CFP: Revealing Histories of Violence: The Representational Politics of Trace at the RAI Art, Materiality and Representation conference 2018 in London

Magda Buchczyk's picture

Call for Papers for the Panel 44:
Revealing Histories of Violence: The Representational Politics of Trace

As part of 
The Royal Anthropological Institute/SOAS/British Museum conference on Art, Materiality and Representation

1 - 3 June 2018 London, UK

Deadline for Paper Proposals: 8th of January 2018

Panel Organizers: Zahira Aragüete-Toribio (University of Geneva), Magda Buchczyk (University of Bristol) and Aimee Joyce (University of St Andrews)

Panel Description:

For anthropologists working with histories of violence and erasure, the trace has become an important methodological and analytical tool. Material environments, from objects, landscapes, buildings, and bodies, are haunted by traces of other histories and social worlds. Traces are spacio-temporal events that reveal the affective relationship between the individual, the social world and the environment. They hold, manifest and transmit memories and lingering histories otherwise unspoken. For Napolitano (2015), they are knots of histories at the margins, situated in the social fields of marginalization, auratic presence, repression and forgetting. This way they speak of both the limits of representation and the anthropological sublime.

Anthropologists dealing with traces of violent histories, therefore, have to ask not only if the trace can be made to speak, but should it? What was once a purely academic problem has become one of the key conflicts in recent debates on historical memory - can we find a way to embrace the traces of alternate histories that haunt our places? What do we do with the traces of slavery, conflict, and ethnic cleansing that stalk small communities? How can we account for these traces? How do we represent their affective and political dimensions?

Please apply on-line using the electronic form on the conference website: