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CFP: Texas A&M Symbolic Violence Conference

Submitted by Jim Aune on September 22, 2011 - 1:06pm

Call for Papers, "Symbolic Violence Conference," Texas A&M University, March 1-4, 2012

The attempted assassination of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in February 2011 seemed to confirm the fears of many observers that public discourse in the United States had reached a dangerously low level of civility. The distinction between persuasion and force dates back to ancient Greek civilization, yet it remains unclear how rhetoric and communication relate to violence. This conference is an interdisciplinary exploration of the following issues: Why do so many people find cultural representations of violence pleasurable? Do images and arguments ever cause violence directly, or is it the case, as Justice Holmes said, that "every idea is an incitement"? Are legal sanctions against incitement to racial, religious, or gender violence appropriate in a liberal democracy? Most violence in the world today is done in the name of religion; how does religion work to legitimate or eliminate violence? How did torture become acceptable in the United States after 2001? What does it mean to speak for or speak as a victim of violence? The liberal arts are founded on the notion that reading good books can make us better people, but can reading bad books make us worse people? If so, how? Is there a distinctive political rhetoric of justification of violence? Viewed from the standpoint of the rhetoric of inquiry, what are the most persuasive explanation-forms that account for violent conduct and symbolic violence? Plenary session speakers include David Zarefsky, Theresa Beiner, Christian Lundberg, Dana Cloud, Stephen Hartnett, Joshua Gunn, Adria Battaglia, Erin Rand, Randall Bytwerk, Kevin DeLuca, and Bob Ivie. There will be 4 competitive/submitted panel sessions as well.

Scholars interested in contributing a paper to the conference for the competitive panel sessions should submit a one-page abstract to:
Jim Aune
Department of Communication
102 Bolton Hall
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4234
Or by email to (email submissions are encouraged)
Deadline for abstract submissions is October 15, 2011. Notifications will go out November 15, 2011. Completed papers are due February 1, 2012.

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