An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Project
Monday 15th July 2019 – Tuesday 16th July 2019
Gentlemen go to War: British Middle-Class Experience in the Great War
Saija Annika Pöysä
University of Helsinki, Finland
Great War; Great Britain; Kitchener’s Army; History of experiences; Psychology; Defense mechanisms; Coping mechanisms; Violence; Cognitive dissonance; Twentieth century
When Great Britain declared war against Germany in 1914, thousands of British middle-class civilians volunteered to fight in the army. These men had no previous war-experience before they joined the fray, and they had to adapt quickly to the novel conditions. The psychological strain of the fear of death and duty to kill affected everyone on the front, yet some coped with it better than others did. A hundred years have passed since the end of the Great War, and there has been a recent rise in literature examining the war from the combatants’ perspective. In my presentation I will add into this discussion by studying how British middle-class volunteers of a homogenous background adapted when they had to exchange their comfortable existence to the grisly reality of the front lines.
By studying the diaries, letters, and memoirs of the middle-class soldiers in the Great War, I present that the difference between coping well and a mental breakdown was often related to how strong an individual’s psychological coping and defense mechanisms were. These included, but were not limited to; rationalization, humour, desensitization, and group absolution. The emotional distance created by these survival mechanisms of the mind are detectable from the soldiers’ texts by their chosen words and perspectives when writing about their experiences.
The history of emotions and experiences is currently the most prolific of war history perspectives, and the impact of my work is in how it illuminates the psychological responses to violence these non-professional soldiers had in the time of war. By utilizing both historical contextualization and psychological terminology, I present an analysis on the soldiers’ experience, which will both broaden the understanding of the history of the Great War, and add into the discussion of the psychology of warfare as a whole.
Mission Before Self and Unlimited Liability: How Military Culture Fosters Violence
National Defence and Royal Roads University, Canada
Culture, Obedience, Violence, Military, Unlimited Liability, Unit Cohesion
The roots of human conflict are deeper than the division of society into classes (Gray, 2003). Ethnic and religious differences, the scarcity of natural resources and the collision of rival values are sources of division resulting in violence (Gray, 2003, p. 9). “Modern states exist to meet…human needs, among which security from violence and recognition of cultural identity are important” (Gray, 2003, p. 95). One such “state” within which I work is our military. Military culture is unique and is defined by its organizational structure and rules which self-regulate members daily (AAMC, 2016). Structure and basic training, where new recruits are introduced to norms, language, codes and identity through forceful training, are used to unify culture (Redmond et al., 2015). Indoctrination at the beginning and for the duration of one’s military career helps solidify unit cohesion. How armed forces fight is “more a function of their culture than their doctrine” (Johnston, 2000, p.30) and the culture of the nation that supplies a military its members is the most important factor that shapes military culture (Goldenburg, Febbraro & Dean, 2015). Research also shows that humans are socialized to be obedient from an early age (Landau & O’Hara, 2012, p. 248). We feel compelled to comply with commands of authority figures, even when in conflict with our moral values (Landau & O’Hara, 2012). Solomon Asch’s conformity studies in the 1960’s suggested that people are capable of causing extreme harm to others when told to and obedience to authority is a universal feature of human behaviour (Landau & O’Hara, 2012). Our tendency to conform is stronger than our values (Landau & O’Hara, 2012) and this need for belonging combined with military unit cohesion facilitates the ability to embrace violence. Through personal narrative, experience and research, a civilian psychotherapist view of violence is presented.
Violent Behavior Not Simply a Type of Pragmatic Behaviour
University of Bucharest, Romania
violence, agent’s perspective, goals, pragmatic behavior, Hannah Arendt, Jean-Paul Sartre
In this individual presentation, I aim to contest the idea – implicit in much theoretical work on violence – that violent behavior is a type of pragmatic behavior that uses a particular kind of means (e.g. actions, instruments or tools that are harmful for others). To take just one example, this idea seems to be implicit in Hannah Arendt’s influential essay On Violence, where the essential feature of violence is taken to be its “instrumental character”. A view of violence of this sort presupposes that a violent and a non-violent agent relate in a very similar manner to their goals, and the difference between them arises only with respect to the means employed for attaining these goals (the violent agent resorting to “harmful” means, whereas the non-violent agent resorts to more peaceful means).
