Terrorist transgressions: network on gendered representations of the terrorist.
An AHRC funded project – University of Reading and Birkbeck, University of London in association with the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst
Violence, horror and gender - Conference 28 and 29 January 2012. University of Reading
Proposals for conference papers, of about 20 minutes, are invited for a conference: Terrorist transgressions: gendered representations of the terrorist in contemporary culture: Violence, horror and gender to be held at the University of Reading on 28-29 January 2012.
The AHRC-funded Terrorist transgressions: network on gendered representations of the terrorist brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to investigate how the terrorist has been represented in the visual arts, film, photography and the media. It gives specific attention to the question of gender in imagery of the terrorist.
Modern discourses of the terrorist date from around 1945 and were given greater urgency after 2001 following terrorist attacks on America, London, Madrid and elsewhere. The horror experienced in Western societies was the appearance of a new sense of the vulnerability of the body politic, and therefore of the modern self with its direct dependency on security and property. The terrorist has been constructed as the epitome of transgression against economic resources and moral, physical and political boundaries. As Jameson has put it 'the image of the "terrorist"... is one of the privileged forms in which an ahistorical society imagines radical social change', displacing older images of criminals, revolutionaries and even the veteran.
Although terrorism, its contexts, histories and forms, has been the focus of intense academic activity in recent years, cultural representations of the terrorist have received less attention. Yet terrorism is dependent on spectacle and the topic is subject to forceful exposure in popular media. Dissident organisations produce images of the terrorist, for example as martyr, hero or avenger. Agencies, including national authorities, involved in combating terrorism, need to visualise the terrorist in order to give identity to the threat. While the terrorist is predominantly aligned with masculinity, women have been active in terrorist organisations since the late 19th century. Particularly since the 1980s, women have perpetrated suicidal terrorist attacks, including suicide bombing, where the body becomes a weapon. Such attacks have confounded constructions of femininity and masculinity, with profound implications for the gendering of violence and horror. The image of the terrorist, whether positive or negative, is always a gendered one. The primary aim of the Terrorist Transgressions network is to analyse the myths inscribed in these images and identify how agency is attributed to representation through invocations and inversions of gender stereotypes.
We welcome proposals for papers from all disciplines which address themes in the cultural representation of the terrorist and the question of gender.
A short abstract (250 words) together with details of your institutional affiliation should be submitted to Sue Malvern and Gabriel Koureas by 16 December 2011 through the project administrator:
Notification of accepted proposals will be given by 22 December 2011
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