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K-State Today

November 12, 2019

Oz to Oz Fulbright scholar Philip Dwyer to present Nov. 12

Submitted by Stephanie Jacques

Philip Dwyer

Philip Dwyer, visiting Oz to Oz Fulbright scholar and professor of history, University of Newcastle, will present "Violent Death: Homicide in Global Perspective" at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in Room 207 of the K-State Student Union.

According to Dwyer, criminologists argue that violent death, or homicide, has declined in the Western world from the Middle Ages to the present. Those kinds of statistics, however, hide enormous variations not only across but within states. Moreover, we are almost completely ignorant about the historical, quantitative dimension of lethal interpersonal violence in the non-Western world.

Dwyer's talk will discuss two interrelated questions. First, why do homicide rates vary so dramatically from one country to another over time? And second, why have homicide rates remained relatively high in the United States in comparison to the rest of the Western world?

The arguments used to explain patterns across the world are necessarily different, but always have at their core notions of masculinity and honor, Dwyer said. These two concepts are widely recognized by historians as contributing to high levels of violence across societies as culturally diverse as Japan, Indonesia, Europe, Africa and Latin America. If human capacity for violence is potentially the same, why are some societies more violent than others? Put another way, what circumstances can lead to an increase in homicidal violence? 

This seminar is sponsored by Fulbright Australia, Oz to Oz Australian Initiative, Office of International Programs, Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, College of Arts and Sciences, and the Department of History. 

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