CULT 435 Representations of Violence
Much attention has been devoted in recent years to understanding violence. As creative works have sought to document violence and understand its causes, accurate description and representation have often been deemed necessary to the process of healing and the prevention of future violence. This emphasis on describing and representing violence can, however, end up recreating in text or image another form of violence. Analyzing and critiquing hate speech or violent pornography, for example, may also mean repeating it. Making someone understand the experiences of war and other atrocities requires a certain art in representing the violence; the more explicit the image or text, the more one is made to feel the impact of the violence. At what point do such representations end up perpetrating violence as they aestheticize it? And more importantly perhaps, can these works also suggest solutions to violence? This course will explore answers to these questions through theoretical works, as well as through textual and visual representations of violence. This is a research seminar and requires the active participation of students in presentations and class discussions. Graduate students are also expected to carry out original research towards the final paper. For the possibility of taking this course at the graduate level see CULT 535.