On December 1, CEDAR received an honorable mention for the 2017 Praxis Award given by the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists (WAPA) at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. As one Praxis Award juror noted:
Longitudinal survey data indicate that participants carried the CEDAR experience forward in their careers. And CEDAR team members have published extensively on their theory, method, and experience. That is potentially a huge impact multiplier, insofar as they are producing resources to help other conflict-reduction interventions to understand and implement the CEDAR approach. Helping individuals, groups, and communities recognize and accept difference as an inescapable, inevitable, and, most importantly, acceptable part of our social experience has to be one of the most important projects anyone can pursue these days. I really admire this team’s dedication to what must sometimes feel like an overwhelming problem.
The biennial Praxis Award is a competition for excellence and achievement in translating anthropological knowledge into action and is one of the most competitive awards in anthropology.
Read WAPA press release
“Yoga at the Nusantara School of Difference”, by Rahel Wasserfall. 2017.
Yoga practice at the Nusantara School of Difference in Indonesia is among the many group activities fellows engage in during a typical program….
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“How to Live with Difference in a Divided Nation: In an Age of Disagreement, Advice for Getting Along,” by Andrew Thurston. Boston University College of Arts & Sciences Magazine. Spring 2017.
Whether you’re overjoyed or petrified at seeing Donald J. Trump in the White House, there’s probably one thing everyone can agree on: the other half of the country has gone mad. Yet despite our sharp ideological divisions, we all have to live together. David W. Montgomery (GRS’03,’07) is an expert on helping people with fundamental differences get along with each other. He says the secret is not to look for common ground, but to acknowledge our diversity—and disagreements. Montgomery is the coauthor of Living with Difference: How to Build Community in a Divided World (University of California Press, 2015) and director of program development for CEDAR, Communities Engaging with Difference & Religion. The book, written with Professor of Religion Adam B. Seligman and Rahel R. Wasserfall, is based on CEDAR’s experiences bringing people of different backgrounds and faiths (or none at all) together. The educational nonprofit runs fortnightly programs designed to encourage people to build a more tolerant world…
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“Broken Politics and the Hope of Discomfort”, by David W. Montgomery. 2017. Maydan. January 19.
These are days desperate for answers. In both practical and existential terms, people are asking what Trump’s Electoral College win – and presidency – means. Does his combative style represent a new populism? Does his presidency give legitimacy to racist and fascist sentiments? Is this a harbinger of America’s moral decay or an opportunity to instantiate a particular moral vision that will aright past indiscretions? Many in our country are uncertain, anxious, and afraid, while others feel vindicated and optimistic. The tension speaks to a divide, not a way to bridge a divide.
Bridging the divide is not about overcoming it, nor is it about acting as if there is no divide. The 2016 presidential election made the division within our country feel insurmountable….
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“The Burkini as a Mirror”, by Adam Seligman. 2016. openDemocracy. August 25.
Last week, the mayor of Oye-Plage in France was so disturbed by seeing a woman in a burkini on the beach that he is planning to ban such a garb from the beaches of his own town. This reminded me of some of my own experiences in the past that may just be relevant to the current debates over the burkini in Cannes, Marseille and other beaches in France.
About fourteen years ago I was in Jordan with my not-yet-adolescent daughter. We were in a goldsmith’s shop in Amman looking at jewelry. The shop was very small, almost a cubicle. At one point six to eight women entered. They were totally covered by burkas; only their eyes were partially visible through a bit of lacework. This was the first time I had found myself in such a situation, in a very small space, surrounded by a group of women of whom I could see nothing….
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“How Big a Threat Is Islamic State in Central Asia?”, by John Heathershaw and David W. Montgomery. 2016. The Conversation. April 11.
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Living with Difference: How to Build Community in a Divided World
ADAM B. SELIGMAN, RAHEL R. WASSERFALL, AND DAVID W. MONTGOMERY
“The authors have the courage as well as the philosophical skills to challenge the sentimentalities designed to help us all to just ‘get along.’ Instead, they draw on their pedagogical experience to provide an account of how difference can be lived. This fascinating book has the potential to change the discussion about how we might live at peace without the peace achieved occluding our rightly lasting differences.”—Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University
“Both valuable scholarship and a practical guide for improving intergroup relations, the material is fresh and the work innovative, with new and illuminating insights. I cannot think of a comparable work.”—David Smock, Vice President of the U.S. Institute of Peace
“This book challenges readers to engage intellectual and human experiential resources to acquire empathy and celebrate differences as part of the knowledge of the self. An interdependent and interconnected reality can be realized when we interact with others in fully authentic ways.”—Abdulaziz Sachedina, George Mason University
Whether looking at divided cities or working with populations on the margins of society, a growing number of engaged academics has reached out to communities around the world to address the practical problems of living with difference. This text explores the challenges and necessities of accommodating difference, however difficult and uncomfortable such accommodation may be. Living with Difference draws on fourteen years of the theoretical insights and unique pedagogy developed by CEDAR—Communities Engaging with Difference and Religion. CEDAR has worked internationally with community leaders, activists, and other partners to take the insights of anthropology out of the classroom and into the world. Rather than mitigating conflict by emphasizing what is shared, this work argues for the centrality of difference in creating community: it seeks ways not to overcome or deny differences, but to live with and within them in a self-reflective space and practice. Living with Difference also includes an organizer’s manual for implementing CEDAR’s strategies in one’s own community.
University of California Press
California Series in Public Anthropology
228 pp. 6 x 9
Illustrations: 27 b/w photos
978-0-520-28411-1 $65.00/£44.95 Cloth
978-0-520-28412-8 $19.95/£13.95 Paper
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CEDAR Director Adam Seligman has been named a Fulbright Specialist at Uganda Martyrs’ University (UMU), where he will spend two months starting in May 2016. During this time he will use CEDAR’s pedagogic approach to help develop a program in conflict resolution and peace studies for UMU’s Equator Peace Academy (EPA), a CEDAR affiliate school. Bringing Professor Seligman to Uganda for an extended period will allow UMU to integrate CEDAR and EPA pedagogy and incorporate it more strongly into the culture of the university as a whole. Crucially, it will allow the EPA to expand CEDAR’s pedagogy beyond the summer programs and to act as a bridge between the university and broader local communities within Uganda.
“Islam and the State in Central Asia”, by Adeeb Khalid. 2015. Turkish Review. September 1.
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This post is part of the CEDAR’s partnership with the UK’s Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), George Washington University, and the University of Exeter in organizing a two-part conference on “Islam, Secularism and Security in Central Asia and Beyond,” part of a British Council USA Bridging Voices dialogue.
Milena Katsarska (BSSRPL) and Margaret Angucia (EPA) interview about the 2015 BSSRPL on Radio Plovdiv – Хубаво е хората да се срещат (Bulgarian), by Galya Miteva.
Read and Listen to the Interview