Redrafting Perpetual Peace

An initiative to re-frame the idea of perpetual peace for the contemporary world

In 1795 Immanuel Kant outlined six preliminary articles for perpetual peace between states. More than 200 years later, Redrafting Perpetual Peace project encourages to re-think Kant’s six basic conditions for peace. Through a collection of short films and critical essays the project asks: how can we re-frame the idea of perpetual peace for the contemporary world? The initiative is convened by the Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University as a part of Perpetual Peace Project in association with the Syracuse University Humanities Center. A collection of essays and films is published online at http://redraftingperpetualpeace.org.

The original Kant’s document Zum ewigen Frieden: Ein philosophischer Entwurf (Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Scetch) contains six Preliminary Articles for creating perpetual peace among states, and several Supplementary Articles. The contributors to the Redrafting Perpetual Peace project were asked to take six Preliminary Articles – the main conditions for perpetual peace – and critically reflect on them, taking into account the economic, social and political realities of today. The articles were re-drafted by renown scholars from different academic fields: Gregg Lambert, Patrick Hanafin, Louis Kriesberg, Adam Gearey, Paul Patton and William C. Banks.  

These revised articles are to be engaged with and alongside a series of six short films Towards Perpetual Peace: Academics, Art and Activism, directed by Janina Pigaht, Artist in Residence at the Centre for the Humanities. The main question explored through the films is: how can we translate Kant’s academic discourse to induce discussions on peace between the academic & the artist? Starting with Kant’s original six conditions for peace as a framework, N. Pigaht interviews Karen Armstrong, Catherine Hall, Kevin Bales and Jolle Demmers on the idea of Peace, what can be considered peaceful initiatives, and what does it mean to be a peaceful academic.

Both the re-drafted articles and short films are published on the website http://redraftingperpetualpeace.org. The revised Preliminary Articles, together with other contributions, are to be published in a volume Re-Drafting Perpetual Peace, edited by Rosi Braidotti (Utrecht University) and Gregg Lambert (Syracuse University), later in 2014.

Redrafting Perpetual Peace is an initiative of Perpetual Peace Project in association with the Syracuse University Humanities Centre. Perpetual Peace Project is an international research and cultural program of the Syracuse University Humanities Center in partnership with the Slought Foundation (Philadelphia, PA) and the European Union Institutes of Culture; and, in the second phase beginning in 2011, with initiatives in Seoul, Korea in spring 2012 and with the Centre for Humanities at Utrecht University and the Treaty of Utrecht Foundation (the Netherlands) in 2011 – 2013.

The Perpetual Peace Project in a nutshell

  • aims to change the idea that “Peace” is an abstract concept, and instead introduce it as a relevant and necessary discussion in society today.
  • began in 2008 in New York with a series of public initiatives and media outlets based on the re-publication of Kant’s original 1795 treatise, that provoked a renewed conversation on the possibility of peace.
  • Many academics, public intellectuals, diplomats, and activists have taken part in various initiatives and public documents, including video interviews.
  • See: www.perpetualpeaceproject.org
  • Additional symposia, workshops, and exhibits have taken place around the world in Seoul, Korea & Rwanda.

 The Perpetual Peace Project, which began in 2008 with a series of public initiatives and curatorial interventions, was based on the re-publication of Kant’s original 1795 treatise: Zum ewigen Frieden: Ein philosophischer Entwurf. Using different media and formats to provoke a renewed conversation on the possibility of peace as a shared contemporary horizon[1]

The Project as it has been conceived, is an academic, civic and artistic movement. Its intent is to stimulate dialogues on peace on camera and off and finds collaborations in initiatives and artworks that in fact are creating preconditions for peace in music, food, or film. For an overview of the different initiatives of the project since its launch in 2008, please visit the Syracuse University Humanities Centre website at http://www.syracusehumanities.org

Since the launch of the project in Utrecht in 2011, the centre for the Humaniites has been invested in creating forums and events on Perpetual Peace.


[1] The Perpetual Peace Project is an international research and cultural program of the Syracuse University Humanities Center in partnership with the Slought Foundation (Philadelphia, PA) and the European Union Institutes of Culture, and; in the second phase, beginning in 2011, with initiatives planned in Seoul, Korea in spring 2012 and with the Centre for Humanities at Utrecht University and the Treaty of Utrecht Foundation (the Netherlands) in fall 2013.

Original Designs by Aaron Levy of Slought Foundation and architect/designer Ken Saylor. The media excerpts featured at www.perpetualpeaceproject.org are directed by Laura Hanna, Alexandra Lerman, and Aaron Levy with Gregg Lambert, Executive Producer.