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:

Kristin Foringer, University of Michigan (

Past Meetings

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

Presented by Ori Swed

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 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

November 18, 2020. Troll Talk: Cultural Capital, Social Capital, and Habitus in Russian Trolls Information Operations

Presented by Jeffery Baptist. Coauthor: Ori Swed

From 2014 to 2016 Russian trolls utilized social media to run an information operation with the goal of influencing the U.S. presidential elections. This operation was an online astroturfing. Using Twitter data of identified Russian influence accounts we examine this network’s content, looking at how to fake authenticity and gain credibility as real people. We draw on sociological discussions on the role of cultural capital, social capital and habitus to better understand those processes, where they succeed and where they failed.

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

Colombia 1958-2017

Presented by Laura Acosta

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

Presented by Syeda Masood

This article 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

by 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).

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

Presented by Ashley Reichelmann