Against this idea – and based on a personal reading of Jean-Paul Sartre’s discussion of violence in his Notebooks for an Ethics – I argue that violent behavior implies a modification of the agent’s attitude towards her/his goals. Three such modified attitudes with respect to one’s goals are detailed here, namely the non-productive attitude (the assumption that the goal is not to be produced or that it is not to be produced by means that are under our control), the counter-productive attitude (the exacerbation of one’s proximate goal at the expense of more distant goals) and the anti-productive attitude (the active refusal of one’s previously set goal). Therefore, at least when we approach violence from its agent’s perspective, the assumption that violent behavior is simply a kind of pragmatic behavior seems to be mistaken.
Innocent Perpetrators or Victims: Understanding School-Related Gender-Based Violence among Primary School Children in Uganda
School of Psychology, Makerere University- Uganda
children, gender, violence, school, psychosocial, sociocultural, Uganda, Africa
This study is premised on the establishment that gender-based violence (GbV) among school children in Uganda, like many other parts of Africa and the rest of the world, has had a devastating impact on their schooling including increased dropout and poor performance. The overall purpose of this study is to explore the psychosocial and sociocultural bearings on school children’s GbV. The sampling scope is mainly composed of primary school children between ages 10 and 15. This paper is part of an ongoing big study, and it is employing both qualitative and quantitative approaches and methods; specifically, cross-sectional designs to quench the question: is gender-based violence in schools free of children’s cultural, historical and institutional setting? This specific presentation is informed by the Vygotskyan sociocultural perspective and related rigorously reviewed literature on school-related GbV scrutinized within the most affected societies. Themes like the role of language, mediation, identity among others; emerging from the theory-based and empirical data-based literature shows that different violence forms, including school-related GBV are a consequent of varying factors; not unique to the psychosocial developmental environment of a child. Revelations made so far illuminate the importance of a child’s psychosocial and sociocultural development and the need for concerted attention paid to the early instances of GbV among children, as a means of its early intervention.
The Origins of Institutional Violence
U.S. Military Academy, West Point, US
Violence, torture, rule of law, criminal law, international law, Geneva Conventions, war crimes, nationalism, authoritarianism, dehumanization
This proposal concerns the conditions and values within institutions that contribute to violence by their members. Violent acts committed by individuals have been attributed to many sources, organic and environmental. Nonetheless, except for a few uncontrollable people, almost no one would commit violent acts if he or she knew that someone who would oppose violence (and had the capacity to stop it) was watching. Thus, there must be some conditions within institutions that contribute to individuals’ violent acts. A primary inquiry stemming from this proposal would be to identify these conditions in public and private institutions, including agencies within nations and non-state actors.
This may require a focus on (1) an institution’s separation from its larger society or culture and (2) the institution’s restrictions on free expression. That is, it appears institutional violence (to be defined) can occur only when an organization is no longer rooted to a larger society (assuming the society espouses non-violence) and when the members of the institutions remain silent.
The violence that occurs within institutions in democratic societies should receive particular attention. Those societies (nations) have all adopted or ratified constitutions, international law, human rights documents, or treaties that prohibit violence, including torture. In other words, how can institutional violence continue, and sometimes proliferate, within democratic institutions that outwardly condemn violence?
Sex-Selective Abortions: A Heinous Form of Gendercide
Panjab University, Chandigarh, India
Sex selection, Female foeticide, Son Preference, Discrimination against Girl child,
Violence against women
Preference for son and prenatal sex-selective abortion is gender-based violence. Sex selective foeticide is basically a consequence of sexist attitudes and institutions of Indian society. There is preference for male child by parents especially in north western states of Haryana and Punjab in India. These states that have experienced quite rapid economic development in recent decades show lowest sex ratio in India. Sons are considered to be security for old age. They are preferred because they are considered to have a higher wage-earning capacity (especially in agrarian economies) and they continue the family line. On the other hand, discrimination against girls in India is related to dowry and patriarchal family systems. For centuries, son preference has led to postnatal discrimination against girls. This discrimination against women has become so embedded in Indian society that some families would rather not have daughters at all. Persistent son preference and the spread of prenatal sex determination technology have led to the practice of prenatal sex selection thus making the juvenile sex ratios highly masculine. In spite of the fact that Government of India has banned these tests, there is a wide misuse of modern sex-selection tests today, spreading from large cities to smaller towns to villages, and from more affluent groups towards the lower strata of society. There is a nexus between Doctors, health workers and families who don’t want daughters in this misdeed. Additionally, advocates of population control with cynical logic of ‘Fewer women = Lesser Procreation’ have placed Indian women in the category of ‘endangered species’. An attempt has been made in this paper to focus on causes of declining sex ratio and its adverse social consequences.
