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(‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ image courtesy of the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Centre, Osnabrück)

Welcome to The Centre for Peace History

Peace matters. It has inspired politicians, protest movements, and has formed one of the key normative orientations of modern society. Yet, while the rhetoric of peace is ubiquitous and universal – and is often even appropriated by those who fight wars –, we lack an understanding of how peace has been created, maintained and destroyed across human history.

The Centre for Peace History at The University of Sheffield aims to advance our understanding of the historically contingent ways in which people have thought about and, quite literally, made peace. The Centre is a unique institution, not only in the UK, but also in Europe and the wider world. It is devoted to the inter-disciplinary study of practices, representations and reflections of peace and peaceful conflict resolution.

The activities of the centre are based on a wide definition of peace history that includes at least seven distinctive fields: the history of pacifism, peace movements, anti-militarism and non-violent direct action; the historical connections between democracy and peace; the history of non-violent conflict resolution and of peace-building after violent conflicts; the significance of gender roles, gender conflicts and gendered images for the history of conflicts and peace movements; the history of armaments and arms control; the history of internationalism and international organisations, both governmental and nongovernmental; and the study of images and concepts of peace in the past. These themes are not merely of academic interest, but form a matter of concern and debate among a wider public.

The directors of the centre are therefore keen to disseminate the results of academic research to a wider public, in particular by engaging in knowledge transfer and curriculum development activities in secondary schools and higher education.

Benjamin Ziemann, 2016.