Dr. Andrew R. Smith was recently awarded the Pennsylvania Communication Association's 2016 Donald Ecroyd Research and Scholarship Award?. He received the award Saturday, Sept. 24, at Blackington Hall on Pitt-Johnstown's campus, where the PCA conference was being held. The Donald Ecroyd Award is given each year for outstanding research and publication in the communication field.
“[It’s] quite an honor,” Dr. Smith said regarding the award and his scholastic endeavors. “My current research is about enmity, the enemy making process and how that develops psychosocially. My recent research has focused on intractable conflict in Morocco and the Western Sahara and on the struggle for democracy and recognition, focusing on human rights in authoritarian regimes. I just edited a book, Radical Conflict: Essays on Violence, Intractability, and Communication. It's nice that these recent works as well as some of my more theoretical work are being recognized this way." Dr. Smith presented his paper “Impassable Peace: Enmity and the Matrix Figure of Intractability” during the plenary session of the PCA pre-conference, prior to the awards ceremony. “The intractability problem? How people and groups are unable to get out of perceiving the other as enemy even if violence has stopped -- if physical violence ends, it typically gets transformed into structural violence for those who are the weaker party,” explained Smith.
“Injustice is a universal phenomenon, people are damaged and wronged all the time and those who suffer don’t have a means to be heard,” said Smith. “I have tried to create means by which their plight can find language, be expressed in some idiom - art, chromatic means… As a (perhaps activist) scholar I want to be able to respond to that without speaking for them… [I’m] just one drop in the ocean of voices that are being raised against exploitation of vulnerable people.”
“My teaching informs my scholarship and my scholarship informs my teaching. That’s one of the advantages of being at an institution like Edinboro where both teaching and research are honored and valued. [The institution] values teaching as the main mission of the university and encourages research in ways that it can help inform teaching and generate knowledge -- and that’s my idea of scholarship,” said Smith.
“Dialogue [and interaction with students] has always enlivened me… getting the perspectives on material from students who see things that I didn’t see. Students come into the program from so many backgrounds, non-traditional, international, some who are refugees of wars and other disasters … and so my work has come to also resonate with their experiences and perspectives. To me, that’s the greatest affirmation that I can obtain for my work, and it encourages me to do even more,” he said.