Lectures & Events

Cease-Fire: the Case for Ending War
Louis C. Greenwood Lecture, presented by CISCDR (Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Conflict and Dispute Resolution)
SEP 23, 2009
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Moot Courtroom (A59)

Professor Fellman will examine the standard justifications for war and show how each is lacking. War is a social invention and can be succeeded by peace, which is another social invention. He will discuss three reasons—two of them structural and one social psychological—that war persists in this era.

- One is the gains it means for those sectors of the economy that profit from selling the implements of war, servicing the war machine once it is in place, and reconstructing what has been destroyed in war.

- Second is the pervasiveness of normative masculinity (which he calls "traditional masculinity"). He claims that the warrior is the quintessence and culmination of the qualities of normative masculinity and try to show some of the contradictions and hidden problems there. He suggests how normative masculinity can be reconceived and reconstructed to value avoiding war above making war.

- The third element of the argument is social psychological. Anger is inadequately studied as a major problem in human affairs. It is likely that all societies redirect anger away from its real sources (in family, relationships, work, government, etc.) to substitute objects. Creating enemies and making war upon them is perhaps the most dramatic of these practices.

Prof. Fellman will then make a series of recommendations for how to move past war.
Speaker Information
Gordon FellmanGordon Fellman, PhD
Professor of Sociology
Brandeis University

Gordon Fellman received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. At Brandeis, he chairs the undergraduate Peace and Conflict Studies Program. Prof. Fellman teaches War and Possibilities of Peace, Social Class and Social Change, Marx and Freud, Sociology of Empowerment, Psychoanalytic Sociology, and Sociology of the Israeli-Palestinian Confrontation. In his courses, his book and other writings, the central question he explores is: "What are the sources, in history and in the self's development and inner workings, of unnecessary human suffering? How can it be thoughtfully, carefully, mindfully reduced?"

In spring 1998, Prof. Fellman worked with the Brandeis student group, Students for a Free Tibet, planning and carrying out "Seven Weeks on Tibet," 16 programs that led up to a visit from the Dalai Lama that May.

In June 1998, he published the book Rambo and the Dalai Lama: The Compulsion to Win and Its Threat to Human Survival (Albany: SUNY Press). The book builds from the proposition that until now most encounters have been organized so that the point of them is to overcome the other. This is true for the most part of relations between men and women, parents and children, whites and non-whites, leaders and publics, rich and poor, labor and management, athletic teams, business firms, advanced societies and developing societies, straight and gay, tall and short, well and ill, and so on. Prof. Fellman calls this adversary assumption, that one must strive to overcome or submit to being overcome, the basis of the adversary paradigm. The ultimate expression of the adversary tendency is murder, and that collectively is war.

Historically, alongside the adversary paradigm and in secondary relation to it, is the mutuality paradigm, based on the mutuality assumption, that the other can be a friend, a colleague, an ally. Prof. Fellman claims that a more fully mutualistic society is already at hand, but in minor form that is difficult to recognize until it is identified. His goal is to move beyond analysis, offering hope in the form of visions of mutuality, to actions to help bring it about.
Additional Information
Open to the public at no cost. One FREE hour of CLE credit will be available to lawyers who attend.

Supplemental Readings:
· Fellman Bibliography
· Cease-Fire Preface

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