Robert Fisher's picture
March 20, 2016 to March 22, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Human Rights, Humanities, Psychology, Sociology

Call for Submissions 2016

Sunday 20th March – Tuesday 22nd March 2016
Budapest, Hungary


From early accounts of witch-burning to more recent media coverage of punishments carried out by ISIS, we are confronted by constant reminders of the tendency of human beings to be cruel to one another. While it is easy to condemn beheadings, systematic rape of prisoners and other acts of torture as barbaric, the existence of tacit or explicit support among some members of the public for capital punishment, lynchings and the use of torture to extract information from suspected terrorists reveals the complexities and inconsistencies that shape debates on this topic. What counts as torture? Why do human beings torture one another? Can acts of torture ever be justified? Why do some acts of torture trigger condemnation, while others fail to generate the same level of outrage? Do fictional portrayals of torture in videogames, films and television series affect the way we consider real life torture? How can torture be prevented?


In an attempt to provide answers to these and other relevant questions, the Torture research and publishing stream offers a platform for inter-, cross- and multi-disciplinary dialogue involving participants from across the disciplinary spectrum. The event provides valuable opportunities for knowledge exchange between individuals with an interest and expertise in the topic, including policy and legal experts, representatives from NGOs and philanthropic organisations, activists, medical and clinical professionals, social workers and caregivers, educators, artists, business people, journalists, victims and perpetrators of torture, historians, and researchers. It is intended that the deep inter-disciplinary engagement facilitated by the event will foster greater understanding of torture, awareness of its effects on victims, perpetrators and society and action in the areas of prevention and caregiving.


Proposals are invited for presentations, workshops, panels, interactive round tables, performances, readings, screenings, or installation on any aspect of torture, and its use and effects throughout history and in contemporary societies, from liberal democracies to totalitarian states. The use of torture has grown in recent times, alongside the growth in attempts worldwide to reduce, or abolish torture, and the attempts at reduction, limitation and abolition will form a key part of conference study. Submissions may deal with any aspect of torture, including but not limited to:


Defining Torture
Definitions, such as that contained in the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment and Punishment, and the debate around the usefulness and accuracy of definitions as a basis for formulating treaties and improving practice. Issues around torture and:
• Sex
• Race
• Sexual orientation
• Asylum seekers
• Children
• Persons with disabilities
• Animals
• War
• Genocide/ethnic cleansing


Norms and expectations within police, prison and army personnel; international relations, manifestations of political power within national states and ideological groups struggling to achieve statehood.


Issues of Practice
Interrogation and its legitimacy, setting boundaries in state practice, exposure of the way that torturers are psychologically prepared and trained, the sites of torture such as prisoner of war camps, state-run detention centres, prisons, within civilian communities against persecuted minorities and in areas of the world where genocide is being systematically practiced.


History of Ideas
Influence of the Enlightenment, humanitarian ideals, varying political ideologies, the rule of law; torture and cultural relativism, histories of torture’s use and effects.


Torture and the State
Powerful institutions within states; institutions such as the CIA and their reach, values and power within a society; debates over extraordinary rendition, accountability across borders, information sharing between bodies within states.


Prevention, Reduction and Accountability
Treaties such as OPCAT and problems with implementation and accountability; aspects of implementation of appropriate legal frameworks across borders; information sharing; the usefulness of independent inspection regimes in places of detention; installing penalties in places of detention and/or instilling cultures of prevention through training and support; linking progress to overseas aid; domestic and international criminal prosecutions and civil suits seeking remedies against torturers and/or governments; work by NGOs, charities and philanthropic organisations.


Effects on survivors, both medical, psychological, social; the documentation of effects such as by The Istanbul Protocol in 1999, work by organisations such as Amnesty International, The Red Cross and very many human rights organisations; discussion and documentation of psychological consequences such as the loss and regaining of trust, the hard task of forgiveness.


Medical, social and psychological effects of torture on perpetrators
Societies that condone or tolerate torture
Punishment, retribution and rehabilitation of perpetrators


Torture and Medicine
Medical experimentation and torture
Ethical applications of knowledge gained through torture
Participation by medical professionals in acts of torture (e.g. capital punishment)
Torture and mental health: psychological profiles on victims and perpetrators


Torture and Religion
Torture narratives in religious/spiritual traditions
Torture carried out in the name of religion
Religion and spirituality as path to rehabilitation


The Business of Torture
Technologies and producers that support torture
Companies that do business with perpetrators of torture
Companies that engage in torture
Technologies and producers that assist in preventing torture
Designing and administering spaces of torture
Boycotts and ethical responses to corporate support for torture


Torture and Tourism
Dark tourism and the commodification of torture sites
Pilgrimages to sites of torture
The appeal of torture museums and sites associated with torture


Torture and the Arts
The literature and memoirs of survivors, both historical and contemporaneous
Creative practice as means of coping with effects of torture
Depictions of/engagements with torture in art, music, television, film, literature, drama, poetry, video games, graphic novels, etc.


Torture and Pedagogy
Strategies for teaching age-appropriate lessons
Challenges and strategies for researchers
Using the right language to talk about the issues


Further details and information can be found at the project website:


Call for Cross-Over Presentations
The Torture project will be meeting at the same time as a project on Research Methods. We welcome submissions which cross the divide between both project areas. If you would like to be considered for a cross project session, please mark your submission “Crossover Submission”.


What to Send
300 word abstracts, proposals and other forms of contribution should be submitted by Friday 9th October 2015.
All submissions be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.


You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Monday 19th October 2015.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 5th February 2016.


Abstracts may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:


a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Torture Abstract Submission


Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chairs with listed emails:


Organising Chairs:
Diana Medlicott:

John Parry: Jeffrey Bain Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law, Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, USA

Rob Fisher:


This event is an inclusive interdisciplinary research and publishing project. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.


All papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook.  Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.


Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation. Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.


Contact Info: 

Dr Rob Fisher

Priory House

149B Wroslyn Road

Freeland, Oxfordshire OX29 8HR

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1993 882087

Fax: +44 (0)870 4601132