Written on the Body: Narrative (Re)constructions of Violence(s)

Marta-Laura Cenedese's picture
Call for Papers
May 1, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies

We invite scholars, students, practitioners and activists from all fields to take part in the second symposium of the Study Circle Narrative and Violence (2020–2022). The Circle is run under the auspices of the Nordic Summer University, a migratory, non–hierarchical group of international researchers that is a forum for experimentation and cross–disciplinary collaboration welcoming members from both within and outside universities and other institutions.


Following the discussions at our first symposium on how to make sense of violence in the digital age, we now wish to direct our attention to the ‘bodies’ that are subjects and objects of violence and that, by simply ‘being’, narrate their traumatic experience. But how do bodies narrate violence(s)? Our understanding of a body is purposefully encompassing and includes the human and nonhuman, the organic and inorganic, and their diverse material, or corporeal, forms. We are therefore engaging with bodies that are human, animal, vegetal, natural and technological; that are both singular and collective (i.e. the social body); that are situated in both the physical and virtual space; and that express naturecultural entanglements (Haraway 2003). To consider the materiality of violence implies attending to its trans-corporeal intersections and therefore addressing its inseparability from the ‘environment’—a network of relations (human and nonhuman), phenomena and space (e.g. the home, the neighbourhood, the city) that foster, produce, perform, and ultimately bear witness to violence. Hence, inspired by Catriona Sandilands (2019), we envisage the entangled forms of violence done to human and nonhuman bodies as metonymic and intersectional. Our ambition is to engage with the imaginative (re)constructions of (human/nonhuman/social/natural/technological) bodies that perform or experience violence; with how they reproduce the intertwining of gender, power, agency and heteropatriarchal capitalism; and with their contribution to ethics, aesthetics, and politics. Finally, in addressing how bodies narrate violence we wish to reflect on the implications and effects of such (embodied) practices—whether positive or negative—and on the possible strategies to counter-act or counter-story them.


We invite contributions exploring various practices of storying violence on bodies, and attending to ‘the wounds of the world’. Suggested themes relate to narratives addressing human and nonhuman bodies, within non-digital and digital realities, fictional or factual, and their multiple intersections. They include but are not limited to:

  • Self-inflicted violence (e.g. self-harm, eating disorders, suicide, etc.)
  • Other-directed violence (abuse, harassment, murder, genocide, etc.)
  • Technological representations/forms of bodily violence (e.g. social media, videogames, drones, etc.)
  • Aesthetic representations of bodily violence (e.g. art, literature, film, etc.)
  • (Neo)colonial labour and slavery
  • Appropriation of indigenous knowledge
  • Environmental violence and its effects on communities (e.g. natural catastrophes and their aftermaths, exploitation of indigenous/ancestral lands, etc.)
  • Entanglements of misogynist and anti-ecological violence
  • Micro- and macro-political violences
  • Governmental policing and rationalization of (public) spaces
  • Reconstructions of war-crimes (e.g. forensic architecture)
  • The effects of field-work violence: researchers, practitioners, activists, NGOs workers


The framework of the Study Circle is intersectional and open to multiple approaches and methodologies in humanities, social sciences and from the practicing field. The overarching intention of our three-year Study Circle is to contribute in particular to the fields of digital and environmental violence.


We welcome proposals for presentations, workshops, performances, projects and screenings. We encourage participants to craft their contributions in the format that they find most productive. Regular academic presentations should be 20 minutes, whereas for other presentation types, we kindly ask you to specify the required time and equipment.


Please send proposals (max. 300 words) with a title and a short biographical statement (100 words) to narrativeandviolence@gmail.com by 1st May 2020. This is also the deadline for the application for scholarships and grants (for details, see below). If you would like to attend the symposium without presenting your work, please send us a biographical statement and briefly explain your interest in participating. PhD and MA students are eligible for up to five ECTS points for participation and presentation of a paper. The preliminary programme will be announced in early June 2020 at http://nordic.university/study-circles/4-narrative-violence/ and on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Narrative-and-Violence-Study-Circle-111016990296415/). On http://nordic.university you will also find more information about NSU and may sign up for the newsletter.


Practical information about the Summer Symposium

The summer session will take place at Rønningen
 Folkehøgskole, just outside of Oslo, between Sunday 26th July (arrival day) and Sunday 2nd August (departure day). More practical information about the summer session can be found here: https://nsuarrangement.wixsite.com/nsu2020

Contact Info: 

Marta-Laura Cenedese

Contact Email: