19-21 July 2007, Conference Centre (Weston), University of Manchester
An avowedly interdisciplinary conference, encouraging papers from all disciplines, organised by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts, with academics from performance/drama, social anthopology, politics, history, history of medicine, business (science and technology policies), and International Development Studies.
CALL FOR PAPERS:
The University of Manchester is committed to promoting informed debate on the major issues of our time. One of the most pressing issues concerns the changing nature and consequences of war. Today's news media are full of stories of war, the sources of armed conflict and its impact on individuals and societies. The international conference, War and our World, provides an opportunity to address this recurrent feature of human society.
The conference will take the form of a series of platform debates, conference panels and other events including live performances. We have invited several prominent speakers to take part in the platform debates; Urvashi Butalia, Rony Brauman, Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, and Anatol Lieven have all provisionally accepted. Performance practitioners have been invited from places such as Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Northern Ireland and the Palestinian territories. The other conference sessions are organised around four broad themes (causes, technologies, bodies, legacies) and seven cross-cutting strands (ethics, media, performance, security, population displacement, humanitarianism, memory), with the aim of encouraging maximum flexibility and interdisciplinarity.
There will be various parallel sessions, and our chosen format allows for participants to devise their own programme according to preference. The themes/ strands are outlined below; the following grid will give an idea of what we envisage. Please indicate the cross-section of theme(s) and strand(s) that you feel your paper may fall into (see table on website).
The strands have been chosen to reflect a range of concerns, such as the ethical issues at stake in researching war; the waging of war upon the media as well as the 'war of words'; the ways in which war and peace are performed; the meanings and practice of 'security' in the modern world; the relationship between wars and population displacement; the meanings and practice of humanitarianism in wartime; and the memory and commemoration of war.
Causes: Analysing the causes of violent conflict has a long heritage, from Sun Tzu to Woodrow Wilson's call to 'investigate the causes of war and the conditions of peace'. The alleged emergence of 'new wars' has at first sight challenged this approach. Since President Clinton famously faxed Robert Kaplan's The Coming Anarchy to every US embassy, it has become common in policy-making circles to emphasise the cultural, intractable and avaricious causes of new wars. This theme seeks to respond to such a usurpation of the academic study of the causes of violence and war. It seeks contributions focused on developing a critical understanding of the causes of both the so-called new wars and their 'spillover' onto the streets of Western cities following 9/11 that respond to, and get beyond, the current focus on greed, barbarism and civilisation.
Technologies: The 'new wars/old wars' debate speaks to a large number of issues ranging from the development of new weapons and offensive technologies, and debates about science, technology and the 'new terrorism'. Ethical issues are at stake in each instance. Technology operates in contributing to the displacement of population and to humanitarian intervention in crises of violence. What technological means are at the disposal of societies having to deal with the aftermath of war, such as the need to clear landmines?
Bodies: Pain, injury, suffering, and healing embody the extremes of war. This theme will consider the impact of war on the body and the mind. The treatment of the body is at the heart of ethical questions and of media representation. The suffering body and displaced populations challenge humanitarian responses and security imperatives. War violates bodies, enduring in memory, in physical scars, in trauma. How are memories of war embodied beyond mute trauma? Can performance initiate a process of healing? This theme therefore invites contributions addressing such issues as war and the construction of corporeality; state mechanisms in launching, justifying and ameliorating the consequences of war; how disability is structured and managed in civilian and peacetime contexts; sexual violence as an institution of state/military violence; and the narrative and performative formats in which bodies are represented.
Legacies: The legacies of war continue to affect communities and global politics long after conflict has ended. This strand asks contributors to consider the ethical implications of war in our world. This theme speaks to philosophical and legal inquiry about warfare and conflict resolution. Furthermore, it considers the cultural consequences of representing suffering, whether in the media, in the performing arts or within the field of humanitarian aid. Indeed, medicine, psychology and counselling are deeply immersed in treating the traumatic consequences of conflict. The legacies of war also reach into the politics of international security and affect the movement of populations and how displaced peoples are perceived in the public realm. The politics of memory and commemoration have been understood as the endpoint for studies into the impact of war and conflict. Memory studies cut across disciplinary boundaries and theorise formations of collective, social, cultural, individual, traumatic and national memory. The residues of war produce cultural memories through film, literature, spaces of museums and the design of monuments. This strand invites explorations of theory in relation to specific cases of conflict.
Supported by the Hallsworth Fund, 'War and Our World' has been designed to encourage participation from a broad range of disciplines and to facilitate interdisciplinary conversations. To this end it is being organised by the University of Manchester's Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts (CIDRA) in association with colleagues from the Faculty of Humanities, the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures (SAHC), AHRC-funded project In Place of War (IPOW), Policy Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (PREST), and the Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
Papers from any discipline and from contributors at all stages of their career are now invited. The organising committee will select papers that correspond to the broad and interdisciplinary aims of the conference. Please send outline proposals (maximum 300 words) to Dr Bex Lewis: email@example.com no later than 20 October 2006.
Dr Bex Lewis
Interdisciplinary Research Officer (CIDRA)
School of Arts, Humanities and Cultures
Room A24, Humanities Lime Grove
University of Manchester
Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL
Tel: +44 (0) 161 275 8966
Fax: +44 (0) 161 306 1241
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