Reminder: CFP: Narrating Violence: Making Race, Making Difference

Brian Schiff Discussion

University of Turku (Finland) and The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights, and Conflict Prevention at The American University of Paris (France)

15–17 March 2021 in Turku
29–31 March 2021 in Paris


In collaboration with The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights, and Conflict Prevention at The American University of Paris, we invite scholars, students, practitioners, and activists from all fields to take part in the Winter symposium of the Nordic Summer University Study Circle Narrative and Violence.

This symposium will explore questions on the production, practice, and instrumentalization of violent narratives about racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual, and political minorities and groups. While multiple theoretical perspectives will be included in both locations, the symposium will have a broader international focus at The American University of Paris and will facilitate discussions primarily pertaining to the Nordic and Baltic sphere at the University of Turku.

We are interested in bringing together international scholars from multiple disciplines in order to investigate the role of narratives as a resource for motivating, justifying, and rationalizing structural violence, discrimination, and even mass violence or genocide.

How and why are such narratives produced and disseminated? Are there common themes or patterns across cultures and cases? How do they derive their power? Why do persons and social groups subscribe to them? Are certain groups or persons more predisposed to appropriating these narratives? Are there ways to dissemble them?

In order to explore these questions, we welcome papers that examine the language of stigmatisation, pollution, and discrimination from broad historical and geographical perspectives. We encourage papers that address the influence of fictional and non-fictional representations, oral histories and legal proceedings as well as the work of activist movements that attempt to counter violent narratives and reflect on how to shape possible, multicultural, inclusive futures.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):
● The social processes whereby violent depictions of race and otherness are constructed and sustained.
● The relationship between figurative or symbolic violence and physical violence.
● The recycling and reuse of violent narratives across different historical events, cultures, and social contexts.
● The role of fictional and non-fictional accounts and other genres in the construction of violent narratives.
● The distribution, circulation, and appropriation of conspiracy theories.
● Strategies for dissembling violent narratives.
● The memory and persistence of violent narratives over time.
● Issues of language, identity, and culture in narrating both new and old minoritization.
● The role of different media (film, text, music, social media) in the construction of violent narratives.
● The role of comics as a medium in the construction of violent narratives. (This topic will be in collaboration with Study Circle 9, Comics and Society: Research, Art, and Cultural Politics’ seminar ‘Racialised Violence and Comics in the Nordic Region and Beyond’).

The symposium is planned as a hybrid event (with both online and face-to-face participation, depending on the sanitary situation). Please send proposals for papers, workshops, roundtables, and performances (max. 300 words) with a title and a short biographical statement (100 words) to and by 1st December 2020, indicating your preferred mode of participation.

If you wish to attend without presenting, please get in touch with us and send us a short biographical note.

PhD and MAstudents are eligible for up to five ECTS points for participation and presentation of a paper.

The preliminary programme will be announced in January 2021.

Go to for more information about NSU and the Study Circles, or to sign up for the newsletter.

Information about The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention can be found here.


Organizing committee: Marta-Laura Cenedese (Turku Institute for Advanced Studies), Helena Duffy (University of Turku), Constance Pâris de Bollardière (The American University of Paris) and Brian Schiff (The American University of Paris).

To participate in the symposium, you need to become a member of the Nordic Summer University (NSU). The annual membership fee facilitates the existence of NSU, which is a volunteer-based organisation. As a member you can sign up for all events organised by NSU,
take part in the democratic decision-making process on which NSU is based, and become part of the extensive network of NSU. There are two rates: a standard fee of €25 and a discounted membership of €10 for students, self-financed/freelance/independent scholars and artists.

The Nordic Summer University builds on the values of equality, inclusion, and sustainability by combining two traditions: the continental ideals of learning and cultivation of the self, and the Nordic heritage of folkbildning and self-organization, with its investments in open-access education and collaboration through participation and active citizenship.

Circle 4 is actively committed to implementing sustainable practices at its events. At our symposia we offer vegetarian/vegan food only and aim towards zero waste. We thus invite members to bring their own reusable coffee cup and water bottle to the symposia.