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Alison Landsberg

James Dawes

Jill Scott

Come to 2012 Conflicts and Atrocities Conference October 11-13 Featuring Keynote Addresses Re Holocaust/Atrocities

The University of Manitoba and Languages and Culture Circle of Manitoba are holding an international conference in Winnipeg Entiteld Languages and Cultures of Conflicts and Atrocities

Keynote Speakers

Alison Landsberg (George Mason University)-"Translating Atrocity:The Materiality of virtual sites of Experience" (Oct 11)-free of charge-scroll down to see description of lecture

James Dawes (Macalester College)-"Confessions fo a War Criminal" (Oct 12)-free of charge-scroll down to see description of lecture

Jill Scott (Queen’s University)-"The quasi-Judicial imagination Restoring & Generating Justice in Post Unification German Literature-scroll down ot see description of lecture

Conference Timetable

Conference opens on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at approx. 6:30 the University of Manitoba Fort Garry Campus, with the key note presentation by Dr. Alison Landsberg, followed by a reception.

All events on Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13 will be at the conference hotel, Inn at the Forks.

  • The conference will end at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13.
  • All papers are expected to be 20 minutes with usually 10 minutes of discussion time (most will be arranged in 90 minute sections of three papers)


The Keynote lectures by Alyson Landsberg (Oct. 11) and James Dawes (Oct. 12) are open to the public and free; to listen to the Lunch Keynote by Jill Scott (Oct. 13) a one-day registration for Oct. 13 is required. To attend panels, please register as conference participant, not presenting a paper. For details and costs, please go to registration page. 

For information how to register for the conference, if you are not presenting a paper, go to registration page.

For more info contact -Email: [email protected]

 Conference venue: University of Manitoba (Fort Garry Campus) and Inn at the Forks (conference hotel), right next to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Conference website: . Final program will be posted on the  website by October 2.  Free parking at the B lot, map to be posted on the conference website by early October. Map for the on-campus event online to be put up-see above website.

Keynote Lecture 1 – Alison Landsberg (Associate Professor at George Mason University)

Dr. Landsberg, a scholar in History and Art History, specializes in memory studies and U.S. history, including early cinema, race and self-making, museums and the installation of memory. She is the author of Prosthetic Memory: The Transformation of American Remembrance in the Age of Mass Culture (Columbia UP 2004), in which she considers the way in which individuals are increasingly able to take on memories of events they did not live through. She is interested in the potential of such memories to produce empathy and to become the grounds for progressive politics. Lecture title: Translating Atrocity: The Materiality of Virtual Sites of Experience

Museums and memorials devoted to atrocities are premised on the idea that sharing in another group’s trauma can be constructive both socially and politically. But what exactly does it mean to share in someone else’s experience of atrocity? What would be required to make atrocity meaningful—while maintaining its historical specificity—across disparate cultures, geographies, temporalities and spaces? Any such inquiry must begin from the premise that it is impossible to ever fully capture another’s experience. And yet, there is both a moral and political imperative to try to understand the nature and effects of distant atrocities. In this paper I will suggest that such work might be constructively theorized as, in effect, a project of translation. Inherent in the notion of translation, is the notion of incommensurability, of approximating rather than achieving verisimilitude. To consider this process as translation is to foreground its inevitable partiality, incompleteness, imperfection. The translation of atrocity would necessarily be a material, not simply linguistic process, and as such would have both a cognitive and an affective dimension. It would need to convey the specific, material details of historical experience but also the sensory, affective dimension. Finally, I will consider the extent to which certain virtual sites associated with atrocity museums, such as The Secret Annex Online (on the Anne Frank House website), might be particularly well suited to this sort of translation. As my paper will suggest, the virtual experience is both material and immaterial—material in that it is iconically connected to the real Anne Frank House and experienced by an embodied viewer, and yet immaterial in its profound artificiality as a graphically constructed space.

Keynote Lecture 2 –James Dawes (Professor, Macalester College)

Dr. Dawes, a scholar of American and Comparative Literature, is Chair and Professor of English at Macalester College and Founder and Director of the Program in Human Rights and Humanitarianism at Macalester College and specializes in literary and aesthetic theory, international law and human rights, trauma, and war studies. He is the author of That the World May Know: Bearing Witness to Atrocity (Harvard UP 2007) and The Language of War: Literature and Culture in the US from the Civil War through World War II (Harvard UP 2002). His current manuscript is entitled Evil Men. Confessions of a War Criminal

This paper is about atrocity and representation. Based on interviews I have conducted with convicted war criminals, it analyzes the different ways people have tried to make sense of our astonishing capacity for evil. The perpetrators interviewed for this project had committed atrocities, caused incalculable suffering, but they had also experienced trauma – indeed, had experienced their own crimes as a kind of trauma. What is the meaning of their grief and their apology? What do we learn about the ethics of representation from trying to tell their stories? This talk will seek to answer to these questions.

Keynote Lecture 3 – Jill Scott (Professor, Queen’s University):

Dr. Scott, a scholar of German and Comparative Literature, specializes in studies in conflict resolution, forgiveness and reconciliation, the social dynamics of mourning and grief, transitional and restorative justice, as well as in law and literature. She is the author of A Poetics of Forgiveness (Palgrave 2010) and of Electra after Freud (Cornell UP 2005). The Quasi-Judicial Imagination: Restoring and Generating Justice in Post-Unification German Literature

 Conference Committee

  • Adina Balint-Babos (French Studies, University of Winnipeg
  • Elena Baraban (Slavic Studies, University of Manitoba)
  • Catherine Chatterley (History, University of Manitoba)
  • Stephan Jaeger (German Studies, University of Manitoba), chair / LCMND President
  • Adam Muller (English and Comparative Literature and Film, University of Manitoba)
  • Andrew Woolford (Sociology, University of Manitoba)

Conference Website:



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