War and Peace lectures bring attention to world issues

English 304 is not the everyday college level English reading and writing course. English 304 is an upper-division interactive public lecture series called the War and Peace Lecture Series. 

The War and Peace Lecture Series is a multi-disciplinary program that discusses important current world issues including state crimes against democracy, power and promise of non-violent movements, the scientific underpinnings of modern welfare, and peace and sustainability. 

It provides Sonoma State campus and community with a line-up of remarkable speakers and topics regarding political unrest and non-violent solutions to conflict.

The War and Peace Lecture Series is a semester-long academic course which began on Aug. 26 and concludes on Dec. 6. This series is hosted by English professor Tim Wandling and is one of the many diverse groups of Sonoma State professors and faculty involved in the program.

The first lecture held on Aug. 26 in Warren Auditorium of Ives 101 was presented by professor of political science, Andy Merrifield. Merrifield discussed the tension between open government and demands for security.

Senior communications student and intern for the War and Peace Lecture Series, Kaitlyn Stauber, attended this lecture. Stauber enjoyed the presentation and believes that, “students need to be aware” of issues affecting the world.

The War and Peace Lecture Series began at Sonoma State University in 1986. The purpose of this lecture series is to open and enrich the minds of the Sonoma State University community and inspire political, social and economic growth and change. 

The syllabus of English 304 states: “It is the business of us all, as responsible citizens, to concern ourselves with the actions that our government takes in our name. We, in the US, have the opportunity that is denied to citizens of many countries to participate in setting the direction of our government’s policies, and to control the political, social and economic environment in which we live.”

Some of the previous topics that have been discussed include weapons of mass destruction, the media politics of war and state crimes against democracy. 

The War and Peace Lecture Series began its Fall 2014 session with political science professor, Andy Merrifield, sharing his understanding of the Intelligence Community in a democracy.

Merrifield’s talk focused on the 3 main ideas: constitutionalism, the social contract and popular sovereignty. 

According to Merrifield, the constitutionalism idea means that, “just because you are freaked out does not mean one can go around shooting people just because they look like they have committed a crime.” 

Merrifield ended his lecture by saying that he feels that the government needs to inform the public, the democracy, of their ideas and strategies to alleviate some of the tension that the public feels against the government.

In the next lecture in the War and Lecture Series today, Professor of Sociology, Peter Phillips will share his perspective on the US-NATO Global Empire.

Find recaps of the lectures on the War and Peace Series on the its Facebook and Twitter pages and see the link listed below for a complete schedule of the lecture speakers and topics for this year’s line-up, visit the Sonoma State Website.