War and War's Aftermath, Ethical Dilemmas of the Witness (1950-2009), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands
June 11-12, 2009
This two-day international conference, hosted by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands and the Netherlands American Studies Association, will feature presentations focusing on American fiction, poetry, theater, and photojournalism. Speakers will talk about the often-troubled interaction between combatant and noncombatant, between soldier, civilian, and war correspondent, and will touch on all the gray moral areas that such contacts ignites, even into the lingering aftermath of conflict. Because American war in this century and the previous one has been global in its impact, we are looking at a spread of countries where civilian deaths, injuries, and mutilations, as well as the devastation of cities and villages have vividly been made known to Americans. Shifting political loyalties, explosive insurgencies and underlying ethnic intentions within war-torn countries have necessarily altered American intentions, as those who have supported and prosecuted overseas wars have had to balance their policy goals against home front opposition or indifference, while the fraught relations between occupier and occupied have been part of ongoing equations of difficulty. Recent changes in the structure of American military operations, like the introduction of mercenary forces like Blackwater, have also redefined the contemporary theater of war that the conference seeks to explore. Balancing representation and coverage with issues of appropriation, exploitation, and exposure has, in varying ways, marked all journalism, fiction, poetry, and drama for decades.
The intention for the planners of this conference would be to keep it small enough in number and concentrated enough in focus to allow a mix of people to talk to each other and to us in settings conducive to frank and open exchange. The conference will have four sessions, focusing on American fiction, poetry, theater, and photojournalism. Confirmed keynote speakers are the novelist and short story writer Howard Norman and the poet and playwright Naomi Wallace; invited keynote speakers are photojournalist Michael Kamber and poets Doug Anderson and W.D. Ehrhart. It is likely that we will select papers that speak to the works of the keynote speakers, either directly or indirectly. If you would like to present a paper, please send an abstract of between 300 and 350 words to the conference organizers Professor Lorrie Goldensohn and Dr. Diederik Oostdijk (firstname.lastname@example.org) before March 1, 2009.
Lorrie Goldensohn and Diederik Oostdijk
Faculty of Arts
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105
NL-1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands Email: email@example.com
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