NeMLA: Genocides and Language

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Didem Alkan
contact email: 

In the aftermath of the man-made catastrophes, such as genocides, the artistic production does not only seek to grasp the reality behind the atrocities, but also to convey that reality as it is experienced. Language functions as medium for deconstructing this brutal reality that exceeds meaning. Thus, language could be situated among the most crucial components of the communication process since it functions both as catalyzer and obstacle for the embodiment of the historical reality. This panel explores the diverse discourses in which genocides are understood and represented in contemporary artistic production. What are the linguistic, moral, political, and sociological functions of language during and/or in the aftermath of the genocides? How do artistic productions intervene and manipulate discourses depicting the genocides? In what extent these discourses could be used as a reminder of the past, where memory risks to be distorted or to be manipulated following the politics of denial? The overarching purpose of this panel is to incite discussions on the impact of language and genocide representation and bring together interdisciplinary perspectives on genocide studies. Potential topics include, but are not limited to: unspeakable nature of the trauma, limits of representation, persuasion and/or auto-persuasion, manipulation, rhetoric, verbal processes of the victim/persecutor, hate speech, justice, and peace and reconciliation.


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