What Happened to Koozoo?: A Children’s Book about Vulnerability
Tamar Ascher Shai
David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem
Child abuse, prevention, bullying, children’s book
Upon realizing that there were no children’s books in Hebrew that presented a clear invitation and opportunity for children to talk about any of the various types of violence or abuse that may be occurring in their lives, my colleague (Tamar Verete-Zehavi) and I ventured out to write the missing book.
There are some wonderful books that have been translated into Hebrew, that deal with the topic of bullying or differentness, but the only books that allow the focus to include abuse, tell stories of actual human children and adults. Young children tend to be overwhelmed by the directness of such stories, have difficulty identifying with the characters, and will often refuse to engage with the story-telling. So we decided to write a book about three chameleons, a bird and a rabbit. Koozoo is the youngest of the chameleons, and a more likely victim than his older companions – and when the rabbit invites him into his rabbit hole something happens.
In this presentation I will share the story of Koozoo with the participants (and hear their reactions to the story, time allowing) and discuss what happened when I read the book to teachers of young children. I will elaborate on their diverse initial reactions upon hearing the story, as well as the challenges they faced in dealing with the subject. Finally, I will share their accounts of what happened when they read the book to the children in their kindergartens.
“I’m sure that, in time, her death will be a mystery even to me.”: A Window into the Mind of the Male Perpetrator in Stephen King’s Secret Window, Secret Garden
St Mary’s University, Twickenham, United Kingdom
domestic violence, domestic abuse, Gothic, Stephen King, perpetrator, victim, survivor
Whilst writer Mort Rainey of Stephen King’s novella Secret Window, Secret Garden initially presents as a victim, I will explore the idea that the narrative, told mainly from Mort’s perspective, reveals his use of victimhood in order to divert attention away from the domestic abuse and stalking of his ex-wife Amy.
Mort presents himself as the victim of John Shooter, a man who unjustly accuses him of plagiarising a short story about, tellingly, a domestic homicide. However, I will argue that Mort consciously creates the character of Shooter as a scapegoat to detract from his own responsibility for abusing Amy both during the marriage, as revealed in flashbacks, and through stalking following the breakdown of their relationship.
Mort abuses Amy in various ways: through emotional abuse which engenders a sense of shame and guilt for her adultery, by threatening to kill her with a gun and by destroying their former family home through arson. His ability to perpetrate violence, although unknown to Amy, is also revealed when he murders their pet and slays two men who he fears will reveal his actions. Ultimately, as in many stalking cases, when Mort realises the finality of Amy’s decision to end the relationship the abuse escalates, and he tries to murder her.
Thus, the secret window of the title is revealed as a secret window into the psyche of the male perpetrator, uncovering the reality of abusive and violent behaviour behind his own representation of victimhood. I will argue that Mort’s abuse also reveals a wider phenomenon of male perpetrators’ overriding desire for power and control, their attitudes of entitlement, and their perpetuation of victim-blaming whilst also manipulating not only their victims but also friends, family and agencies so as to evade responsibility for and thus conceal their own abusive and violent actions.
Gratuitous Violence in the Crucifixion: The Gospels, Western Art, and Cinema
American University of Sharjah, USA
In Jesus Christ Superstar, Judas inquires of Jesus, “Did you know your messy death would be a record-breaker? Of all the violent executions in history, Christ’s crucifixion ranks high on the list of the most horrible, violent deaths, an execution vividly described in the Gospels, a central motif in Western art for over a thousand years, and still brought to life in cinema.
In the Santa Prassede church in Rome (the church where Robert Browning’s fictional bishop orders his tomb), there is a holy relic, the column of flagellation. Flagellation was the first part of crucifixion to break down the body. The column is small, roughly 60cm hardly a column which would call to mind the tree-sized columns of, say, the Parthenon. Surprisingly, this tiny column actually increases the violent effects of the flogging, forcing the victim to bend excruciatingly low. This posture allows the sharp, bone-like pieces of the tail of the whip to wrap around the body, biting and tearing the ribs, stomach, chest (Zugibe 2005, 20). In the gospels we encounter a textual description of the crucifixion, allowing us to analyze both an overview of the violence as well as specific episodes; in paintings, a static visual, allowing us to focus on one moment of violence; in cinema, a visceral experience, allowing us to vicariously suffer from the violence. This presentation will compare the various depictions of the violence of the crucifixion as recorded in the gospels, paintings and movies while contemplating various theories of violence such as functionalism, which explains how major, shocking changes to society provoke violent responses and more specifically how the “psychological makeup” of leaders (such as the Pharisees etc.) need to be understood to explain the driving forces behind that violence (Conteh-Morgan 2004, 9).
