Through the Looking Glass: Shifting Perceptions of War seminar

Group for War and Culture Studies, University of Westminster, Research Seminar Series 2012/2013

Through the Looking Glass: Shifting Perceptions of War

Wednesday 8 May 2013, 6 pm – 8 pm, Room 351
University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

Joram ten Brink, University of Westminster
‘The Act of Killing’

Joram will talk about a documentary he recently produced: “The Act of Killing”, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer and a major outcome of the Arts & Humanities Research Council’s Genocide and Genre Research Project awarded to The Centre for Research and  Education in Arts and Media at the University of Westminster. The documentary challenges former Indonesian death squad leaders to re-enact their real-life mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers. The film has received widespread critical acclaim most recently at the Toronto and the Berlin Film Festivals.

Maki Kimura, University College London
‘Narrative as a Site of Subject Construction: The “Comfort Women” Debate’

The ordeal of `Comfort Women’ who were sexually enslaved by the Japanese Imperial Military during the Second World War became widely known in the 1990s through these women’s accounts of their experience. Instead of considering their narratives as historical data which reflect the `true’ historical past, the talk locates them within a broader framework of thinking of narratives. Drawing on the understanding of narrative as a key to the self and the subject which has been developed in narrative research, as well as Judith Butler on interpellation and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak on subaltern agency, the talk argues that the `Comfort Women’s’ testimonies should not be read one-dimensionally in the light of `truth’ and `falsity’, but should rather be considered as the site of their subject-formation. Their narratives are where agency concurrently emerges, and `Comfort Women’ are thus not powerless victims but are active participants in their creation of their own narratives and their own selves.

Entrance free. To reserve a place, please R.S.V.P. Dr Caroline Perret at:

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