"Mennonite Peacemaking: History and Current Challenges"
This workshop, in both lecture and discussion format, will guide participants through a historical overview of MC and GC Mennonite peacemaking efforts from the 1930s through the 1970s. Secondly, it will focus on the current challenges we face to remain a people of peace in a nation that can go to war without demanding much sacrifice from most of its citizens. Can we be more proactive with our peace witness or are we irrelevant? Participants will have an opportunity to discuss such questions while receiving a deeper understanding of the historical development of the recent Mennonite peace position.
"'The Hard Hand of War': The US Civil War as Total War"
Explores the transformation of the American Civil War from a struggle in which, in its beginning, most participants from President Lincoln on down sought to limit its destructiveness. Then, with the politics of the Emancipation Proclamation as a central focus, the lecture surveys the shifting series of political and military events in the latter two years of the war under which pivotal military figures like Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman unleashed what Sherman called 'the hard hand of war" against the southern civilian population. In this manner, Bush argues, the Civil War set the patterns for the total wars of the 20th century.
"Corporate Power and American Democracy: the Case of Lima, Ohio"
In this lecture Bush outlines something of his argument in his recently published book Rust Belt Resistance: How a Small Community Took on Big Oil and Won, exploring the basic question of the degree to which, in an era of globalization, individual communities can still imagine themselves as masters of their own economic futures. Focusing on Lima, Ohio, the lecture recounts the events unfolding there when British Petroleum announced late in 1996 that it would close and demolish its refinery there—which at the time employed 500 people with a $31.5 million payroll— and economic desperation loomed. Lima's story, however, deviated from the usual sad narrative of other Midwest plant closures and began to assume a drama of its own. Led by an unlikely cast of characters—an uncommonly stubborn set of civic leaders, a conservative local newspaper publisher, and the city's determined and progressive mayor—Lima refused to take its place quietly on the industrial scrap heap. In a story replete with a number of dramatic twists and turns, Bush describes how this collection of individuals led a resistant multinational corporation to a financial deal it could not refuse, located an acceptable buyer for the refinery, and saved not only a sizable share of the city's financial foundation but also the community's identity and self-respect. This lecture should draw the attention of business and community leaders, scholars, and anyone interested in the continuing viability of American industrial cities.
“The Life, Message and Witness of C. Henry Smith”
In this presentation, Dr. Bush outlines the life of C. Henry Smith (the focus of his new biography of Smith, published in September 2015 by Herald Press). Smith (1875-1948) emerged from an Amish Mennonite boyhood on the plains of Illinois to one of the Mennonite church’s foremost intellectuals. He was the author of a number of books on Anabaptist/Mennonite history, which became perhaps the premier ways his Mennonite people learned their shared past through much of the twentieth century. Hence, Bush explores his development as a historian and a scholar. Less well-known, perhaps, are other aspects of Smith’s life and career which rendered him such a powerful and leading voice among American Mennonites in the first half of the century. In his lecture, Bush uncovers these as well. First, there was Smith’s emergence as a leading Mennonite public intellectual and his efforts to carry Mennonite peace concerns into the public sphere. Secondly, Bush also explores the way Smith functioned as a powerful public advocate for Mennonite unity in a time of deep division across the church.