Arts & Media Responses to Collective Suffering
The humanities have had a long-standing interest in the social and cultural dimensions of human suffering caused by catastrophic events. Contributions made in this area by traditional disciplines such as philosophy, aesthetics, literature, and history have been complemented by the health and human sciences throughout the 20th century. Since the 1980s the degree of attention given by scholars in the humanities to experiences of and responses to such life-shattering events as incest, war, genocide, torture, and terror has increased at a pace described by some as “explosive”. As a result, several interrelated, inter-disciplinary fields, such as trauma, memory, and genocide studies, have emerged to constitute an encompassing, rapidly-evolving, and hyper-productive network of studies. In the midst of such developments, cultural, media and film studies, as well as the creative arts, have also paid increasing attention to the literary, visual and performative engagement with human suffering and resilience.
As we quickly approach the second decade of the 21st century the historical events that constitute the ultimate referent of so much theoretical and creative endeavour have unfortunately not waned. It is for the same reason more crucial than ever to open spaces for the considered reflection about the potentials and limitations of myriad, sometimes competing, methodological approaches and modes of creative engagement with human pain and trauma. Interrogating Trauma seeks to provide such a space. Keynote speakers, panels and presenters, as well as the accompanying exhibition and performance of art and media works, will consider methodologies, orthodoxies, and openings in order to articulate strategies for imagining the ‘beyond’ of trauma through arts and media responses.
Panel and Individual Paper proposals are invited with an abstract of no more than 250 words, plus a one-paragraph biography of the author/s. Inter- and trans-disciplinarity is encouraged. Traditional scholarly, ficto-critical and literary writing will be considered. Selected conference papers will be peer-reviewed for publication in a special journal issue or scholarly press anthology. Exhibition proposals of creative works that engage with the themes of the conference should contain a brief artist statement and description of the work, including its format and duration or size, of no more than 250 words, plus a one-paragraph biography of the artist/s. Photography, film, video, new media, 2D, sculpture, installation, sound, and live performance works will be considered. Student works are welcome.
Themes include but are not limited to:
Apartheid, Apology, Architecture, Asia-Pacific, Art, Atrocity, Audiences, Bodies, Borders, Catastrophe, Child Soldiers, Cinema, Colonialism, Commemoration, Compensation, Conflict, Counselling, Crime, Death, Desire, Depression, Diasporas, Dictatorships, Disease, Documentary, Education, Everyday, Executions, Exile, Experimental, Exploitation, Famine, Fantasy, Forgiveness, Gender, Genocide, Globalisation, Grief, Havoc, Healing, History, Human Rights, Identities, Illness, Image, Incest, Incitement, Independence, Indigenes, Internet, Invasion, Journalism, Justice, Literature, Location, Media, Memorials, Memory, Migrants, Minorities, Museums, Music, New Media, NGOs, Nostalgia, Oppression, Oral Histories, Pain, People Smuggling, Performance, Perpetrators, Photography, Place, Politics, Post-Colonialism, Post-Memory, PTSD, Poverty, Power, Propaganda, Queer, Racism, Radio, Rape, Reception, Recognition, Reconciliation, Refugees, Reparations, Reportage, Representation, Repression, Resilience, Resistance, Revolt, Revolution, Slavery, Social Suffering, Space, Sublime, Suicide, Survivors, Television, Terror, Testimony, Therapy, Third World, Torture, Tourism, Translation, Trauma, Truth, Victims, Violence, Visual Culture, War, Witnessing, Xenophobia.