Violence: In Theory and Practice March 23-25, 2012

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The Seventh Annual University of Ottawa English Graduate Conference

In Theory and Practice
March 23-25, 2012

The Seventh Annual University of Ottawa English Graduate Conference
Keynote Speaker: Smaro Kamboureli, University of Guelph

"Violence commands both literature and life, and violence is often crude and distorted." – Ellen Glasgow

Violence is an ever-present phenomenon in literary texts. From Homer's graphic descriptions of infantry combat in the Iliad, to Wilfred Owen's haunting portrayal of the war-torn fields of Europe, to Edith Wharton's subtle critique of Old New York as a place of ruthless social warfare, representations of violence powerfully call our attention to questions of authority, agency and power.

While the linguistic turn has profoundly enriched our understanding of violence by alerting us to its discursive and symbolic dimensions, this approach has, in some cases, resulted in a critical retreat from material and lived instances of violence. In the interest of engaging with the multiple levels at which violence operates, we invite proposals that deal with this phenomenon in its many material and discursive manifestations. In particular, we welcome proposals that bring the materiality of violence into sharp focus, without losing sight of the ways in which discursive elements shape or contribute to lived experiences of violence. We also encourage proposals that actively engage with the ethical problems surrounding the textual representation of violence. Can the gulf that exists between those who have experienced the trauma of violence first hand and those who merely read about this trauma ever really be bridged? Must textual descriptions of violence be based upon experience, or can an immediacy of sorts be achieved even by those who merely speculate, mediate and infer? Is a text of violence possible?

We seek papers answering these and other questions, and welcome submissions from students in all disciplines. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

- War and Violent Conflict
- Crime, Transgression and Punishment
- Pain, Trauma and Memory
- Violence and Environment/Nature
- Pugilism and Violent Sport
- Self-Harm and Suicide
- Violence and Nation
- Violence and Technology
- Elegy, Requiem and Commemoration
- Revolution, Uprising and Rebellion
- Violence and the Sacred/Religious
- Revenge, Anger, and Vengeance
- Genocide and Racial Violence
- Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
- Political and Cultural Oppression

While this is a graduate-oriented conference, the organizers would like to put together an undergraduate panel. If you know of a promising undergraduate who might be interested in such an opportunity, please pass this along.

Proposals for 20-minute presentations should be no more than 300 words in length and must be submitted, along with a brief biographical sketch, to no later than January 15th, 2012.