Treatment of Egyptian Drama to Child Abuse
Suez University, Suez Governorate, Egypt
Child abuse is considered the priorities of those who are concerned with Human Rights. There are many children in Egypt are affected by violence, abuse and exploitation with many factor that worsen their situation. The reasons for of the high rate of child abuse are due to the combination of profound of social problems like poverty, family dysfunctional, lack of awareness and low educational attainment. Besides, lack of safety net of child care pre-school as well as health care.
Due to studies, drama is considered one of the most important means of entertainment in various television drama. Also, drama is a pattern of cultural creativity and source of consciousness formation at the individual and collectively level, through its impact on cognitive processes, feelings and shaping people vision of life.
This study aimed at monitoring the treatment of drama to child’s issues, in the light of increasing rates of children labor, begging, child displacement, harassment and other issues.
The importance of the study embedded to relate between the art of drama and its role focusing on the issues of the most important category of the society, namely children, such issues as children living graves, children with disabilities, orphans and, promoting issues of belonging.
The study will be conducted on a purposive sample of drama that dealt with Egyptian children and their issues, where the role of the Egyptian child has been embodied as main or secondary or pivotal character, to recognize the treatment of Egyptian drama to Egyptian children’s issues & their rights.
This study belongs to the Descriptive studies as it concerns to analyze the treatment of drama to Egyptian children’s issues. The study is based on Media Survey Methodology as a form of gathering data of individual’s feelings, perception, attitudes, and behaviours.
Violence and Social Networking: A Phenomenological Investigation
University of Bucharest, Romania
phenomenon of violence, violence of the image, social networks, television, intersubjectivity, Jean-Luc Marion, desubjectivation, intentionality, French phenomenology
The purpose of my paper is to explore the dynamics of social networking, by showing that it operates with a form of violence towards users, which compromises the possibility of a true intersubjectivity. In order to accomplish this goal, I will offer, firstly, a critique of television, by employing the phenomenological account of the French philosopher Jean-Luc Marion. My hypothesis is that a critique of television can be extended to the case of social networks because, what both have as a common denominator is the flux of images produced by a screen. As Marion emphasizes, the television abolishes any distinction between the world and the flux of images, the screen becoming itself the principal producer of images – a producer which “produces images without ever referring them to some original”. The act of intentionality is thus directed towards copies which are seen as originals and therefore we are confronted here with a modification of the pre-objective openness of consciousness towards oneself and the world.
But how can we describe, phenomenologically, the social networks where the users can be defined as voyeurs (consumers)? How does the flux of the images we devour every single day by the simple use of our devices destruct the subjective structures of our intentional life? How does the virtual life become our second nature? Doesn’t this exercise a form of violence against our first nature of human beings who are in the world not as spectators, but “as a part possibly challenged by what it encounters”? These questions call for the subsequent parts of my paper. Firstly, I will show that television represents a violence of the image which consists in a process of desubjectivation and affects the intentionality of the human beings. Secondly, I will address the question of the violence featured by social networks and I will argue that at its core stands not only a violence of the image, but also an impaired way to relate with the Other which leads, consequently, to an impaired intersubjectivity.
Could Culture, Religion and Tradition Justify Violence and Discrimination?
Middlesex University (London), United Kingdom
violence, law, domestic law, international criminal law, custom, tradition, religion, GBV, VAW.
Violence and law are not so different, and in some occasions, the areas are interrelated. Violence and law are often used to create fear and regulate situations. Violence has many sides and the meanings depend on the contexts. In a certain sense, law is a kind of violence, per se. It obliges to follow the rules, the legal obligations, the judgments and the punishments. Law is violence because it obliges someone to do something against their will. However, if the obligations, judgments and punishments are legal, there is no violence and consequently it means that the violence is justified by the law.
