Faculty Fellows Program

At the heart of the IPAC academic mission is our fellows program, which serves to support research among Texas Tech faculty whose work addresses issues of peace and conflict. Fellows will be supported to attend conferences and conduct archival research trips, enhancing the research profile of Texas Tech and IPAC. They will also provide occasional papers based on their IPAC supported research that will be published online and possibly through the Texas Tech University Press.

Alan Barenberg

How do societies mobilized for total war make the transition to peace? How do such transitions affect populations connected to forced labor? I am currently working on a project that examines the ex-prisoner Georgii Demidov, whose remarkable life touches on many of the most important themes in Soviet history. An up-and-coming experimental physicist in the 1930s, he was arrested during the Great Terror of 1937-1938. He subsequently spent over 15 years in northern prison camps. After release he did not return to his family, instead remaining in the north to work as an engineer, while also beginning to write short fiction about his life in the camps. Although he was hounded by the authorities, he refused to stop writing. His works were first published only in 1990, some three years after his death. The study of the Gulag, and of Demidov in particular, touches on important themes in the study of peace and conflict. First, it examines the nature of repression and forced labor in a society that was perpetually mobilized for war under Stalin. Second, it analyzes the nature of the forced labor system during the Second World War and the early Cold War. Finally, this project examines a society's transition from perpetual mobilization for war to peacetime by following the story of a single ex-prisoner and his social milieu.

Paul Bjerk

My work broadly looks at postcolonial politics in Tanzania, with Tanzania’s first president Julius Nyerere as a constant reference point. While Nyerere was a committed socialist, he avoided the label of communism, and in fact defined his own theory of “African Socialism” which eschewed Marx’s presumption of class conflict. As Nyerere navigated the Cold War he generally avoided interaction with the Soviet Union, and cultivated his closest relationship in the Eastern Bloc with the outlier Yugoslavia and its independent-minded leader Josip Broz Tito. Observers have often portrayed Nyerere as successfully “playing” East against West in his pursuit of Tanzania’s interest, but that portrayal is more of a hunch than a thesis. In addition to robust engagement of the African scene, Nyerere was continually engaged with Western powers, especially the United Kingdom and the United States, in frank conversations and thoughtful correspondence. But less is known about the nature of his engagement of Eastern powers.

Catharine Franklin

My work deals indigenous peoples and the United States Army in the American West after the Civil War. I seek to move the story of native-white relations past the familiar narrative of the “Indian Wars,” a flawed concept that distorts our understanding of the past. Contrary to popular belief, soldiers and Indians did more than fight one another. Pulled into the indigenous world, army officers on the Great Plains became part of native systems of reciprocity, complemented and fueled native violence, and supported native sovereignty in surprising ways. Indigenous communities remained dynamic and powerful even when under attack; as a result, the army’s success in the West was often local, contingent, and limited.

Randy McBee

My new book project is a collaborative history of humor and the Vietnam War that explores the period of direct U. S. involvement through the more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Without question, the Vietnam War is not generally associated with humor but rather unprecedented conflict during what can only be described as one of the most turbulent periods in U.S. history. But scholars have increasingly recognized the value of humor for studying social relationships and power. The postwar years in particular have been viewed as the exact moment when the political and comic stages began to intersect and just as the war in Vietnam was expanding. During this period humor was becoming a sign of flexibility and compromise and was linked specifically to liberal democracies. Against the backdrop of the Cold War, this understanding of humor and politics not only led politicians to highlight their own sense of humor but also cast our communist adversaries in Europe and in the East as humorless.

Narissra Punyanunt-Carter

My research deals with Interpersonal Communication and satisfaction. I am interested in understanding how people can communicate in order to achieve peace and resolve conflict. I am interested in studying how conflict affects our bodies physiologically, particularly in terms of cortisol levels, which is a new area in my discipline.

Rick Rosen

Professor Rosen joined the faculty after completing a distinguished career as an officer in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, U. S. Army. He was a litigator for a Miami law firm for several years before joining the Army as a judge advocate. Before retiring from the military, Professor Rosen was Commandant of the Judge Advocate General's School, U.S. Army in Charlottesville, VA, where he commanded the Army's ABA-recognized law school. Other military positions held by Professor Rosen include Staff Judge Advocate of the III Armored Corps and Fort Hood, Fort Hood, TX; Chief of Personnel, Plans and Training, The Pentagon, Washington, DC; Special Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, Department of Justice, Washington, DC; Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, The Pentagon, Washington, DC; and Staff Judge Advocate of the 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TX.

Julie Willett

My work aims to uncover a hidden history of humor in the context of peace and conflict that begins most visibly in 1960s and 70s, a moment when the comic and political stage began to overlap in the American popular imagination. I argue that historians have read the public archives with too straight of a lens and missed the ways in which humor and power are inextricably bound to unexamined narratives. For example, comedy became so important for political leaders and movements surrounding the Vietnam War that even the least funny political figures attempted to show a measure of self-deprecation. Scholars have argued that in the 20th century a sense of humor increasingly was attached to a democratic ethos and political flexibility. Regardless of whether you were on the left or the right, those who have failed at humor often appear flat or one-dimensional, a moralizing trope and the butt of the joke. This struggle over the comic/political stage has become even more visible in the post 9/11 era. We live in an age of fear and anxiety but also an age of satire in which humor is not simply a measure of relief that reaffirms the status quo, but a tool for social justice and re-imagination.