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CFP: Emerging Consequences: A Two-Day Symposium on Aesthetics in the Aftermath of Atrocity

“The darkening of the world makes the irrationality of art rational: radically darkened art.” – Theodor Adorno

What emerges in the aftermath of war? What are the aesthetic consequences that arise in the wake of mass atrocity? What impact do these consequences have on our understanding of generic categories? Working on these questions in the 21st century necessitates new ways of imaginatively representing trauma and conflict, as well as new ways of making sense of these representations. Atrocities–The Holocaust, The Balkan Wars, The Rwandan Genocide, the Cambodian Killing Fields, and the ongoing crisis of Syria–constitute an urgent appeal for the creation of a new artistic vocabulary, including a theoretical reevaluation of generic categories (such as media studies, literature, music) and their limits and possibilities. These newly imagined relationships reconfigure the way we think about aesthetics, and engender an increased and invigorated fluidity among established disciplinary structures.

The Salem State University Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Massachusetts invites proposals for an interdisciplinary symposium that will engage with contemporary discourses produced about aesthetics and representation in the aftermath of war, genocide and mass atrocity. We seek papers that focus on specific forms of post conflict representation, as well as those that rigorously examine the ways in which the discourse of representation itself is shaped and reconfigured by these new and disruptive forms. Papers are encouraged from scholars at the doctoral and post-doctoral level in the Humanities, the Fine Arts, and the Social Sciences.

Papers will draw from specific areas of study such as: prose fiction/poetry; film/photography; visual art; performance art; museum studies/new materialism, and mixed media studies.

The keynote address will be given by Dr. Robert Eaglestone (Royal Holloway, University of London).

Robert Eaglestone is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London, and was Deputy Director of the Holocaust Research Institute there. He works on contemporary literature and literary theory, contemporary philosophy and on Holocaust and Genocide studies. He is the author of six books including The Holocaust and the Postmodern (Oxford 2004), Studying Literature (Routledge 2016) and The Broken Voice: Reading Post-Holocaust Literature (Oxford 2017) and the editor or co-editor of seven books more, including Teaching Holocaust Literature and Film (Palgrave 2008) and The Future of Trauma Theory (Routledge 2013). He is the Series Editor of Routledge Critical Thinkers and his work has been translated into five languages and he has spoken widely at universities and conferences in the UK, the USA and Europe. In 2014 he won a National Teaching Fellowship Award.

Please submit a 250 word abstract to chgsconference@salemstate.edu by Monday, April 30th, 2017. Submissions should include your full name, position/rank, university affiliation, e-mail address, and short bio (about 150 words). There is no symposium fee. There is limited travel funding; please alert us of your needs in your proposal (first priority will be given to graduate students from outside of the U.S.)

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