Becoming, Being and Kaleidoscopic Configurations: Laura Dreyfus-Barney, the Bahá'í Faith and Educative Work for Peace - Werden, Sein und kaleidoskopische Einstellungen: Laura Dreyfus-Barney, das Bahaitum und die erzieherische Arbeit zum Frieden

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Abstract

This article explores entanglements of religion, peace, internationalism and empire in some of the educational activities of Laura Dreyfus-Barney (1897-1974), a wealth American domiciled in Paris from a liberal artistic family, who was a prominent and active member of the International Council of Women (ICW) and involved in League of Nations initiatives. The article is prompted by a comment in a letter from Dreyfus-Barney to a Bahá’í colleague in which Dreyfus-Barney refers to her work with the UN as “my non-Bahá’í occupation if you can call it so” (Dreyfus-Barney 1948). This comments suggests that for Dreyfus-Barney, her activities in the pursuit of peace through the ICW, the League of Nations and the UN were so closely entangled with her Bahá’í faith that she found it difficult to separate the two. I underpin the article with Karen Barad’s (2007) notion of intra-action, which Barad introduces to denote that distinct agencies do not precede but emerge (materialize) through the intra-action (the mutual constitution) of entangled agencies (128). In exploring intra-actions of Bahá’í belief and internationalism for Dreyfus-Barney I also draw on Thomas Hippler and Milōs Vec’s (2015) call for a re-writing of concepts of peace through their connections to other European key concepts by viewing peace as a qualified value, which they maintain always means “a certain form of peace, implying a certain domestic and international order” (ibid., 8f.). I draw on sources in the Bahá’í archive in Wilmette (Illinois) and secondary literature on Bahá’í beliefs to situate Dreyfus-Barney as a Bahá’í in relation to the development of the Bahá’í movement and I outline connections between Bahá’í visions of peace and Bahá’í notions of civilization, humanity, unity, diversity, and internationalism. I also discuss the importance Bahá’ís attribute to education in fostering the personal and societal transformations that the Bahá’í vision of peace entails. I then use sources from the League of Nations archive in Geneva and the ICW archive in Brussels to look at the entanglement in two of Dreyfus-Barney’s organizational commitments of the Bahá’í belief in developing consensus as a way of operating in the world. I also unpack Dreyfus-Barney's approach to the reform of cinematography (the art and science of motion-picture photography) through the Bahá’í notion of unity in diversity. I argue that Dreyfus-Barney’s approach to cinematography resulted in a “certain form of peace” configured in ways that both connected to and diverged from Bahá’í belief through threads running through 1930s colonialism and imperialism. To end I use the example of these entanglements to comment on questions of becoming and being when researching subjectivities and when approaching configurations that both connect and diverge.
LanguageEnglish
Pages123-134
JournalBildungsgeschichte - International journal for the historiography of education : IJHE
Volume8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • religion
  • education
  • internationalism
  • colonialism
  • Bahá’í

