Winter Symposium 2021
“Narrating Violence: Making Race, Making Difference”

In collaboration with The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights, and Conflict Prevention at the American University of Paris and with Study Circle 9, Comics and Society: Research, Art, and Cultural Politics’

15–17 March in Turku
29–31 March in Paris

The symposium is planned as a hybrid event (with both online and face-to-face participation, depending on the sanitary situation).

Keynote recording: Gérard Noiriel (EHESS): The Rhetoric of Hate

This symposium will explore questions on the production, practice, and instrumentalization of violent narratives about racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual, and political minorities and groups. While multiple theoretical perspectives will be included in both locations, the symposium will have a broader international focus at the American University of Paris and will facilitate discussions primarily pertaining to the Nordic and Baltic sphere at the University of Turku.

We are interested in bringing together international scholars from multiple disciplines in order to investigate the role of narratives as a resource for motivating, justifying, and rationalizing structural violence, discrimination, and even mass violence or genocide. How and why are such narratives produced and disseminated? Are there common themes or patterns across cultures and cases? How do they derive their power? Why do persons and social groups subscribe to them? Are certain groups or persons more predisposed to appropriating these narratives? Are there ways to dissemble them? In order to explore these questions, we welcome papers that examine the language of stigmatisation, pollution, and discrimination from broad historical and geographical perspectives. We encourage papers that address the influence of fictional and non-fictional representations, oral histories and legal proceedings as well as the work of activist movements that attempt to counter violent narratives and reflect on how to shape possible, multicultural, inclusive futures.

More information on the Symposium programme can be found here


Summer Symposium 2020
“Written on the Body: Narrative (Re)Constructions of Violence(s)”
Online Traces Format
27 July–2 August

What is a trace?

A trace is defined as the outcome of our Study Circle’s activities in the Summer Session 2020. A trace is documented and can be archived or presented as a form of evidence. A trace can have a variety of formats: it can be an article written or co-written by you or a discussion held among our Circle’s members; it can be a virtual meet-up or a localised interdisciplinary micro meet-up between members of different circles in a form that is permitted; an online podcast or interviews. The format is not restricted in any way. As the Circle’s coordinators we will evaluate the potential outcome, creative and academic contribution, quality and shareability of the proposed traces.

Traces can be found here

We invited proposals for traces that addressed how bodies becomes subjects and objects of violence and how, by simply ‘being’, they narrate their traumatic experience. But how do bodies narrate violence(s)? Our understanding of a body is purposefully broad and includes the human and nonhuman, the organic and inorganic, and their diverse material or corporeal forms. We are therefore engaging with bodies that are human, animal, vegetal, natural and technological; that are both singular and collective (i.e. the social body); that are situated in both the physical and virtual space; and that express naturecultural entanglements (Haraway 2003). To consider the materiality of violence implies attending to its trans-corporeal intersections and therefore addressing its inseparability from the ‘environment’—a network of relations (human and nonhuman), phenomena and space (e.g. the home, the neighbourhood, the city) that foster, produce, perform, and ultimately bear witness to violence. Hence, inspired by Catriona Sandilands (2019), we envisage the entangled forms of violence done to human and nonhuman bodies as metonymic and intersectional. Our ambition is to engage with the imaginative (re)constructions of (human/nonhuman/social/natural/technological) bodies that perform or experience violence; with how they reproduce the intertwining of gender, power, agency and heteropatriarchal capitalism; and with their contribution to ethics, aesthetics, and politics. Finally, in addressing how bodies narrate violence we wish to reflect on the implications and effects of such (embodied) practices—whether positive or negative—and on the possible strategies to counter-act or counter-story them.


Winter Symposium 2020
“Making Sense of Violence in the Digital Age”, University of Gdańsk
24–26 February

Keynote lectures by Dr Nena Močnik (CY Cergy Paris University) and Prof. Jeff Hearn (Örebro University)
With a workshop by Dr Anna Walker

We launched our Study Circle in a city that last year was the stage of an outrageous act of violence. As evidenced by the hate-speech-motivated public murder of Paweł Adamowicz, the Mayor of Gdańsk, in the digital age violence calls for an urgent redefinition, and its hermeneutics for a rethinking within theoretical, sociological and cultural perspectives. Bringing together scholars and practitioners (journalists, politicians, political analysts, activists, criminologists etc.), we will discuss the ways in which the newly arisen media have become powerful vectors for violent acts.

Contributions dealt with various narrativisations of digital violence and the ethical issues they bring to the fore, approached through interdisciplinary perspectives. Some of our research questions were (but not limited to):

What new guises does violence take in the digital age? How is violence articulated through social media (FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)? How is digital violence narrativised in cultural productions (literary, cinematic, artistic etc.)? How has sexual violence changed with the onset of digital technology? How can digital media diffuse/counteract violence (e.g. bloggers suffering domestic abuse, violence experienced by minorities, etc.)? What are the negative impacts of digital technology on the animal world and the natural environment? What are the forms and impacts of cyberbullying? What are the potential negative implications of violent video games? How to use them, instead, as non-violence learning tools? Can digital surveillance be considered a form of violence and what are the possible alternatives?

More information on the Symposium’s programme and abstracts can be found here

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