Representing Prisoner of War Experience

18 July 2013

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One-day interdisciplinary
in conjunction with War and Representation Network (WAR-Net)
University of Warwick, Saturday 9 November 2013

To be a prisoner is to be
variously written

Paul Gready

This one-day international conference will bring together researchers studying
the experiences of prisoners of war and displaced people in times of conflict,
with a particular focus on how these experiences have been narrated in various
forms, both by the historical actors who underwent forced dislocation (captors
and captives) and by researchers themselves. In association with the academic
network WAR-Net (the War and Representation Network) this conference at the
University of Warwick will contribute to the vibrant new field of Prisoner of
War Studies. Researchers from the fields of history, literature, theatre,
politics, international law, film, archaeology and museum studies will discuss
how captivity experiences are ‘represented’, in the broadest sense. This
conference hopes to further the development of the international Prisoner of
War Network recently created by researchers at the University of Warwick, by
encouraging future collaboration on the subject across disciplines and

Keynote speakers: Professor Bob Moore (Sheffield), Dr Gillian Carr (Cambridge).

Topics of discussion include (but are not limited to):

  • The genre(s) of captivity: What methods
    have prisoners of war used to represent their experiences and why? How do
    different genres (film, life-writing, oral history) interact with one another?
    Is there a distinct prisoner of war narrative? 
  • Discipline and materiality in forced
    displacement: Under what conditions and using what materials do prisoners of war
    ‘write’ their experiences during captivity?
  • Time and Space: What is the significance
    of time, dislocation and distance to the prisoner of war narrative? How is
    prisoner of war experience written after the end of captivity? Does the meaning
    of the prisoner of war narrative change over time?
  • Gender and Class: What is the
    significance of gender to prisoner of war experience? Are class distinctions
    important to the prisoner of war narrative?
  • Trauma and Silence: What is omitted from
    the prisoner of war narrative and why? What role does ‘trauma’ in prisoner of
    war narratives? 
  • Theorising academic research of
    captivity: How do researchers ‘represent’ or write prisoner of war experience?
    What challenges are there in such research? What theoretical frameworks can
    inform our study of captivity and dislocation?

Papers can also address any other aspect relevant to writing prisoner of war
experience. We encourage applications studying prisoner of war experience
from any conflict.

PROPOSAL DEADLINE: Please submit all proposals (max. 300 words) to
[email protected] by 31 July 2013. Accepted speakers and
delegates will be charged a small conference fee. Attendees must arrange their
own travel to and from the university. We encourage applications from academic
researchers, postgraduate students and institutions. Proposals and papers
should be in English.

Organised by Elodie Duché and Grace Huxford (Warwick), in conjunction with
WAR-Net founders Gill Plain (St. Andrews) and Kate McLoughlin (Birbeck). For
further information please email [email protected]

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