Center for the Arts and Humanities

Testimonies in Art & Action: Igniting Pacifism in the Face of Total War

Haverford College
Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Organized by J. Ashley Foster, Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing and Fellow in the Writing Program

Guenica Banner

Please join us for an evening of ethical inquiry and pacifist thinking with the launch of the student digital humanities and Special Collections exhibition Testimonies in Art & Action: Igniting Pacifism in the Face of Total War and a roundtable panel discussion, Three Guineas, Pacifist Activism, and the Event of Total War, featuring Distinguished Visitors Jessica Berman, Farah Mendlesohn, Jean Mills, and Paul Saint-Amour.

This event aims to create a scholarly discussion concerning the themes of pacifism, activism, writing and ethics, forms of resistance to total war, and social justice during the interwar period. It seeks to construct a space where we can think through some of the ways that alternative pacifist narratives have protested the onslaught of total war in the twentieth century, challenging the notion that the only way to fight force is with force.

Free and open to the public.

Contact: J. Ashley Foster jafoster [at]

Sponsored by the Haverford College Libraries, the Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Office of the Provost’s Ethical Inquiry Course Development Fund, the Distinguished Visitors Program, the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, the Writing Program, Quaker Affairs, and the Concentration in Peace, Justice, and Human Rights.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

  • Roundtable: Three Guineas, Pacifist Activism, and the Event of Total War
    4-6:00 p.m.
    The Philips Wing, Magill Library

  • Exhibition Opening
    6-7:30 p.m.
    Sharpless Gallery, Magill Library

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

  • Coffee with Jessica Berman
    9-10 a.m.
    Faculty Dining Room


Testimonies in Art & Action: Igniting Pacifism in the Face of Total War forges a historical juncture with our present moment, illuminating how philosophies of nonviolence contained in art, literature, and action have been mobilized to stage a critical intervention in a progressively militarizing population.  This exhibition juxtaposes primary source materials from the Quaker relief work in Spain, much of which is from Haverford’s own Quaker & Special Collections, with student digital humanities projects that explore the peace testimonies embedded in the literature and art from the interwar period.    

Testimonies in Art & Action recuperates lost pacifist histories and reminds us that there is still a call to embody pacifist views in politics and in the events that are unfolding daily into history.

Visit the Exhibition

Testimonies in Art & Action: Igniting Pacifism in the Face of Total War was made possible by the generous contributions of many. The “Peace Testimonies in Literature & Art” Writing Seminars would like to express gratitude to the Haverford College Libraries.  We would like to offer our appreciation for the Ethical Inquiry Course Development Fund awarded by the Office of the Provost, which allowed us to develop our digital platforms.  We are also grateful to the Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Distinguished Visitor’s Office, and the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship for their sponsorship and assistance.  Many thanks goes to the Writing Program, the Concentration in Peace, Justice & Human Rights, the Quaker Affairs Office, and administration at Haverford College for their contributions and support of this endeavor. Our thanks also goes to the Society of Authors in Great Britain and Southern Connecticut State University for providing access to the digital archives of the Three Guineas Reading Notebooks, to the Library of the Religious Society of Friends at Friends House in London, to the archives of the American Friends Service Committee at Cherry Street in Philadelphia, and to the Royal Albert Hall Archives in London for allowing us to reproduce their archival images in the collage and on the walls.

And a big thank you to students Christina Bowen, Adetomiwa Famodu, Ann-Victoria Isaac, Sophie McGlynn, Marcelo Jauregui-Volpe, and Ian Wheeler for dedicating their summer hours to help with this exhibition.

Roundtable Panelists

Jessica Berman
Jessica Berman

Jessica Berman is Professor of English, Gender + Women's Studies and Language Literacy and Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) where she also served as chair of English from 2006-12.  She is currently editing a Companion to Virginia Woolf for Wiley-Blackwell (due out in 2015) and is at work on a book investigating the role of exiles and migrants in the development of new media throughout the twentieth century, with focus on radio, film, television, and digital media.  Her book Modernist Commitments: Ethics, Politics, and Transnational Modernism was published in 2011. Her teaching and research interests include modernism from a transnational perspective, literature and culture, and feminist and literary theory. She also has a special interest in questions of politics in connection to twentieth-century world literature.

Jean Mills
Jean Mills

Jean Mills is Associate Professor of English at John Jay College, CUNY.  She is the author of Virginia Woolf, Jane Ellen Harrison, and the Spirit of Modernist Classicism (The Ohio State University Press, April 2014).  Her essay, “The Writer, the Prince, and the Scholar: Virginia Woolf, D.S. Mirsky, and Jane Harrison’s Translation from the Russian of The Life of the Archpriest Avvakum, by Himself,” has been anthologized in Leonard and Virginia Woolf: The Hogarth Press and the Networks of Modernism (Edinburgh University Press, 2010; 2012). She specializes in Woolf Studies, feminist theory, 20th Century British and Irish literature, Peace Studies, Modernism, intellectual history, transatlantic cultural studies, and issues relating to the intersections of gender, sexuality, class, and culture.

Farah Mendlesohn
Farah Mendlesohn

Farah Mendlesohn is Head of Department for English, Communication, Film and Media of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England.  Her previous work includes Diana Wynne Jones and the Children's Fantastic Tradition (Routledge, 2005) and Rhetorics of Fantasy (Wesleyan, 2008) and she is editor of On Joanna Russ (Wesleyan, 2009), and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (2003) and The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature (2012). From her academic background in Quaker history, Mendlesohn has also published the book Quaker Relief Work in the Spanish Civil War (2002).  Farah Mendlesohn trained in History with a strong interest in religious culture. As her work developed she became interested in literary and organisational communities and the development of shared rhetoric and values.

Paul K. Saint-Amour
Paul K. Saint-Amour

Paul K. Saint-Amour is Associate Professor of English at University of Pennsylvania.  Saint-Amour's The Copywrights: Intellectual Property and the Literary Imagination (Cornell UP, 2003) won the MLA Prize for a First Book. Amour co-edits, with Jessica Berman, the Modernist Latitudes book series at Columbia UP. He edited the volume Modernism and Copyright (2011) for Oxford UP's Modernist Literature and Culture series and has just completed a book entitled Tense Future: Modernism, Total War, Encyclopedic Form, from Oxford UP, 2015. Saint-Amour sits on the editorial board of the open-access journal Authorship. From 2012-13 he served as President of the Modernist Studies Association, whose fair use task force he co-chairs with Robert Spoo. He works on Victorian and modernist literature, with special interests in the novel, law, trauma, and visual culture studies.


J. Ashley Foster

J. Ashley Foster is Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing and Fellow in the Writing Program at Haverford College. She defended her dissertation Modernism’s Impossible Witness: Peace Testimonies from the Modernist Wars in May, 2014, under the guidance of Jane Marcus.  Her articles have been published in Virginia Woolf Writing the World, Virginia Woolf & 20th Century Women Writers, the Virginia Woolf Miscellany, the Virginia Woolf Bulletin, and Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary Woolf. “Stopped at the Border” has been reprinted in Adbusters magazine.  Her forthcoming article, "Recovering Pacifisms Past: Modernist Networks, the Society of Friends, and the Peace Movement of the Spanish Civil War" will be published in Quakers in Literature, April 2016.  Ashley’s work examines the interrelationship between pacifism, modernism, and war, and tries to recuperate the lost threads of modernism’s pacifist history.