Conference: Visualising War

The Power of Emotions in Politics

visualising war

 

20th and 21st of november, Southern University of Denmark, Odense

Images of war are omnipresent in our daily lives. Online newspapers, internet TV, and round o’clock news channels provide us with pictures of war victims, military interventions, and battle fields. Even though the sheer quantity of these images threatens to make us numb and oblivious, there are still some pictures that seem to stick with us. Think about the images of the dead children allegedly poisoned gassed by Syria’s regime, the image of the burnt girl during the Vietnam War, or the atomic mushroom cloud of the Hiroshima bombing. These images evoke strong emotions in the viewer, and they seem to be inerasable from our collective consciousness.

At the conference “Visualizing War: The Power of Emotions in Politics” we would like to investigate the following questions: How do images of war engender emotions, and how do these emotions impact the practices of government and policy making? Why do some images of war speak to us whereas others are quickly forgotten? How do images represent war in comparison to narrative and verbal media? In order to find answers to these questions, the participants of the conference will analyze images of war from Antiquity to today. Not only the digital media, but also already medieval historical tapestry, historical atlases, photography of the nineteenth- and twentieth century, as well as film and literature prove that images have played a crucial role in representing war throughout history. In order to assess the emotional impact of images, the conference will enable a meeting point between the humanities and the social sciences. This encounter should contribute to a closer understanding of war images as well as shed light on the psychological dimension of governmental decisions and opinion formation. Given the omnipresence of visual representations of war in our global age, the investigation of the “emotional” power of these images in national and global politics is of great urgency.

The Aim of the Conference

The conference would provide an international forum, where scholars from the global academic community are able to exchange current research trends on the representation of war. The aim is to develop innovative scholarly approaches and knowledge about the relationship between images of war and government. In order to investigate how images of war work, how they impact the viewer, and how the visual eventually is translated into verbal expressions in terms of policy deliberations, a vital dialogue between the social sciences (political theory, international politics, psychology) and the field of the humanities (visual studies, literature, media studies) is imperative.

Practical information

Contact   Kathrin Maurer: kamau@sdu.dk, Anders Engberg-Pedersen: engberg@sdu.dk
Address   University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense
Conference Program   http://www.sdu.dk/VisualizingWar

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