CFP: The Politics of Victimhood in Conflict Resolution
Deadline: September 1, 2015
The Center for Narrative and Conflict Resolution at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University invites papers for its upcoming fall conference on November 6, 2015, “The Politics of Victimhood in Conflict Resolution,” which intends to create a dialogic space for inquiry into the complexities of violence and the treatment of victims and perpetrators in research, theory, and practice. Policies and practices of conflict interventions have relied on the maintenance of clear and distinct categories of victim and perpetrator, obscuring the nuances of political subjectivity and identity in the aftermath violence, whether that violence is genocide, civil war, rape, torture, or other inflicted harms.
This conference will enable scholars and practitioners to challenge assumptions about “victim” and “victimizer” roles. As we account for violence, we often formulate victims as passive and perpetrators as agents. As this dichotomy is central to our descriptions of conflict, what effect does it have on our ability to intervene in violent, or “post-violent” contexts?
Yet, if we were to blur the categories of victim and victimizer, what does this imply for research and policy? As scholars and practitioners puzzle over how to redress suffering in the aftermath of violence, exploration of the dichotomy between victim and perpetrator challenges our emancipatory theories that undergird of feminism, post-colonial studies, oppression and racism. Our inquiry into victims and victimhood becomes ambiguous, calling for a broader discussion of the “language games” we use to account for violence.
This conference and resulting publications have relevance for understanding how the narratives about victims/perpetrators circulate, as meta-narratives, colonizing and sculpting the public sphere, what can and cannot be said. Given that post-conflict settings can be places where the public is may working to open up spaces where talking about the past is possible, the construction of victim/perpetrator narrative lines may open up these spaces, but may, simultaneously shut them down. The relation between these critically important storylines and the construction of the pubic sphere will be explored.
Diane Enns will be giving a keynote address, building on her book The Violence of Victimhood. We invite papers and panels from all disciplines and domains of practice, engaging with, but not limited to the following themes:
Topics to be explored:
-Victimhood and agency
-Gender violence and victimhood
-Moral ambiguity of victimhood
-Victims that become perpetrators
-Perpetrators as victims
-Power imbalances and claims to victimhood
-Victimhood and just war
-Victimhood in social justice
-The nature of the Public Sphere in postconflict settings
We will invite conference papers to be submitted for a special issue of our journal, Narrative and Conflict: Explorations in Theory and Practice.
Please provide the title and the abstract, maximum 300 words, of the paper you are proposing: your name, institutional affiliation, and email address. If you are proposing a panel, also include a brief statement about the panel’s objectives.
Paper submissions are due September 1, 2015. Please send proposals for papers and panels to Jenny White, email@example.com , the Manager for the Center for Narrative and Conflict Resolution.