Violent Times, Rising Protests. Structures, Experiences, and Feelings
12-13 September 2019, University of Berne.
Keynotes: Noémi Michel (Université de Genève), Jack Halberstam (Columbia University)
Violence is a persistent element of modern history. This notwithstanding, a growing number of people experience today’s world as particularly violent. The media’s incessant coverage of continuous warfare, the rise of hate in social media, the growing number of angry citizens or Wutbürger, the increasingly open racist, sexist and homophobic discrimination against all ‘others’ and ’strangers,’ and last but not least the persistency of sexual assaults, are just a few examples of violence’s omnipresent, global dimension. Are these expressions of violence connected to each other and if so, in which way? How can violence be analyzed in its historic distinctiveness? How to grasp the way it makes people feel?
Violence is not just a central and powerful structuring principle of gender, sexuality, race and class identifications and discourses, it is also part of the fabric of modern societies and structures all social relations. In fact, it forms a constitutive part of most states and societies, their gender orders, family organizations, economic systems, and looking relations (this list is not exhaustive). It shapes conditions of precarity and migration, as much as the daily exposure to stigma, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. We are particularly interested in work on the multiple ways in which feelings such as hatred, envy, anger, rage, and insecurity impact private and work lives, laws and discourses, at times violently.
Importantly, today’s violent times have also politicized and mobilized new publics, generated creative forms of protest, incited the most unlikely coalitions, and emboldened to live life differently. From the Arab Spring, Occupy, Black Lives Matter and #MeToo through to the increasing visibility of trans* rights movements - the growing plurality of collective practices and calls for more viable modes of existence is intricately connected to the violence experienced. Our aim is thus twofold, first to get a better understanding of structural violence and its multiple - physical, symbolic, economic, affective and epistemic dimensions – and secondly to explore strategies and tactics of being, doing and feeling Otherwise, and visions of a livable life in solidarity.