Violence is treated differently across the world and the various legal domains: criminal law, criminal procedure, and civil rights. From the international criminal law (ICL) perspective, there are actions that are recognized as a grave crime but looking closely they do not receive the same treatment from the domestic legal systems. Thinking of violence in ICL, it immediately reminds violence against women (VAW) and gender-based violence (GBV). In fact, in some cases, people invoke custom, tradition and/or religion in their defense to justify human rights violations and international crimes. VAW and GBV are used especially against vulnerable groups such as women, children, elderly people and LGBT.
Looking closely to some domestic legal systems, these actions are not recognized as crimes and sometimes either as human rights violations. The main reason is because they are justifying by the religion, custom or tradition.
Confessions of a Convicted Sexual Offender: Exploring Guilt and Remorse
Ambedkar University Delhi, India
Discourses of rape, offender’s perspective, gender gap in understanding sexualities and sexual motives, guilt, healing.
This paper is only a small section of my ongoing PhD research on ‘Exploring the psychosocial making of ‘sexual offenders’ in Indian cultural context’. One can say that there are as many discourses of sexual assault as the types of assaults viz. date rape, gang rape, child sexual abuse, marital rape, sexual assault by close acquaintances, by family members etc. According to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB journal, 2018), number of reported rape cases have increased from 24206 cases in 2011 to 38947 cases in 2016, especially after public outcry around Nirbhaya gang rape in Delhi, 2012. Nevertheless, studies on sexual assault have been so far dominated by feminists’ analysis on narratives of women and children survivors in various socio-cultural contexts. This paper attempts to explore discourses of rape mainly from the offenders’ perspectives. Being a female researcher studying male sex offenders, the purpose of this study is to not only explore the gender gaps in terms of understanding sexualities, motives and abusive circumstances but also to explore the possibility of offenders experiencing guilt and remorse. Extensive unstructured-repeated-interviews were conducted with inmates of Tihar Jail No.2 from October 15 to 31st December, 2018, in an attempt to develop as much of case history as possible. However, for this particular paper, only one of the inmates’ narratives is going to be presented to illustrate ‘confession’ of some kind. In contrast to the anticipated discourse of sexual offence where forceful intercourse was employed, this case reveals confusion in heterosexual relationship between genders on the part of the offender. The details of the case reveals various themes such as, early childhood exposure to abusive father, early confusing sexual encounter with older woman, obsession with love object, betrayal, guilt, remorse and wishes to be healed.
Violence: A Proposal for a New Paradigm
Independent Researcher, France
violence ; ethic ; mimetic desire ; René Girard ; democracy ; freedom ; economic warfare ; communalism.
The expectations arisen from the fall of the Berlin Wall for a continuous and durable economical and social development are deceived. Instead, violence is reappearing even at the heart of western democracies, in old or new forms. Simultaneously, though their first responsibility is to grant citizens security, Governments are less and less empowered to do so, as the market economy is getting freer and freer and globalized, and that economic warfare leads to the acceptation, when not the promotion, of various forms of violence as a necessity to face fierce competition.
This contradiction is ultimately jeopardizing both democracies and freedom. A detailed and comprehensive understanding of mechanisms of violence and of its effects is crucial to resolve it.
The notions of “narcissism of small differences”, as introduced by Sigmund Freud, and “mimetic desire”, as developed by René Girard, are still relevant and useful, but there are not sufficient: further insight into the psychological motivations and drivers of such fundamental behaviors is necessary. Developments in neuroscience, and especially what this discipline can tell us about the respective roles of the consciousness and the unconscious, give strong clues which allow to understand the emotional processes which are roots of the need for recognition, mimetism, rejection of the other, and, finally, violence.
Such a new perspective shed light on the systemic nature of violence, and on how its various forms interact together. It also proves to be a very valuable reading grid to understand ills western democracies are actually facing, such as terrorism, sexual harassment, communalism, racism, etc, and helps to discriminate between appropriate and unappropriate responses to those.
At last, but not at all the least, it provides solid foundations for ethics: one should not promote nor accept violence, except when an actual and verified threat exists. Whenever it occurs, one’s answer should be proportional and strictly defensive.
The Bard’s Bad Boys: Shakespeare and the ‘Anti-Villain’
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Shakespeare, masculinity, youth, gender, rape, school shootings, belonging
How Shakespeare interprets the male transition from childhood to adulthood has been surprisingly little studied–even though we know that Shakespeare was of course familiar with the ‘ages of man’ topos and despite the fact that exhaustive commentary has been focused on his plays.
