Violence 2nd Global Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference
Throughout history violence has horrified and enthralled in equal measure, defining some of our most glorious and most distressing historical events. Debate continues about the nature and implications of violence within our societies even as, in the current political moment, violence continues to define the lives of people around the globe through warfare, protest, political demonstration and discrimination. Although none of this violence is new, the methods and motivations behind it may nonetheless be novel amidst an internationally harshening political climate that has seen not only actual violence but frequently the threat of violence deployed against those in the public eye. Even speech itself has been deployed as a form of violence as social media platforms offer both anonymity and global reach.
Our histories are littered with situations where violence has been argued to be justified, or where it was viewed as culturally acceptable, even praiseworthy. ‘Just’ wars are but one example, and the most obvious; retaliatory air strikes, honour killings, protections of borders, and even simply fear of others have been deployed as well. Influential authors such as George Orwell and Franz Fanon, among others, have historically advocated for the efficacy of some types of violence. Were they right? If so, who within our societies must bear the brunt of this requirement of violence and what impact does this have on them—and us?
Meanwhile, our entertainment media glamourises violent characters—the anti-hero, the mobster, the vigilante—and ‘if it bleeds it leads’ continues to influence how news is reported. How does this shape our cultural attitudes toward violence? What responsibilities does the media have to tackle violence and what does responsible reporting on violence look like in the age of easily shared social media?
Why has violence exerted an irresistible hold on the human psyche throughout history? To what extent is violence a universal phenomenon within societies? What, if any, circumstances make violence acceptable? What factors cause people to be violent? And what can be done by individuals and communities to prevent violence?
Our second global inclusive interdisciplinary Violence conference invites you to explore these and other questions about violence and our societies. Subject to the presentations and discussions which take place at the meeting, there is a possibility for a selective publication to emerge with the aim of engendering further interdisciplinary collaboration and discussion.
We welcome proposals from a wide range of perspectives and voices, on topics including but not limited to:
~ Historical attitudes toward violence
~ Specific instances of violence
~ Violence and gender
~ Media portrayals of violence
~ Gender or racial depictions of those who commit violence
~ Racism as an assumed marker of a ‘violent nature’
~ Gender differentiation; can women be terrorists?
~ Artistic and photographic depictions of violence
~ Violent protest and dissent
~ Hate speech and incitement to violence
~ State-sanctioned violence (war, genocide, torture, capital punishment, etc.)
~ Violence and power
~ How culture encourages / discourages violence
~ Violence as a political tool
~ Violence and the law
~ Ecological and environmental violence
~ Initiatives to prevent violence
~ Justifiable violence
~ Retaliatory violence
~ Violence and reconciliation practices
This conference will feature a stream on activism, protest and dissent. Protest has been part of human societies for millennia. Movements such as Black Lives Matter and Me Too offer a powerful reminder of the continued relevance of activism in the 21st century. While these examples of protest share a common DNA with historical civil rights and gender equality movements, activists today operate in a world where digital technology affords particular advantages and disadvantages that have changed how we engage with protest and dissent. We now have constant access to a steady stream of information about dissatisfaction with the state of our world, who is alleged to be responsible for the situation, and who is calling for change. Consequently, it has never been easier for activists to disseminate messages, educate the public and encourage participation by like-minded people.