23 Nov 2007 All day CRASSH


Convenor: Dr Deborah Staines (Macquarie University)

What agency does writing have during times of war and genocide?
Can it function as a mode of resistance?
How does writing speak to violence?

Acts of military intervention pose a responsibility both to the citizens of those countries whose governments go to war and to writers who oppose them. Recent interventions by Britain, the US and Australia in Iraq and Afghanistan provide a contemporary context for rethinking the agency of writing in times of war and genocide. Discursive justifications and contestations swirl through this “matrix” of violence.

This one day conference will highlight the power of resistance literature, along with the risks of such writing – for instance, where the threat of persecution or even the assassination of critical commentators is a consequence, as in the case of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. This raises serious academic questions about the potential relationships between writing, resistance and violence in both current and historical contexts.

Participants in this conference will reflect on the specific power of writing in the production of critical responses to war and genocide both now and in the past. Resistance is conceived of in terms of critique, dissent and power, by means of textual forms that may include media production such as journalism, film, television and radio.

The conference programme can be seen and downloaded from the link on the right.


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk