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[Commlist] Call for Papers: Screening violence: affect, responsibility, accountability
Thu Jan 31 13:25:22 GMT 2019
*/Screening Violence/ will take place on the 4^th and 5^th April, 2019
at The Storey, Lancaster, UK.*
*The deadline for abstracts is the 8^th February 2019.*
*Abstracts should be up to 300 words.*
*Keynote speakers: *
Shohini Chaudhuri, University of Essex, UK.
Alexa Dodge, Carleton University, Canada.
Ashwani Sharma, University of East London, UK.
/“… these violent delights have violent ends”/
Contemporary screen violence is inextricable from seismic shifts in
gender relations, growing schisms in personal and political belief
systems, and a polarization of public sentiment, highlighted in the
Anglo-American West in the election of Donald Trump in the US and the
Brexit referendum in the UK. We have witnessed growing racism,
transphobia, homophobia, sexism and misogyny. Some of this violence has
emerged from ‘obvious’ places, such as in the extreme nationalism of the
alt-right or in the recuperation of power by MRAs. In the media
industries, the Weinstein scandal, among others, has revealed swaths of
sex pests, abusers and rapists living on multi-million fortunes,
reanimating feminist arguments about the ways in which patriarchy and
capitalism are entangled in media industries themselves as well as the
media they produce. At the same time, critical attention has been paid
to the role of austerity, neoliberalism and widening social inequality
in intensifying violent public discourses around race and ethnicity,
migration, poverty, disability and mental health. In such ‘troubled
times’, it is no wonder that screen cultures reveal a new, complex kind
of violence. This includes a range of media, from television, film, and
But the growing media attention to such ‘obvious’ forms of gendered,
racialised, ableist and classed forms of violence raises other important
questions: about the terms on which violence becomes visible, the ways
in which we consume violent images and narratives, and the effectiveness
of visible violence as a political strategy. For example, the Kavanaugh
hearings and the protests that followed, the #MeToo and #TimesUp
movements and #BlackLivesMatter represent an important moment at which
hidden forms of trauma and suffering become visible. But they also raise
uncomfortable questions about whose trauma counts, and what forms of
hidden and exploited labour are made invisible through these spectacular
moments of visibility. There are further questions to be asked about the
ways in which violent imagery circulates through digital media. Do viral
videos of racist incidents, the deaths of child refugees, or those of
sexual violence operate to raise consciousness and bring about change?
Or do they reinforce existing power relations, and further the cultural
and emotional impacts of violence – for example, by securing a sense of
moral superiority of the privileged and safe spectators, while brutally
re-traumatising those whose lives were and continue to be tangibly
affected by such screened brutality? How is violence against some
subjects produced as normal, natural and taken for granted, while
violence against others is seen as unconscionable? How do we account for
the ways in which speaking out about trauma might provide opportunities
for healing and for meaningful protest, while also recognising that
trauma narratives also have the potential to be commodified and
exploited, as well as to re-traumatise? And how is violence enacted in
radical and liberal spaces, through the stigmatisation of identity
politics, say, or the current resurgence of transmisogynistic discourse
in popular feminism?
A contemporary look at violence would also need to ask how the screen
itself now plays a part in the violence. For example, in the evolution
of digital culture from a static, text based medium to more visual and
‘participatory’ interactions, which often enable or encourage commentary
and exchange. How might we think about the digital not just as social
media, but also as archive, witnessing, and legal forms of screening?
Finally, we also address the questions of hope and optimism. What kinds
of positive change can be envisaged through violence? How does violence
allow us to witness and be receptive to challenging inequality? What
kinds of compassion and collectivity form through violence?
This interdisciplinary event invites papers that consider how media
images and narratives of violence provide spaces of care,
wish-fulfilment, and escapism for violated communities, and how trauma
and survival are modelled in the stories we tell. Our focus on ‘the
screen’ reflects our intention that violence is covered by papers in a
way that reflects the diversity of contemporary media and our
engagements with many different kinds of screens. We aim to bring
together voices that offer new approaches to mediated violence: ones
embedded in feminist, anti-racist and anti-ableist perspectives, and
ones that pay attention to the contexts we are living in and to our
positionality with regards to each instance of mediated violence. We
strive to address the affective power of violence on each of us as a
victim/survivor, a spectator, a bystander, or a complicit beneficiary;
while centering our debate on questions of responsibility and
accountability. We welcome contributions from traditional academic
papers to creative/performative pieces, graphics, poetry, and more.
· When does violence become difficult and disruptive?
· How does the widening social, political and economic divide
shape the violence of now?
· Divisions create the context for violence; but how, on screen,
do these ideologies end up facing off?
· How can despair, outrage and shame be harnessed as a political
· How do we define violence, as an affective and bodily intensity
alongside its more physical manifestations? Between epistemic violence
and more material forms of harm?
· How does the sentience of the human and non-human shape violence?
· How does the screen violence of robots mirror the inhuman
treatment of low-paid, precarious or illegal workforces?
· How does the screened hypervisibility of violence create forms
of exclusion and erasure?
· What visibilities are engendered through the intersections of
race, class, ethnicity, religion in the screening of violence?
· How do the affective fabrics of violence shape disabled, abled
and extraordinarily abled bodies?
· What possibilities are opened up and closed down in, for
example, the screen’s engagement with the violence of the marginal or
· How does violence silence or problematize mental health?
Please send abstracts to (screeningviolence /at/ gmail.com)
<mailto:(screeningviolence /at/ gmail.com)>, and contact Debra Ferreday, Adi
Kuntsman or Adrienne Evans if you would like any further information.
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