The Division of Humanities in the Arts and Sciences is accepting proposals for projects under the Humanities War and Peace Initiative. Funds have been generously provided by President Lee Bollinger. War is, and has always been, one of the major factors in shaping the lives and cultures of people around the world, and scholars in the Humanities have studied it from many angles, including human rights, environmental justice, violence against women, empire, migration, philosophy, religion, literature, and many others. At the same time, war itself is rarely the organizing rubric under which we frame our inquiries in the Humanities. To make war and peace an organizing concept opens up enormous opportunities to address this all-important subject, one that continues to dominate the lives of millions of people around the world today.
The perspective brought by humanists is critical not only to understanding war as an event that has massively shaped human history, but to intervening in its future. If the damage of wars and conflict is ever to be genuinely alleviated, and if war’s inevitability is ever to be challenged, it will require new imaginative structures and habits, and a deep engagement with culture, language, art, religion, and thought.