Art After Galtung: Structural Violence and the Arts of the Global South

deadline for submissions: 
March 26, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Association for the Study of Arts of the Present Conference: October 17-20, 2018 (New Orleans, LA)
contact email: 

Art After Galtung: Structural Violence and the Arts of the Global South

A roundtable proposed for the Association for the Study of Arts of the Present Conference: October 17-20, 2018 (New Orleans, LA)

This roundtable proposes Johan Galtung’s introduction of the term “structural violence” in 1969’s “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research” as a periodizing marker of the contemporary. Building on Trinidadian-American Stokely Carmichael’s new concept of “institutional violence,” Galtung argued that only by understanding the abstract forces that distributed the capacity to flourish unevenly could we properly understand the nature of impersonal violence—and, crucially, begin to imagine what a truly peaceful society might look like.

Since the publication of Galtung’s essay, structural violence has become one of the primary ways in which oppression and inequity have been understood in the humanities and social sciences. As an emergent concept, we also propose that it has shaped both the content and the forms of contemporary art, literature, film, and performance in ways that have yet to be fully recognized within the academy. In this roundtable, we hope to track the varied impacts of Galtung’s concept across art, activism, and social analysis since 1969. We invite proposals for short presentations (6-7 minutes) that take up the relationship between structural violence and contemporary art and activism in the Global South (including minoritized groups in the United States and other parts of the Global North).

Presentations may address, but are not limited to, questions such as:

  • What is the relationship between structural violence and aesthetic form, either in general terms or in relation to particular texts, fields, performances?

  • How has the relationship between structural violence and direct violence changed since 1969?

  • How do art, film, and literature address the perceptual problems that define structural violence?

  • How has the vocabulary of structural violence shaped our understanding of the present?

  • (How) does structural violence differ from related concepts such as slow violence, environmental violence, and institutional racism?

Please submit 300-word proposals and a short bio to Rebecca Evans (evansrm@wssu.edu) and Jessica Hurley (hurleyj@uchicago.edu) by Monday, March 26th.