Violence, space and the archive

I’ve been busy transforming ‘Trauma Geographies‘ from a lecture into a long-form essay, and in the process the original discussion of casualty evacuation from France and Belgium in the First World War has morphed into a separate essay on ‘Woundscapes on the Western Front’.

More on both soon, but I’ve become so immersed in the archives again (Imperial War Museum and the Wellcome) that news of this upcoming conference from the ever-enterprising NUI Galway (23-24 May 2019) arrived at just the right moment:

We invite paper submissions from across the disciplinary spectrum for a conference on ‘Violence, Space and the Archives’ to examine the challenges and possibilities presented by archival work that interrogates the imbrications of violence and space. Many research projects concerned with the spatial, contextual, and/or historical specificities of violence involve the assembling of an empirical corpus, however defined, in order to (re)construct moments of struggle and contestation. Archives are often constituted by, and reflect, the concerns of power. The archive is a site of silence as much as a site of statement. Still, archival collections often allow the voices of the dispossessed, the marginal, and those most subject to regimes of power, to speak, albeit often through a narrowed aperture. Along with the strategic concerns of officialdom, the archives may also give voice to alternative political desires and ambitions, revealed through moments of contestation and resistance. As a political technology, archives render the state’s claimed spaces visible and orderable through cataloguing, but may also underline the contingency of dominant configurations of power by revealing sites of refusal. Of course, ’the archive’ is not limited to institutional and official repositories, but also to a shared fidelity to unofficial and counter-hegemonic memories that refuse to be forgotten.

We invite 20 minute papers that explore some of the following non-exhaustive list of themes: • The silence of the archive • Political desires/spatial imaginaries • Making contested space/ rebel space/ oppositional space visible • Contentious episodes and the archive • Histories/genealogies of thought as archive • Collective memory and resistance • Humanitarian archives and histories of violence • Archiving in times of conflict • Conflict and digital archives

Send abstracts of 250-300 words, along with name and affiliation and a short bio (100 words) to violenceandspace@gmail.com by 21 January 2019.

The conference takes place in NUI Galway and is organised by the Whitaker Institute’s Research Cluster on Conflict, Humanitarianism and Security in association with the Moore Institute, the School of Political Science & Sociology and the Peace and Conflict Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland. It builds on the success of the 2018 Conference on Violence, Space, and the Political.

Organisers: Gary Hussey and Niall Ó Dochartaigh, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway.  More here.

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