representing violence

10.06.2013 // 18.-19.06.2013

International Workshop:

Representing Violence: History, Politics and Theory

Despite periodic reassurances, the hope that was promised and guaranteed by the twin processes of modernization and secularization has amounted to very little in the 20th and the 21st centuries. The force of ethnic, racial, religious and national identities remains as potent as ever, transcending, and often nullifying, the combined influence of factors such as reason, science and democracy. It is also ironical that despite the universal claims of the secularization and modernization thesis, the persistence of violence has remained one of the most powerful elements that casts its spell unmindful of ideologies, regimes and nationalities. The works of Hannah Arendt, Georges Sorel, Walter Benjamin, Frantz Fanon, Konrad Lorenz, Ernest Jünger, Ambedkar and Gandhi have been significant attempts in the past hundred years to conceptualize and understand violence. While these texts have enriched our understanding of various textures of violence, we are also constantly assailed by the sheer inventiveness and novelty of forms of violence. The ways in which political regimes and social groups tend to refine, perfect and practice violence seem often to suggest the inadequacy and obsolete state of our conceptual and theoretical apparatuses.

This workshop would be an attempt to take stock of the ways in which we understand violence but also the manner in which our ability to write about violence can be honed and perfected. One way of doing this is to re-evaluate the histories of violence and their efficacy.

Do we really need to revisit extant accounts of violence that are already available to us? Are all the orthodoxies, self-images and myths that help in understanding violence been adequately interrogated? Another way of examining the question is to suggest alternative ways of looking at the phenomenon and propose additional tools to make sense of violence and its representation. These two sets of questions can only be answered through a thoroughgoing reappraisal of theories, historiographical practices and conceptual universes within a comparative framework.

Please find here the workshop programme as pdf-files:
Programme Monday, 10 June 2013
Programme Tuesday and Wednesday, 18 & 19 June 2013

The workshop was initiated by Prof. Jyotirmaya Sharma (Fellow 2012/13) and Prof. Dr. Martin van Gelderen (Director of the Lichtenberg-Kolleg).