Representing Violence -- MLA 2014 Special Session

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MLA 2014 Special Session

"What we are up against is a generation that is by no means sure that is has a future." George Wald, 1969.

Despite statistics that show violence has been decreasing globally, we feel increasingly vulnerable to its devastating effects. Violence does not strike with rational coherence, but erupts erratically, shattering comfortable routines and making a state of high alert the norm. We want violence to have an easily identifiable proximate cause, not an amorphous, systemic or immanent one. Legislation, mediation, or punishment can only mask the violence that is endemic to global capitalism. As we witness the convergence of periphery and center -- "developed" nations cannot project violence "out there" anymore, to other countries or other communities -- what common threads bind the multiple experiences of violence in the contemporary world?

We invite papers that engage with questions concerning contemporary representations of violence and/or social, literary, and artistic responses to violence. This call is for a proposed special session and is contingent upon acceptance by MLA. Abstracts should of 250-500 words should be submitted to or by March 21, 2013.

Possible topics:

-- Graphic violence, torture, and/or serial killing in film and television
-- The role of violent video games and entertainment in creating a culture numb to violence
-- School shootings and/or violence as public spectacle.
-- The relationship between forms of "domestic" violence (against women, children, the elderly, the disabled) and international violence
-- The violence of post-fordist labor practices such as outsourcing, intensifying productivity, and increasing reliance on a part-time workforce
-- The abuses of banks, mortgage companies, and ratings agencies as a type of violence
-- Genetic modification of organisms as violence against nature
-- Overconsumption as violence
-- Global warming and violence
-- The dismantling of higher education as violence
-- Violence and resistance movements
-- The connection and/or distinction between the experience of violence in the West from the violent upheavals of "developing" nations
-- Violence and terror(ism)