Anatomies of Grief: Conversations on an Ethics of Living

Vasuki Shanmuganathan's picture
Call for Papers
June 23, 2022
Ontario, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Digital Humanities, Race / Ethnic Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Anatomies of Grief: Conversations on an Ethics of Living
Thursday, June 23 2022

While there has been sustained discussion on grief in relation to illness, war, and death, what is at stake when we explore this affective landscape in relation to loss and sadness, which  illuminate grief in the realm of the living? Without abandoning the phenomena of individual and collective mourning in relation to ongoing historical events and atrocities, how might we tend to the deeper revelations that “grief” offers us? What are these revelations that reside beneath “grief” and what do they offer? What ethical engagements with “grief” enable a critique of modern conceptions of temporality, spatiality, and corporeality that often compel, if not demand, a linear engagement with loss, which assumes an expiration of this affective relation? What livable futures might we imagine if we embraced grief as a radical affective resource for change? This gathering will consider multiple interpretations of grief, while accounting for the situational, local, and transcultural contexts of its emergence.

For this online symposium, we welcome presentations that draw upon various modes of critical thought and new methodologies. This may include standard academic papers or creative explorations that utilize the archival, digital media and multi-modal engagements, literary and non-literary texts, site analysis, and other source materials.

Possible topics might address the following questions:

  • Who represents the grievable body?
  • Can grief produce collective exclusions (gender, race, class, disability, sexuality, etc)?
  • Is the term ‘grief’ overused in current discourse? Who benefits from a grief economy?
  • How can we situate the long and ongoing grief of Indigenous genocide and erasures? What loss is overlooked by reconciliation? Whose grief matters?
  • What can Black feminist thought and activism teach us about the realm of grief?
  • Can we grieve injustice through digital spaces? How has technology bifurcated the event or process?
  • In what spaces can we imagine grief to exist?
  • Who is forbidden from mourning?
  • What might archival memories fail to tell us about pain?
  • Whose grief, loss and mourning is acknowledged?
  • How does grief extend to non-human beings, objects, and abstract concepts? Ways of doing things?

Send your 200-250 word abstract and 150-word bio by Friday, May 27, 2022 to in a PDF format using the email title “Abstract Submission for Anatomies of Grief.” Selected presentations from the symposium will be considered for future publication.

Contact Info: 

Race, Ethics, and Power Project

Centre for Ethics

University of Toronto


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