Performing peace
: applied performance and scriptural reasoning as a peacebuilding process

  • Jennifer Verson

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    In this research I explore the potential for building religious peace through the public performance of Scriptural Reasoning. This research develops Scriptural Reasoning in three innovative ways: locating it within the context of cultural heritage; considering it as a model of contextual theology; and applying performance to engage a larger audience. I have called his innovation Applied Performative Scriptural Reasoning (APSR). This thesis argues that APSR exemplifies peacebuilding in the dispersed contexts where religious violence is produced. The case study centres on Pre Holocaust Jewish Cultural Heritage from Czechia and the potential of the Czech Torah Scrolls to perform the history of European religious diversity.

    My methodological framework addressed the urgency of integrating theology into religious peacebuilding. I developed a dual praxis framework for arts and religious peacebuilding which brought together contextual theology and Qualitative Inquiry in Everyday Life (QIIEL). QIIEL enabled me to integrate the cycles of action and reflection of doing theology with the frameworks of pragmatist informed social science research. This included 10 Semi structured interviews visual and sensory ethnography, analytical writing, three Performative Scriptural Reasoning sessions and three public interreligious performances My pragmatist epistemological stance and ontology of interconnection resourced my critical use of multiple methods.

    APSR provided insights into intrareligious conflicts and the pedagogical functions of Scriptural Reasoning especially its capacity to build skills in negotiating difference. Based on the understanding that Scriptural Reasoning builds peace through repairing polarising discursive habits, I demonstrate that APSR amplifies and disseminates new habits of liberative difference through performance and thus engages a wider audience. Additionally, my new model, the Pastoral Double Helix, holds potential to resource gender equality in religious peacebuilding.
    Date of AwardApr 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SponsorsUnited Nations Association of Civilizations
    SupervisorSariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (Supervisor), EJ Milne (Supervisor) & Chris Shannahan (Supervisor)

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