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I will be attending my fiftieth college reunion this weekend. We will not be trying to recapture the politics of those turbulent times. Instead, we will try to figure out what we can contribute to creating a more just and peaceful world in the time we have left. And, we'll also have time to spend with each other and, yes, do some reminiscing.
I've done a lot of thinking about aging, milestones, and accomplishments lately. I just sent off what may well be my last book. I'm helping plan my fiftieth college reunion. I used to be the youngest person in the room when I started teaching; now, I'm often the oldest one when I'm in a meeting.At the same time, I'm no where near ready to retire. I have too much energy and the world has too many problems for me to hang it up and go play shuffleboard and go on cruises. So, here are some thoughts
Doug Irvin-Erickson and I are in the home stretch of writing our peace and conflict studies textbook. That means that we have two challenges. Finishing the few topics we haven’t fully covered yet. Pulling the whole thing together so that in a way that grabs the attention of its readers. Although we had planned to focus on the former for the next few weeks, our bosses (aka our editors) asked us to do the latter. In the end, we realized we have been writing an unusual book because we felt the need to make it interesting, challenging, and empowering. Unusual, interesting, challenging, and empowering are rarely words one associates with textbook, so I thought it would be useful to spell out why we are doing so in a blog post that will, in turn, help us polish the final draft of the all-important first chapter.
Ten days ago, I attended the Northeastern meeting of the International Studies Association to give a paper. Afterward, I stayed long enough to attend one more panel. I chose one on gender because I knew I would be writing about its role in peacebuilding in my textbook sometime in the next few weeks. It was a great choice because a number of the presentation forced me to (re)think about the role of gender in international relations in general and how we peacebuilders have (and haven’t) dealt with it. Three issues stood out, all of which will appear in expanded form in the book.
I just ended a hectic month of traveling with two conferences in the space of a single weekend. I presented a paper on corruption and peacebuilding at the Northeast Regional meeting of the International Studies Association that wasn’t half as interesting as a panel on gendered approaches to international relations which I’ll write about next week. Far more interesting in the short run was the day I spent with a group of community college teachers who were attending an annual conference organized by David Smith. I try to attend whenever I can, but this year I had to drag myself onto the Metro yesterday morning, because I was exhausted from all of the travel and meetings….