Representing Modern War(s): Fields of Action and Fields of Vision

3 June 2013


Call for papers

International Conference at the University of Le Havre, France
Wednesday 19th, Thursday 20th and Friday 21st March, 2014
Organised by the Groupe de Recherche Identités et Cultures (GRIC, EA 4314), Le Havre

Academic Advisory Committee:
Donna Andreolle (Le Havre, GRIC), Annette Becker (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense), Claire Bowen (Le Havre, GRIC), Robert Burgoyne (University of St Andrews), Anne-Cécile Guilbard (Poitiers, FORELL), Catherine Hoffmann (Le Havre, FORELL, Poitiers), Kate McLoughlin (Birkbeck College, University of London), Monica Michlin (Paris 4 - Sorbonne), Catherine Rannoux-Wespel (Poitiers, FORELL)

This conference concludes a four-year cycle of workshop conferences on perceptions and representations of war in the fixed and moving image and in the written word. Workshop themes have included war reporting, writing war from Shakespeare to 9/11 and beyond, war in photography and photojournalism, war in graphic novels and life writing, modern war in contemporary cinema, television series and video games. Our objective in these workshops was to bring together scholars in the fields of literature, the graphic arts and cultural studies and to discuss ways in which narratives have been modified and created in function both of changes in “the laws and customs” of war itself and the availability of new forms of representation. The workshops were also seen as a forum for exchanges between the academic community and professional writers, artists and photographers working in the area of war representation.
The purpose of the 2014 conference is both to develop the lines of investigation opened in the workshops, to add new material and develop theoretical approaches. We would especially, but not exclusively, wish to continue our investigations into:
• subject choices, what is seen/unseen/shown in representations of war?
• “mise en abîme” in war narratives - war as a spectacle, “theatres of war” and the dramatization/production of war.
• perspective and focalization – framing, distortion, expansion, filtering in war narratives.
• genre and mode – the persistence and appropriation of traditional models of war writing and graphic representation, including epic, tragedy, mythology, elegy, mock epic, realistic/mimetic mode, but also the deconstruction and questioning of these models.
• war and virtual reality/hyper-reality.
• aesthetic and ideological problems associated with the over- or under-representation of conflicts, abstraction, distancing, representing horror.
We welcome proposals for papers from scholars working in the fields of literature, life-writing, journalism, photography, music, the graphic arts, cinema, television, video and video games.
All post-1850 conflicts, as well as imaginary wars, may be examined, but proposals concerning forgotten or under-exposed theatres of war or lesser-known aspects of more familiar conflicts are particularly encouraged.
Papers (30 minutes) may be in English or French.
Further information may be obtained from Claire Bowen at [email protected] or [email protected] Proposals and a brief biographical note should be sent to this address by September 1st 2013.
Selected contributions to the conference and the preceding workshops will be published.

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