Focusing on the transitional stage of young manhood, this paper examines the relationships among rebellion, personal attitude and violence in relation to a selection of Shakespeare’s young male characters. These characters, with one notable exception, are primarily antagonists, and so the paper deals primarily with actions and attitudes that contribute to the tragic chains of events in the plays where these young male characters appear. In doing so, it argues that malicious mischief and youthful violence can be as vital to tragic plots as premeditated villainy. The paper especially considers the psychology of violence implicit in the young male characterizations. This it does in light of both medieval and modern understandings of the adolescent male, examining presentations of naïveté, loyalty, and the need to belong in connection with developing senses of identity. It then explores how these drive the actions that often culminate in tragedy.
The exploration of early adult masculine development as thus staged by Shakespeare is divided into six areas, each with a case study centered on one of Shakespeare’s plays violence in Titus Andronicus, belonging in Romeo and Juliet, rebellion in Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, naïveté and loyalty in Hamlet, swagger and bravado in Othello and personal identity in King Lear.
My paper thereby seeks to clarify how adolescentia, as surely as ‘perfect age’ in the ages of man topos, is heavily implicated in some of the vital events in Shakespeare’s plays.
Dismantling Silence: Violence, Language and Trauma
The Research Institute of the University of Bucharest, Romania
trauma, silence, language, unspoken world, inner split, intersubjectivity, Ricoeur, Stolorow
Remaining silent about an abuse equals to consenting to it: on this outrageous deduction the judges of the Court of Appeal from a small town in Romania based their decision in a case of a minor being raped. The victim, an eleven years old girl, wasn’t able to speak about this abuse with her parents: in the eyes of the Court, the victim’s silence was an evidence proving her consent. Unfortunately, such court rulings aren’t unusual, as Libertatea newspaper has recently revealed.
Starting from these cases, I will analyze the relationship between violence and language, namely between trauma and silence, within the conceptual framework provided by a hermeneutical phenomenology in dialogue with intersubjective psychoanalysis. If we admit, with P. Ricoeur, that “violence has its meaning in its other: language” and that “speech, discussion and rationality also draw their unity of meaning from the fact that they are an attempt to reduce violence”, then what place should we assign to silence in this equation? Can traumatic silence, as a phenomenon still belonging to the sphere of language, claim for itself the same capacity to attenuate violence? Or rather, this dismantling silence becomes an “organizer” of the self, in the sense that it induces an inner split through which the painful feelings, felt as “disgusting defects”, are banished from human dialogue? (R. Stolorow) In response, I will outline a phenomenology of dismantling silence, by focusing on its peculiar intersubjective dimension: silence as a way of access to an unspoken world, silence as a communicative “binder” between traumatized persons, silence as a disruption of dialogue and its values of consenting and refusing.
Memory and Space: Film as a Vehicle to Re-Define and Re-Imagine a Violent Past
University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
space, place, trauma, monument, memorial, history, memory, film
South Africa’s history has been extraordinarily shaped since the arrival of the first European settlers. The events and recording of differing narratives (including apartheid, postcolonialism and decoloniality) have resulted in the current social tropes and inequalities that are particularly prevalent in the cities and spaces that form the fabric of her identity. The remnants of the violence of her past are still evident in spaces and places that create, confine and shape her political identity.
In April 2015 students from the University of Cape Town embarked on the #RhodesMustFall campaign which aimed to remove a statue of Cecil John Rhodes – mining magnate, politician and pioneer of colonisation – which stood at the heart of the campus. The spirit of the campaign spread quickly across the country as heated debates and protests on the significance of memory and memorial emerged. This resulted in a more complex discussion concerning how spaces can house memories of the past that are inherently violent. Film students were encouraged to access violent memories of the past through monuments in order to interrogate the politics of remembering using Marita Sturken’s premise that history, culture and memory play a significant role in understanding the past and its relationship to the present and the future.
