In 1795 Immanuel Kant outlined six preliminary conditions for peace between states in his famous essay Zum ewigen Frieden: Ein philosophischer Entwurf (Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch). The Redrafting Perpetual Peace initiative invited academics to engage in the project of re-writing Perpetual Peace to re-frame it for the contemporary world.

Defining and Practicing Peace

This webpage presents the film initiative Defining and Practicing Peace, realized within the framework of the Perpetual Peace Project, which features interviews with various prominent philosophers and practitioners who have been invited to speak to Immanuel Kant’s text and expand upon the issues it raises in relationship to their own varied practices. Segments have been filmed against backdrops that resonate with the themes invoked by their discourse, including monuments commemorating war, deprivation, and collective memory, as well as institutional spaces of policy and international diplomacy.

The film is directed by Laura Hanna of Hidden Driver Productions, Alexandra Lerman of ScibeMedia Arts Culture, and Aaron Levy of the Slought Foundation. The Executive Producer is Gregg Lambert of the Syracuse University Humanities Center. Technology and technical assistance has been generously provided by ScribeLabs.

 

Defining and Practicing Peace – Part 1

 

Defining and Practicing Peace – Part 2

 

Contributors:

Achille MbembeAchille Mbembe
“Not that South Africa has achieved peace, even less so perpetual peace, but in going from the fort to the court we have opened an imaginary. We have set up a new horizon against which we can measure the path that remains to be crossed.” WATCH VIDEO

 

William BanksWilliam Banks
“Responding to the ‘vulnerability’ of the site, Banks explained how inhabitants of cities such as New York are often unaware of measures taken to insure their daily security.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Gregg LambertGregg Lambert
“Kant frames the very opposition between a purely theoretical idea of peace and a purely practical knowledge of peace as a conspiracy between philosophy and politics from the 18th century onward.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Jean-Marc CoicaudJean-Marc Coicaud
“One thing that Kant could never have imagined, Coicaud remarked, was a United Nations in which democratic and non-democratic participants would gather at the same table.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Gerard AraudGerard Araud
“Araud suggested that we have much to learn from Kant’s analysis of the selfish attitude of nation-states, and expressed his concern that the United Nations are not sufficiently united, and are too often defending their respective national interests.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Edward LuckEdward Luck
“There is no other time in history when there has been such a wide dialogue between major military nations, and the fact that this conversation takes place at all is itself historically significant. Peace may not be perpetual, but the effort to make peace is perpetual.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Helene CixousHelene Cixous
“Democracy, like peace itself, is a ‘dreamworld’ that we have to work, insist, repeat, invent and never give up our efforts to change and improve.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Rosi BraidottiRosi Braidotti
“The spirit of cosmopolitanism lends itself to what we negatively today think of as a multicultural society, which so many populist parties in Europe and elsewhere are turning against.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Boris GroysBoris Groys
“Kant envisions philosophical discourse as a neutral space of conversation about peace and conflict, one in which the philosopher speaks from a kind of intranational or immaterial space of critique.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Saskia SassenSaskia Sassen
“In her remarks, Sassen sought to move beyond popular terms such as hospitality and gloabalization, whose ubiquity, she argued, inhibits clarity of thought.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Richard SennettRichard Sennett
“It would be naive to think of peace as a state of relaxation or an end to conflict; rather peace should be understood as a state of constant tension, one maintained and enacted through daily rituals.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Thomas Mayr-HartingThomas Mayr-Harting
“that the current challenges to world peace include nuclear proliferation, humanitarian crises, and specifically violence against women and children, which he spoke of as an unacceptable tool of war.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Thomas StelzerThomas Stelzer
“There is more wealth and poverty today than ever before, but for those that live in poverty this world can be described literally as hell on earth due to lack of clean water, sanitation, education, and economic development.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Kwame Anthony AppiahKwame Anthony Appiah
“Kant was absolutely right in thinking that permanent armies should be abolished, and that while this conclusion may appear impractical, one of the greatest predictors of future war can be found in the vast expenditures necessary to permanently maintain an army’s preparedness for war.” WATCH VIDEO

 

Peter SzendyPeter Szendy
“Peace is always beginning in the here and now in everyday life, as soon as we begin talking, agreeing, and disagreeing. Peace is already underway and always at stake in these discussions which constitute a proto-political way of talking about peace.” WATCH VIDEO

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