Producing War: The Militarization of Culture, DUE 10/15/14, [3/26-3/29/15]

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ACLA 2015, Seattle, 3/26-3/29/15
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Our seminar seeks to understand the multivalent ways in which militarism, war and state violence have informed cultural and social processes. While militarism may seem evident in cultural artifacts like war films, recruitment materials, memorials, or in the popularity of military-themed video games, we also want to examine how the wars of the past century have militarized the ways in which we produce, consume, and understand contemporary culture and social order. How might we, for instance, think of war not only as having material consequences but also as constituting "the secret motor of institutions, laws, and order" (Foucault, "Society Must Be Defended"). In what ways is the basis of social order and "perpetual peace" constituted by war and violence? How is the experience of peace and war distributed unevenly? How is peace experienced as violence by some and not by others? How have national and/or imperial consolidation relied upon war and violence? We look to explore these questions from a broad range of topics and media: relation to other forms of state violences (policing, surveillance, e.g.); cinematic productions of war memories; militarization of visual culture (film, photography, museum exhibits, advertisement, e.g.); militarization of race, gender, sexuality in contemporary culture; militarism in particular literary genres (detective fiction, e.g.); violence and affect in imperial/post-colonial settings. We hope that our conversations will illuminate the ways in which war as an enterprise invites comparisons across borders, and welcome papers that offer cross/inter-disciplinary approaches. Please submit your proposals by Oct 15, 2014.
Send inquiries to either Ji-Young Um ( or Andrea Opitz (