Marty Kennedy (Undergraduate, Class of 2022)

Author: Matthew Macke

Majors: Sociology and Peace Studies
Minor: Data Science
Hometown: South Bend, Indiana 

Why did you choose peace studies?

I mean, what a fascinating subject. It’s a methodology for understanding the world. I study peace because it offers an ideology and a mindset that is vital for today and tomorrow. I have a specific interest in two subjects: centering the local context, or making sure that locals are involved in any projects, and intersectional feminism. Viewing the world through these lenses is vital to creating a better society.

You are very active in the community. How does peace studies influence your community service?

It’s definitely a cyclical process. My work in the South Bend community has fueled my desire to study peace, which has fueled my appreciation for working in South Bend. My family has been here since the 1800s, so I have a very rich, deep connection to this city. In the Notre Dame framework, we tend to view South Bend just as a place to do charity or volunteer. Those opportunities are there, but we’re our own sustaining, vibrant community.  

Have any of your experiences come to mind a lot while studying peace?

I worked for an organization called Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem, which has become the Center for Civic Innovation, from 2016 up to 2020. It’s an organization that focuses on sustainable community-driven projects. They always stressed working with the neighbors and not at the neighbors. The definition of success was what the community thought, not what we thought, necessarily.

How do you see sociology and peace studies working together?

Peace is a framework that you can do sociology through, and sociology betters our understanding of how peace works. Problems can’t be solved just politically or just economically. You need massive, comprehensive social programs and projects to address these systemic issues. So what I learn in my sociology classes is closely tied to what I learn in my peace studies classes, and vice versa.