by Lauren Squires, United States of America
Our first Friday of July began as Dr. Jack Duvall discussed how civil resistance can replace violence and terror. This enlightening and provocative lecture touched on many themes of civil resistance, perhaps most interestingly regarding the concept of power as a transaction. Clearly and directly, Dr. Duvall expressed that power does not arise from threats, but it is derived from the victim’s resistance to it. By placing the true power in the hands of the potential victim, the problem of classifying violence as a form of power is rendered potentially illegitimate. Any ISPI student who entered Friday morning’s class tired or disinterested was immediately engaged as Dr. Duvall effectively commanded the attention of the IPSI community.
Dr. Mary King began our second iteration of the day reminding we “Future Peacemakers” that “If there is no struggle, there is no progress”, a quote from Frederick Douglass. Dr. King went on to recount the events that shaped women’s suffrage throughout the world. Intermittently, Dr. King would highlight specific gaps in current theory or data analysis regarding women in civil resistance, offering encouragement for any future scholars looking for compelling thesis topics. Her kind motivation was inspiring as we all imagined the ways in which we could each make a significant academic contribution to progressing human rights throughout the international community.
Dr. Maciej Bartkowski then gave a detailed analysis of the civil resistance in Egypt that culminated with the 2011 deposition of Hosni Mubarak. The way in which Dr. Bartkowski framed the timeline of Egyptian civil resistance illuminated a narrative in Egypt not touched upon my major media outlets. Egypt is clearly a time tested example of how the continued perseverance that is necessary throughout an invested and peaceful population can change decades of dictatorship and subjugation. Dr. Bartkowski ended the day by giving the ISPI community a test drive of a new civil resistance video game that would provide gamers the opportunity to stage peaceful civil resistance in hopes of overthrowing an unpopular regime. Surely, exposing a population to the mechanisms by which a group can peacefully galvanize to achieve a greater goal using simulation will prove an overwhelming success for the gamers and society at