Violence and Order

The inaugural research module of the Caltech-Huntington Humanities Collaborations (CHHC) was on violence and order in historical perspective. This multidisciplinary module, which ran from 2016-2018, brought together scholars from Caltech, The Huntington, and other institutions to study the various roles that violence has played in political and social order, as well as the possible norms and cultural attitudes that have governed its use. The module was anchored in the pre-modern world and especially pre-modern Europe. It contributed in important ways to broader discussions about violence in the modern world–discussions that are limited by an incomplete grasp both of modern violence's historical roots and the historical contingency of the terms and assumptions that scholars bring to the table as they try to understand it.

To explore violence and order in this period, the module brought together people from a variety of disciplines. History and literature formed the primary axis, reflecting the scholar mix at Caltech and The Huntington. Collaborators from fields such as law, cultural history (e.g., art history or visual culture), political science, international relations, and terrorism studies also participated. The module placed the modern scholarship on violence against its historical backdrop, which allowed participants to explore both the origins and historical contingency of modern assumptions about violence and order and use the past to help understand the current behavior of non-Western or non-state actors.

The two-year module culminated in June 2018 with a colloquium at the Château de la Bretesche in France, funded by a grant from the Borchard Foundation Center on International Education. Participants considered the theory and practice of violence in pre-modern Europe through a variety of methodological and disciplinary lenses. The colloquium enabled CHHCs scholars to share the results of their research up to that point with European colleagues and to open up avenues for future collaboration in the field.

Violence and Order Workshops (2016-2018)

  • April 9, 2018: The Ethics of Violence in World Traditions
    With Dan Brunstetter, Political Science, UC Irvine; John  Kelsay, Religion, Florida State University; Ping Cheung Lo, Religion and Philosophy, Hong Kong Baptist University; Valerie Morkevicius, Political Science, Colgate University; Cian O'Driscoll, Politics, University of Glasgow
  • Jan 19, 2018: Popular Rebellions
    With Maura Dykstra, History, Caltech; Sylvia Federico, English, Bates College; Justine Firnhaber-Baker, History, University of St. Andrews; Piotr Górecki, History, UC Riverside; Andrew Prescott, Digital Humanities, University of Glasgow; Teo Ruiz, History, UCLA
  • April 28, 2017: Violence + Art: Reflections on the Premodern
    With Heather Badamo, Art History, UC Santa Barbara; Heather Blurton, English, UC Santa Barbara; Christine Chism, English, UCLA; Glenn Peers, Art History, UT Austin; Matthew Sergi, English, University of Toronto; Susanna Throop, History, Ursinus College
  • Jan. 20, 2017: Defining Violence: Texts and Methodologies
    With Elizabeth Allen, English, UC Irvine;  Jonathan Conant, History, Brown University; Piotr Górecki, History, UC Riverside; John Christian Laursen, Political Science, UC Riverside; Dietrich Schotte, philosophy, Philipps-University Marburg (Germany); Zrinka Stahuljak, French and Francophone Studies, UCLA