ROCK HILL, S.C. - Staughton Lynd, one of the most outspoken opponents of the Vietnam War who became a peace activist, workers’ rights attorney and prolific author, headlines the Peace History Society 2009 Conference held Oct. 29-31 at Winthrop University.
More than 60 historians from around the world will participate in the conference, titled “Toward a Peaceful World: Historical Approaches to Creating Cultures of Peace.” The society is an affiliate of the American Historical Association, the professional association for all historians.
Conference Chair Virginia Williams, Winthrop associate professor of history, said presentations will cover a wide range of topics during the three days. Discussions include: soldier dissent in Vietnam compared to the U.S. Iraq wars, spread of peace through service learning and civic engagement, the activist woman and the culture of peace, energy issues, spirituality and ethics in the creation of peace cultures, and peacemaking in the Middle East and Africa.
Gregory Crider, chair of the Department of History, noted: “This conference is a wonderful opportunity for Winthrop faculty, students and the Rock Hill community not only to hear scholarly presentations but also to brainstorm about ideas about peacemaking and to learn lessons from the past.”
The conference also will touch on U.S. Foreign policy and how Americans can think critically about this country's role in the world. More than a dozen Winthrop history, sociology, political science and art professors are helping moderate the sessions.
Lynd will speak during the Friday night banquet. He is the son of two of America's most famous sociologists, Helen Merrell Lynd and Robert S. Lynd, the authors of “Middletown,” the study of an industrial American city about class structure influencing life styles.
Shunned by academe, Staughton Lynd lost his teaching job at Yale University for his vocal protests and visit with other activists to Hanoi, Vietnam. He turned to the practice of law and battled for workers' rights during the 1980s and 1990s against corporate America. Over the years he has written books on class conflict, steel mill closings, labor law, liberation theology for Quakers, prison uprisings and nonviolence in America.
The Youngstown, Ohio, resident has remained active as an attorney, taking on a broad range of cases, including those concerning disabled and retired workers. His newest book, a memoir of his life with his wife, Alice, was released in January 2009 and is titled “Stepping Stones: Memoir of a Life Together.”
Members of the public can register for the conference between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Johnson Hall or before noon on Friday in Sims Science Building. To attend the entire conference, costs are $57.50 for faculty, $30 for students and $115 for non-faculty. There would be no charge to attend a session or two. For more information, call the Department of History at 803/323-2173.