integrity rights outcomes.

November 15, 2021. After Genocide: Memory and Reconciliation in Rwanda

Dr. Nicole Fox, California State University Sacramento

Memorials are powerful mechanisms in transitioning societies from mass atrocity to more peaceful futures. This talk, based on her recently released book, investigates the ways memorials can shape the experiences of survivors decades after the violence has ended. Dr. Nicole Fox examines how memorials can both heal and hurt, especially when they fail to represent all genders, ethnicities, and classes of those afflicted. Drawing on extensive interviews with Rwandan genocide survivors, Dr. Fox reveals their relationships to these spaces and uncovers the micro processes in which survivors’ stories are made central to commemoration and how collective memory can also stratify.

October 29, 2021. Lessons from "The Arab Spring Abroad": Diaspora Activism Against Authoritarian Regimes

Dr. Dana Moss, University of Notre Dame

The Arab Spring revolutions of 2011 sent shockwaves across the globe, mobilizing diaspora communities to organize forcefully against authoritarian regimes. Despite the important role that diasporas can play in influencing affairs in their countries of origin, little is known about when diaspora actors mobilize, how they intervene, or what makes them effective. Dana M. Moss presents a new framework for understanding the transnational dynamics of contention and the social forces that either enable or suppress transnational activism.

March 8, 2021. Teaching Peace in Troubled Times

A panel by Laura Heideman, Selina Gallo-Cruz, Lisa Leitz, and Michelle Gawerc.

In an era of global crises, political unrest, and polarization, peace studies offers tools to help students diagnose and address the serious problems that we face. However, we also face challenges in our teaching-- politicization of peace studies, student despair, and student polarization. In this panel, we will explore the different challenges and opportunities for peace studies in our current environment. Everyone is welcome to join in the discussion.

February 26, 2021. Misconduct and Accountability Gap in Outsourcing Military Functions: A Unique Feature or a General Trend?

Dr. Ori Swed, Texas Tech University

The proliferation of contracts outsourcing military functions to private companies raises serious oversight concerns vis-à-vis regulation and accountability. While critics predict an unchecked industry, supporters have defended the lack of an adequate accountability mechanism by touting self-regulation as a potential solution. Following this discussion, we examine whether the frequency of contractor violations and legal repercussions within the overall contracting industry differed between those in the burgeoning security-contracting community and those in the traditional contracting community. 

December 9, 2020. Shaping Memory: The Effects of Memorialization on Communities and Intergroup Relations

Presented by Ashley Reichelmann

Her research explores how individuals learn about the meaning, and interpret representations, of past racial violence, and how the content and placement of such representations affect individuals, communities, and intra/intergroup relations. Over the past three years she has collected data on the social impact of representations of racial violence in Virginia and Alabama. Her work has three intertwined objectives to: (1) identify and typologize the meaning-making strategies (i.e., related to interaction, family, education, etc.) that individuals utilize to interpret representations; (2) illuminate the ways that social position (i.e. race, class, gender, etc.) matters in the interaction and interpretation processes; and (3) determine how representations impact individuals and surrounding communities on social, emotional, and political levels.

November 9, 2020. Global Social Theory: Laying the Foundations for a Peaceful Global Culture

Presented by Dr. Lester Kurtz

Global Social Thought is an investigation into alternatives to classical Western social theory, an exploration of "The Great Books of the Nonwestern World" and contemporary Nonwestern scholarship. Given the current effort to address structural racism in our global community, the time is ripe to move forward with this project. Human knowledge is so profoundly influenced by the social context in which it is constructed that our theories should not be based exclusively on reflections of the Euro-American experience that provides the foundation for modern social sciences. This project is a collaborative effort that grew out of a workshop on Building Bridges designed to facilitate building alliances between whites and nonwhites to fight racism

October 20, 2020. Incongruent Boundaries: How Intergroup Antagonism Persists in Times of Structural Change, Colombia 1958-2017

Presented by Laura Acosta, Northwestern University

Using a combination of newspaper articles, in-depth interviews and archival records, the author studies the evolution of social and symbolic boundaries between landlords and small farmers throughout the second half of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in Colombia. The analysis reveals that major urbanization and economic growth in the mid- twentieth century radically transformed social relations between landlords and small farmers. Yet, these identities endured and reproduced in the cities. Over the years, interpretations of episodes of violence reaffirmed old biases that became hard to challenge because social groups, as imagined in cultural narratives, no longer interact with each other.

June 12, 2020. Literary Reception as a Medium to Study Double Consciousness under Colonization

Syeda Masood

My research focuses on literary reception under war and occupation. It is based on 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Kabul, Afghanistan among book clubs and oneon-one interviews with book readers. Using Elizabeth Long’s theory that subjectivity is fashioned through reception of cultural objects (2003) and W.E.B.DuBois’ theory of double consciousness (DuBOis 1903, DuBois 1940, Itzigsohn and Brown 2015) which posits that the subjectivity of a colonized subject is split, and through my fieldwork I will show that the reading of books largely meant for European or American readers, while living under occupation, young Afghans who I worked with explicitly manifested double consciousness.

June 12, 2020. The Killer Next Door: Ethnic Violence and Group Relations in India

Dr. Raheel Dhattiwala

Perpetrators of mass violence are often neighbors and, in politically supported violence, rarely convicted. By implication, victims are compelled to continue living alongside them for years after the violence. I examine intergroup relations in context of such heterogenous neighborhoods in India. The topic of my work faces consistent political and academic censorship in India; career advice would also be welcomed.

April 17, 2020. The Language of Peace: Cultural Diffusion in Peace Process Agreements

Presented by Dr. Andrew Davis 

Manuscript coauthors:  Alexander Kinney and Kyle Puetz

Text-modeling techniques demonstrate that the semantic structure of peace treaties has undergone significant shifts from 1975 to 2018 with world society-based language related to human rights discourse becoming institutionalized into the world’s peace processes over time.  Our findings suggest that this language begins to emerge in topic models and the network structure of the text most strongly at a key historic juncture, the end of the Cold War (1990/1991).