Twelve ISU professors collaborate on book about ‘positive peace’

AMES — For a world that sometimes seems filled with war, hatred and violence, a dozen Iowa State University faculty members have come together to write about the topic of peace.

The book, “Building Positive Peace,” is a collection of essays created by a diverse group of ISU experts. Professor Simon Cordery, who chairs the university’s Department of History, co-edited the book and contributed the chapter called “History and Positive Peace.”

“We are interested in issues around sustainable peace, around positive peace,” Cordery says, “and we draw from across the university, from architecture, from business, from history, from virtually every college on campus.”

Each contribution offers suggestions on how to shift away from our current road, he says, and find the path to peace instead. Cordery says the goal of creating the book was to share expertise and contribute something that would be useful for people interested in more than just peace studies.

Cordery says, “Because peace studies, as useful as it is as a discipline, tends to focus on peace and reconciliation, on conflict resolution, rather than on how do we get to a state of sustainable peace, and then, more importantly, once we’re there, how do we stay there and what do we do?”

He says the target audience for the book is peace activists, environmentalists, climate scientists, and academics with an interest in peace. The authors, Cordery says, see positive peace as a way to encourage people to actively create a peace-filled world.

“What is it that we can think about positively beyond conflict resolution that will help me to understand issues of getting to a state of environmental peace,” he says, “of peace with our past, of understanding where we came from, who we are and where we can go as a peaceful society.”

Cordery says ISU now has an honors course on sustainable peace, and he adds, the Ames campus will host the annual meeting of the Peace and Justice Studies Association in September. The 275-page book is available through Amazon and the publisher, Cambridge Scholars.