MLA 2013: Representing Genocide and Civil Conflict in Nonfiction Narrative

full name / name of organization: 
Amardeep Singh, Division for Nonfiction Prose Studies
contact email: 

What role has the creative nonfiction genre played in documenting and responding to genocidal violence and civil conflicts?

This panel will explore 20th and 21st Century texts; topics could extend from events such as the Armenian genocide, the Spanish Civil War, the Partition of Indian subcontinent, and the Holocaust, up through more recent genocidal events such as the "Killing Fields" of Cambodia, or the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur. Special interest is given to texts that cannot readily be classified as straightforwardly "journalistic," and which aim to do something other than simply document, with institutional authority and state support, these events. What are the limits of representation and representability? What does it mean to say that certain forms of violence (i.e., violence on a mass scale) are "unspeakable"? Cross-media elements, including engagement with the differing efficacies of photography and film, are welcome. What are the benefits of the creative nonfiction form in addressing genocide or large civil conflicts, and what are its limits?

Session sponsored by the Division for Nonfiction Prose Studies, Excluding Biography and Autobiography.

Please send 250 word abstracts to Amardeep Singh ( by March 15.