Call for papers – Public Understanding: Exploring Representations of War and Genocide

Public Understanding: Exploring Representations of War and Genocide


Date: Friday, 8th November 2013

Location: Imperial War Museum, London

Keynote speakers: Professor Dan Stone (RHUL) and Professor Anna Reading (KCL)

Representations of war and genocide in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries can act as a platform for victims to share their stories, call perpetrators to account, raise public awareness, and mobilise political and ethical action in the present. How war and genocide are presented and represented form the reference frames within which the public is able to comprehend and respond to them. The study of these important issues provides the opportunity to translate historical events to present conflicts. But what are the limits of these representations? How are we responsible for the representations we put forth, study, or view? All research proposals that focus on a theme related to representations of war and genocide and the scope of public understanding are welcome, with potential topics ranging from:

  • War and genocide in literature, film, photography, and journalism
  • Trauma and amnesia
  • The trans-generational impact of persecution
  • The Holocaust and popular culture
  • Individual and collective memory
  • Using past conflicts to shape present concerns
  • Educational issues
  • Silenced or suppressed representations
  • Ethics and aesthetics
  • The difference between presentation, re-presentation, and representation
  • Artistic and literary approaches to war and genocide
  • Remembrance and memorials
  • Museums and exhibits
  • Questions of theory and methodology
  • Alternative forms of representation
  • How representations shape public perceptions

We anticipate that these and related issues will be of interest to people working in, among other areas, history, literature, cultural studies, philosophy, political theory, sociology, and media studies.

We invite postgraduate research students to submit an abstract of 250-300 words for 20-minute papers. Please include a short biography and 5-10 key words. Send submissions to by Monday, 2 September 2013. Please also indicate if you are interested in chairing a panel.

Please visit the conference website for updates:

This conference is co-roganised by Emily Stiles and Lia Deromedi and is sponsored by Royal Holloway, the University of London’s Holocaust Research Centre. Emily Stiles is a former University of Southampton MA History student and is currently studying for a PhD under Professor Tom Lawson, himself a Parkes Institute PhD Alumnus,  at the University of Winchester.  

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