Testimonies in Art & Action: Igniting Pacifism in the Face of Total War, a two-month standing digital humanities and Special Collections exhibition curated by J. Ashley Foster and the students from her “Peace Testimonies in Literature & Art” Writing Seminar (Haverford College October 6-December 11, 2015), forges a historical juncture with our present moment, illuminating how philosophies of non-violence contained in art, literature, and action have been mobilized to stage a critical intervention in a progressively militarizing population. This show 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.
The launch of Testimonies in Art & Action on October 6 was accompanied by 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 created 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 constructed a space at Haverford College to 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.