Cite this

@article{18b74af311d34e649bfedbef2af5c2c5,
title = "Becoming, Being and Kaleidoscopic Configurations: Laura Dreyfus-Barney, the Bah{\'a}'{\'i} Faith and Educative Work for Peace - Werden, Sein und kaleidoskopische Einstellungen: Laura Dreyfus-Barney, das Bahaitum und die erzieherische Arbeit zum Frieden",
abstract = "This article explores entanglements of religion, peace, internationalism and empire in some of the educational activities of Laura Dreyfus-Barney (1897-1974), a wealth American domiciled in Paris from a liberal artistic family, who was a prominent and active member of the International Council of Women (ICW) and involved in League of Nations initiatives. The article is prompted by a comment in a letter from Dreyfus-Barney to a Bah{\'a}’{\'i} colleague in which Dreyfus-Barney refers to her work with the UN as “my non-Bah{\'a}’{\'i} occupation if you can call it so” (Dreyfus-Barney 1948). This comments suggests that for Dreyfus-Barney, her activities in the pursuit of peace through the ICW, the League of Nations and the UN were so closely entangled with her Bah{\'a}’{\'i} faith that she found it difficult to separate the two. I underpin the article with Karen Barad’s (2007) notion of intra-action, which Barad introduces to denote that distinct agencies do not precede but emerge (materialize) through the intra-action (the mutual constitution) of entangled agencies (128). In exploring intra-actions of Bah{\'a}’{\'i} belief and internationalism for Dreyfus-Barney I also draw on Thomas Hippler and Milōs Vec’s (2015) call for a re-writing of concepts of peace through their connections to other European key concepts by viewing peace as a qualified value, which they maintain always means “a certain form of peace, implying a certain domestic and international order” (ibid., 8f.). I draw on sources in the Bah{\'a}’{\'i} archive in Wilmette (Illinois) and secondary literature on Bah{\'a}’{\'i} beliefs to situate Dreyfus-Barney as a Bah{\'a}’{\'i} in relation to the development of the Bah{\'a}’{\'i} movement and I outline connections between Bah{\'a}’{\'i} visions of peace and Bah{\'a}’{\'i} notions of civilization, humanity, unity, diversity, and internationalism. I also discuss the importance Bah{\'a}’{\'i}s attribute to education in fostering the personal and societal transformations that the Bah{\'a}’{\'i} vision of peace entails. I then use sources from the League of Nations archive in Geneva and the ICW archive in Brussels to look at the entanglement in two of Dreyfus-Barney’s organizational commitments of the Bah{\'a}’{\'i} belief in developing consensus as a way of operating in the world. I also unpack Dreyfus-Barney's approach to the reform of cinematography (the art and science of motion-picture photography) through the Bah{\'a}’{\'i} notion of unity in diversity. I argue that Dreyfus-Barney’s approach to cinematography resulted in a “certain form of peace” configured in ways that both connected to and diverged from Bah{\'a}’{\'i} belief through threads running through 1930s colonialism and imperialism. To end I use the example of these entanglements to comment on questions of becoming and being when researching subjectivities and when approaching configurations that both connect and diverge.",
keywords = "religion, education, internationalism, colonialism, Bah{\'a}’{\'i}",
author = "Joyce Goodman",
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N2 - This article explores entanglements of religion, peace, internationalism and empire in some of the educational activities of Laura Dreyfus-Barney (1897-1974), a wealth American domiciled in Paris from a liberal artistic family, who was a prominent and active member of the International Council of Women (ICW) and involved in League of Nations initiatives. The article is prompted by a comment in a letter from Dreyfus-Barney to a Bahá’í colleague in which Dreyfus-Barney refers to her work with the UN as “my non-Bahá’í occupation if you can call it so” (Dreyfus-Barney 1948). This comments suggests that for Dreyfus-Barney, her activities in the pursuit of peace through the ICW, the League of Nations and the UN were so closely entangled with her Bahá’í faith that she found it difficult to separate the two. I underpin the article with Karen Barad’s (2007) notion of intra-action, which Barad introduces to denote that distinct agencies do not precede but emerge (materialize) through the intra-action (the mutual constitution) of entangled agencies (128). In exploring intra-actions of Bahá’í belief and internationalism for Dreyfus-Barney I also draw on Thomas Hippler and Milōs Vec’s (2015) call for a re-writing of concepts of peace through their connections to other European key concepts by viewing peace as a qualified value, which they maintain always means “a certain form of peace, implying a certain domestic and international order” (ibid., 8f.). I draw on sources in the Bahá’í archive in Wilmette (Illinois) and secondary literature on Bahá’í beliefs to situate Dreyfus-Barney as a Bahá’í in relation to the development of the Bahá’í movement and I outline connections between Bahá’í visions of peace and Bahá’í notions of civilization, humanity, unity, diversity, and internationalism. I also discuss the importance Bahá’ís attribute to education in fostering the personal and societal transformations that the Bahá’í vision of peace entails. I then use sources from the League of Nations archive in Geneva and the ICW archive in Brussels to look at the entanglement in two of Dreyfus-Barney’s organizational commitments of the Bahá’í belief in developing consensus as a way of operating in the world. I also unpack Dreyfus-Barney's approach to the reform of cinematography (the art and science of motion-picture photography) through the Bahá’í notion of unity in diversity. I argue that Dreyfus-Barney’s approach to cinematography resulted in a “certain form of peace” configured in ways that both connected to and diverged from Bahá’í belief through threads running through 1930s colonialism and imperialism. To end I use the example of these entanglements to comment on questions of becoming and being when researching subjectivities and when approaching configurations that both connect and diverge.

AB - This article explores entanglements of religion, peace, internationalism and empire in some of the educational activities of Laura Dreyfus-Barney (1897-1974), a wealth American domiciled in Paris from a liberal artistic family, who was a prominent and active member of the International Council of Women (ICW) and involved in League of Nations initiatives. The article is prompted by a comment in a letter from Dreyfus-Barney to a Bahá’í colleague in which Dreyfus-Barney refers to her work with the UN as “my non-Bahá’í occupation if you can call it so” (Dreyfus-Barney 1948). This comments suggests that for Dreyfus-Barney, her activities in the pursuit of peace through the ICW, the League of Nations and the UN were so closely entangled with her Bahá’í faith that she found it difficult to separate the two. I underpin the article with Karen Barad’s (2007) notion of intra-action, which Barad introduces to denote that distinct agencies do not precede but emerge (materialize) through the intra-action (the mutual constitution) of entangled agencies (128). In exploring intra-actions of Bahá’í belief and internationalism for Dreyfus-Barney I also draw on Thomas Hippler and Milōs Vec’s (2015) call for a re-writing of concepts of peace through their connections to other European key concepts by viewing peace as a qualified value, which they maintain always means “a certain form of peace, implying a certain domestic and international order” (ibid., 8f.). I draw on sources in the Bahá’í archive in Wilmette (Illinois) and secondary literature on Bahá’í beliefs to situate Dreyfus-Barney as a Bahá’í in relation to the development of the Bahá’í movement and I outline connections between Bahá’í visions of peace and Bahá’í notions of civilization, humanity, unity, diversity, and internationalism. I also discuss the importance Bahá’ís attribute to education in fostering the personal and societal transformations that the Bahá’í vision of peace entails. I then use sources from the League of Nations archive in Geneva and the ICW archive in Brussels to look at the entanglement in two of Dreyfus-Barney’s organizational commitments of the Bahá’í belief in developing consensus as a way of operating in the world. I also unpack Dreyfus-Barney's approach to the reform of cinematography (the art and science of motion-picture photography) through the Bahá’í notion of unity in diversity. I argue that Dreyfus-Barney’s approach to cinematography resulted in a “certain form of peace” configured in ways that both connected to and diverged from Bahá’í belief through threads running through 1930s colonialism and imperialism. To end I use the example of these entanglements to comment on questions of becoming and being when researching subjectivities and when approaching configurations that both connect and diverge.

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