This presentation will include student short films that examine how different technologies/vehicles of memory of the colonial and apartheid past in South Africa have been re-defined and re-imagined. The aim is to interrogate how physical space is negotiated with a specific focus on how the traumas of the past are re-prescribed into the current social and political climate. The focus examines the decoding and recoding of space and how it is immersed in cultural artefacts that influence the understanding of violence in the memory of space, the politics of space and the re-imagining of space.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Border Patrol, and the American Tradition of Torture
W. Fitzhugh Brundage
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, USA
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U. S. Border Patrol, Trump administration, Dehumanization, Family separation, Undocumented migrants, Cruelty, War on Terror
The history of American officials’ resort to cruelty and torture should provoke concern about both the power granted to ICE and the CBP as well as the mission assigned to them by the Trump administration. For much of the nation’s history, the prohibition on cruelty and torture in American law largely rested on the premise that the civilized sensibilities of Americans, especially the capacity for empathy for fellow citizens, would make such transgressions unthinkable. However, the nation’s boundaries and polyglot population grew faster than did Americans’ capacity to sympathize with all of those with whom they shared the continent. The extension of rights also lagged, creating disparities in the protections that law and tradition afforded those who deemed to be undeserving, unwelcome, and powerless.
This history, above all, reveals the toxic consequences when rhetoric and policies that dehumanize “the enemy within” exploit popular anxiety about security. Appeals to security have been the ultimate excuse for and defense of violations of human rights. Repeatedly, when the preservation of rights is believed to impede or diminish security, then rights are easily jettisoned and even the prohibition against torture becomes conditional.
For the past two years, the President and his allies have told us that desperate measures are needed to prevent armies of rapists, murderers, drug dealers, and terrorists from violating our borders. With token congressional oversight and largely hidden from public scrutiny, ICE and the CBP have exercised extraordinary power over exceptionally vulnerable children, women, and men. Further exacerbating the potential for misdeeds, agents have had to enforce ill-conceived and poorly implemented policies. We can anticipate in the months and years to come mounting and credible allegations of cruelty and, alas, torture by ICE and CBP agents. Defenders of the Trump administration’s border policies are sure to insist that hand-wringing over them is unwarranted and that it is counterproductive to assign broader responsibility for “exceptional” human rights violations to the larger cause of national security. We need look no further than a decade ago to be reminded how averse many Americans are to assign responsibility for acts of cruelty and torture carried out in the name of the American people.
Bloodletting: State Violence and Secrecy in the Guantanamo Military Commissions
Military Commissions Defense Organization, USA
Military Commissions Defense Organization, USA
In this presentation, we will explore the use of state torture – here, the CIA’s “Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation” program – as an allegedly necessary national security function. A liberal democracy employing violence in this way exposes the natural tension between national security and criminal justice: having successfully tortured alleged terrorists for information, what is the state to do with the victims of its violence? And what is it to do about the details of what it has done and why?
The U.S. government has chosen to negotiate that tension by grafting national security concerns and criminal justice together using secrecy. We will discuss the cascading effects of this decision in the context of the military commissions in Guantanamo. Specifically, we will discuss how secrecy about torture has political consequences, procedural effects on the commissions themselves, and personal effects on everyone involved. We will also explore the reversals employed by state actors, in which exposure of their secrets becomes an “act of violence” against themselves. Ultimately, the tension may be unresolvable; because criminal justice is predicated on accountability for perpetrators of violence, the government’s secrecy about its acts of torture renders the Guantanamo military commissions unworkable and a failed experiment.
A Study of Refugee Crisis: Tribulation and Torture in Alan Gratz’s novel Refugees
PSGR Krishnammal College for Women, Coimbatore, India
PSGR Krishnammal College for Women, Coimbatore, India
Torture, Violence, Trauma, Power, Conflict, War, Genocide
War, violence and persecution worldwide leads to displacement of people by force due to multitude of reasons. Holocaust, Genocide, Antisemitism and Ethnic Cleansing by Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin can still be seen in Syria. The ongoing Civil War in Syria caused 12 million people to flee to other parts of the world. The novel ‘Refugees’ by Alan Gratz depicts both the tragic loss and ample resilience humanizing the plight of refugees worldwide. Short sighted and unrealistic actions by the power structure community cause refugees in the novel to transgress the borders, separation from family, witness suffering, torture, violence and death.
This paper attempts to throw a limelight on the trauma and their journey that traumatizes the refugees with the support of Cathy Caruth’s Trauma Theory.
Inflicted Suffering by the State: The Case of Children in Prison
Independent Researcher, United Kingdom
In June 2018, 883 children were incarcerated in secure custody in England and Wales, the majority in young offender institutions. Children in prison are an especially vulnerable category, firstly because they are children, and secondly because of their characteristics. Nearly half are from black and minority ethnic communities, 40 per cent are from the care system, and most have the literacy and numeracy levels of primary school children. Many have mental health issues, or learning difficulties or autism, which go unrecognised until after incarceration because screening and assessment are poorly timed and operated.
