'The Depoliticization of 9/11

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Newcastle University
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Call for Papers
The Depoliticisation of 9/11
A one-day conference at Newcastle University
November 6, 2010 10.00 – 17.00
Keynote: Dr. David Holloway (University of Derby)

Almost a decade later, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 remain a key influence on global political discourse. Whether or not we think of 9/11 as an epochal moment, there is no doubt that it has shaped global politics and underpinned subsequent American nationalism and militarization; however, as can be observed from the clichés entrenched in much representation and discussion of the events, their memory and influence remain cast in terms of depoliticised memorialisation. Although both the Western military responses and the popularly recounted political prehistory of alleged American neocolonialism and the CIA’s ‘creation’ of al-Qaeda are well-known, much political and cultural discourse remains opaque and partisan, ideologically obscuring attempts to understand the events whose memory has crystallised into ‘9/11’.

The central theme of this interdisciplinary one-day conference is the depoliticisation of 9/11 in cultural and political discourse, which tends to favour a vocabulary of mourning, revanchism or trauma over sustained political engagement. How is it, for example, that Oliver Stone and Paul Greengrass can make apolitical films about the attacks? We are interested in exploring questions such as: What is the relationship between politics and representation? Does cultural discourse share in responsibility, or even political complicity with the War on Terrorism? To what extent have possibilities for cultural and political resistance been exploited? Is 9/11 an epochal moment or has it brought to the surface disguised truths?

We seek to generate cross-disciplinary discussion between contributors working across the humanities, arts and social sciences. We welcome 200 word abstracts for 25 minute papers; themes for papers could include but of course are not limited to:

• Representing, or failing to represent, the terrorist other
• Non-Western representations of 9/11
• Allegorical representations of 9/11
• Post-9/11 representations of Islam
• Trauma and representation
• The depoliticisation of ‘fanaticism’ or ‘fundamentalism’
• Representation and The War on Terrorism
• Online discourse and conspiracy theory
• Visual representations of 9/11, in either documentary photography or fictional production
• Suddenness, surprise, evil, epoch
• The politics and culture of fear
• The image and the written word
• Media representation, culture, politics

Please email abstracts or any queries to 911conference@ncl.ac.uk by June 7, 2010

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