Helena Meyer-Knapp

Peace-Making: teaching and research. Emeritus Faculty – The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA USA

Helena Meyer-Knapp


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My research centers on peace-making, specifically the factors and dynamics in bringing wars to a real and enduring end.

My dissertation, Nuclear Siege to Nuclear Ceasefire, was completed in 1990. It analyzed the Soviet American Cold War as a genuine war, with combat systems resembling siege warfare of the medieval period. This work presented my first attempts at characterizing the factors and dynamics in peace-making to end a war.

In 2003 I published Dangerous Peacemaking, a description of the ways communities at war decide to end their fighting. It centers on events in the 1990s in Bosnia and Iraq, Chechnya and South Africa, Rwanda and the North of Ireland, and Israel/Palestine. If you want an actual book to hold, it is available through Amazon.com. If you are happy with a digital copy you can download it  here:  DangerousPeacemakingText.

In the last seven years I have been involved in a project entitled History Becomes Heritage. Centered on school field trips to iconic national sites including war memorials and history museums , the research compares the transmission of patriotism and historical consciousness to new generations in Japan, the United States and South Korea. Detailed results on the pages listed to the right. In 2012 the HORN fellowship program in Hyogo, Japan funded an additional month of collaborative research with Prof. Yoko Matusda of Hyogo Prefectural University. Our paper, Improving International Relations at the Grassroots Level: Japanese student attitudes to Japan-Korea Relations”  presents our preliminary findings.

Another enduring interest is justice in the post-war period, with particular attention to post-war amnesty as a pivotal feature of transitional justice. The contemporary political components of this project include the International Criminal Court and reparations as well as amnesty. There is a deeper spiritual component which reaches into religious and philosophical analyses of mercy and pardon.

And while peace continues central to all of my research I will also be developing as a book chapter a presentation I gave two years ago at the Nanjing annual meeting for the Association for Moral Education. The work explores gardens in four different cultures as the embodiment of the relationship between humans and “nature.” The book we are writing together is about Global Citizenship and my contribution has a tentative title –”Gardens: Cultivating a Global Citizen

On this web site you can also find essays written in response to current events and papers I have presented at academic conferences, as well as links to essays published in books and journals. An essay written in June 2013 explores the connections between Guns and Suicide in US politics.