It is widely agreed that all children have basic needs – for food and shelter, physical safety, emotional security, stability, love, positive role models and access to learning, including social skills. As it currently operates, imprisonment only delivers the first of these on a consistent basis.
Reactions to incarceration indicate just how vulnerable imprisoned children are. These include fear, extreme distress, violence, deteriorating mental health, self-harm and suicide. Responses to these reactions routinely include restraint (which has resulted in deaths), segregation, pain infliction, strip searches and the use of riot gear.
This paper argues that, bearing in mind the needs of children, the system as it has been and is being delivered, constitutes a systematised form of torture.
Mind the Gap: Social Mechanisms and Language in Israel that Foster Violence (workshop)
The Venezia Institute for Diversity and Multiculturalism, Israel
Violence, Multiculturalism, Human rights, Education
The State of Israel, with its population containing a variety of identities and cultures, committed itself in its Declaration of Independence to a social policy in which the right to exist will be equal for all its citizens, regardless of race, religion or gender.
Yet, in-depth examination of hidden social mechanisms that exist within the society, reveals a huge gap between the declaration and daily behavior. It began with discrimination against disadvantaged groups in Israel (immigrants, Arabs, LGBT, women, Mizrahim and others), and after the occupation in 1967, violent behavior and demonization towards the Palestinians became legitimate in the name of values of heroism and defense. Violent became a way of thinking and color everyday behavioral practice.
The Hebrew language has become a political tool that allows to discriminate, to encourage militarism, to erase identities and to oppress in the name of values of honor and acceptance.
These implicit and explicit social practices are also reflected in the educational system in its lack of representation of children from minorities and other cultures and identities, in almost any context as though they were not a part of society.
Within the framework of the Venezia Institute for Diversity and Multiculturalism, We have developed educational initiatives that oppose occupation and oppression. we conduct training processes which enable educators to identify these gaps and create educational environment were all identities within both Jewish and Palestinian societies have a place, visibility and legitimacy in the society.
In the workshop, I will facilitate a short simulation activity illustrates the social mechanisms in the Israeli society. I will then present the training process we created and share the emotional obstacles, the social fear to touch subject which are outside the social consensus in days of shrinking space, as well as exciting stories of success.
true TRUE CRIME crime: The Attraction, Fetishism and Ethics of True Crime Stories: Entertainment for an Audience Safe at Home (performance)
The University of Newcastle, Creative Industries, Australia
University of Sydney Law School, Australia
Violence; criminal law; true crime; performance; visual art; ethics; creative writing; site; autobiography; photography.
A man who writes stories
A woman who takes photos
A motel room
A performance artist
On a dark and stormy night, a criminologist/visual artist and writer/performer book into a motel.
true TRUE CRIME crime is a performance/presentation exploring what happens when criminal cases, academic theory and tabloid become personal. Undertaking research into the nexus of legal narratives and sites of crime, specifically modest, inexpensive motel rooms (FP v R  NSWCCA 182), we have found our academic distance challenged by the intrusion of lived experience. The motel room presents as an unremarkable and banal site, a space of anonymity and privacy, yet simultaneously one shared with countless others, and transgression (Pritchard and Morgan 2005).
The performance shifts from the humorous, to the bizarre and ultimately to an autographical account of true crime. Through a combination of parallel academic presentation and embodied performance, we move from legal narrative and forensic evidence, as well as hauntology and the lure of dark tourism (Hutchings 1999; Derrida 2006; Linnemann 2015; Fiddler 2018), to an abrupt convergence with lived experience of violence – a truth of true crime. As academic engagement collides with autobiography and performing the self (Heddon 2007; Nicholson 2003) within a commonplace geography (Linnemann 2015), how does this call into question the ethics and outcomes of artistic interaction with these sites, and the larger issue of creative response to narratives of violence and trauma (Bray Scott 2014; Biber 2018)?
Incorporating aspects of our individual creative practices including; performance, photography, audio-scape, visual art, autobiography, embodied practice, creative writing and found text, alongside our academic research into crime, storytelling and the palimpsests of site and narrative, the performative presentation seeks to challenge traditional forms of academic research. In this process, we test the ethics of creative practice in relation to true narratives of true crime.