Call for Papers: Violence, Memory, and Human Rights: An Interdisciplinary Conference

January 30-February 1, 2012
University of South Florida, Tampa
Sponsored by the USF Humanities Institute and the Departments of Anthropology and History

Call for Papers: Download the Call for Papers.

We invite contributions from scholars and artists from across the disciplines, and addressing any period in history. The organizers hope to develop an edited volume drawn from conference presentations. To be considered, please email a title and 250-word abstract to:
Dr. Elizabeth Bird.

  • Proposals for one-hour sessions, roundtables, or other formats are also encouraged.
  • Deadline: Nov. 15, 2011
  • Decision Notification: Dec. 1, 2011. Upon acceptance, a conference fee of $35 will be required – waived for USF faculty and students.

Conference Objectives

The ever-repeated incidents of non-combat-related massacres and mass violence that happen in time of conflict have been a source of analysis by academics, the media, and legal authorities. Typically, such events are concealed, and witnesses silenced or ignored, often in the name of “moving on.” Yet the impulse to tell the story seems universal, and may be essential if true reconciliation is to be achieved. Worldwide, movements have emerged to break the silence and to restore dignity to those who died. In many cases the mass grave has become a potent source of evidence that may serve to validate the accounts of witnesses, whether the outcome is prosecution or more simply to “set the record straight” for history. In many contexts, artists have been inspired to create visual art, literature, and theatre as ways to narrate, validate, or memorialize such atrocities.

Although many disciplines have contributed to the worldwide debate on violence, memory, and human rights, rarely do they come together to share their insights. This small conference will offer a unique, interdisciplinary forum, in which forensic scientists may interact with poets, or historians with legal scholars, anthropologists and philosophers. They will examine questions such as: What circumstances precipitate mass violence? What is the impact on surviving individuals, families, and communities? How are massacres remembered – or forgotten? When and how can perpetrators be brought to justice, and victims acknowledged and compensated? What is the importance of exhumation and the presence of the physical body? What is the role of scholars, not only in documenting atrocities, but also in facilitating subsequent action and reparation? And how do the humanities, in the form of art, literature, poetry, music, film, and performance offer unique insights into both the persistence of trauma and recovery?

Details of the conference, including additional speakers, hotel information, and specific location, will be updated on the website of the Humanities Institute:

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