The role played by cultural producers in remembering and combatting wartime rape has been at the forefront of the public agenda in recent years. In October 2013, Jeremy Szumczyk courted controversy when he erected a life-size statue of a Red Army soldier raping a pregnant woman in a public square in Gdansk. Last summer, conceptual artist Alketa Xhafa-Mripa’s tribute to survivors of sexual violence in Kosovo, ‘Thinking of You’, grabbed headlines around the world. Likewise, Angelina Jolie’s involvement in the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence has been much discussed. The UNESCO ‘Culture of Peace’ programme and Creative Community Outreach Initiative further indicate the perceived links between creative culture, conflict prevention, reconciliation, and remembrance.
This conference seeks to explore this conjuncture through an analysis of international cultural responses to wartime rape and their impact. How have cultural works shaped, supplemented, intervened in, or challenged public discourses about sexual violence in conflict zones? In what way are creative works able to expose gaps, challenge biases, and illuminate ambiguities within official human rights narratives?
A further aim of this conference is to explore the role of cultural advocacy in post-conflict situations. How do creative exercises address and potentially attenuate the lasting effects of wartime sexual violence on individuals and communities? What contribution can art make to long-term processes of truth-seeking, justice, and reconciliation? And to what extent is the aesthetic experience particularly suited to provoking remembrance, empathy, and activism?
References to the aesthetic in the context of atrocity are always uncomfortable and raise unavoidable questions about the ethics of representation. This conference wishes to foreground these issues by addressing, amongst other things: representation and the potential for sensationalism, ideological appropriation, and obfuscation; unintended audience responses and the limitations of cultural representation or advocacy; the power dynamics of representation; and the risks of re-traumatizing and reifying victims inherent in acts of representing trauma.
This conference aims to generate discussion and new insights by drawing together researchers and practitioners from a range of disciplines, including: international relations; peace studies; cultural, literary, and film studies; art and art history. Papers might explore topics including, but not limited to:art and consciousness-raising, remembrance, and reconciliation;
art therapy, cultural advocacy, civic art, and strategic approaches to arts-based peace-building;
the power dynamics of representation and remembrance;
key concepts of human rights discourse such as victimhood, dialogue, testimony, reconciliation, truth, and universalism;
the celebrification of human rights discourse, art and the mass media, art and commercialization, art and genocide fatigue;
the ethics of representation.
Please submit proposals for papers (300 words and 3 keywords) along with a brief biographical note to Katie.Stone@nuim.ie by 15 January 2017. Please note that submission of a proposal does not guarantee its acceptance. Proposers will be informed by 1 February whether their proposal has been accepted.
Registration for the conference has now opened here.
There is an early-bird fee for the full conference of €60 (€35 with a valid student ID) for all registrations received before 15 April 2017. After this point, the full conference fee will be €70 (€45 with a valid student ID).Please note that if you have any technical difficulties with the registration page, you should contact Conference & Accommodation at email@example.com or +353 1 7086400.
The registration fee includes attendance at both days of the conference, as well as lunch and light refreshments. It also includes entry into a screening of the film As If I am not There (2010) and the Q&A with its Oscar-nominated director, Juanita Wilson on Monday evening at 18:30.Intending participants can also reserve and pay for on-campus accommodation (single/twin rooms) and evening meals on the registration page.