‘Silence’ is trending. Ever more people embrace silence as a way of escaping the pressures of daily life. Yet silence itself is not new; it has a long and sometimes painful history. This book tries to capture the many faces of silence as a historical phenomenon. Dealing with topics such as art, trauma, migration, politics and education it addresses the history, cultural diversity and cultural force of silence.
Pieter Verstraete is a lecturer in Historical Pedagogy in the department of Education, Culture and Society of the University of Louvain. He has authored many books, including In the Shadow of Disability and Verminkte stilte. He was awarded with the Disability History Association Outstanding Book Award for his book The Imperfect Historian.
Josephine Hoegaerts is a postdoctoral researcher in the research group ‘Modernity and Society 1750-2000’ at the University of Louvain and the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Her research focuses on the social history of the human voice in Western-Europe.
HUSHED (HI)STORIES OF POWER AND RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF MODERNITY.
LEUVEN, 7 NOVEMBER 2014 9-16h
Abstract deadline: 1 July 2014
Key-note address: MARIE BUSCATTO (Univ. Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Can silence articulate gender? It seems so insubstantial and eerie – the mere absence of sound. It is easy to forget that silence can consist of an active practice, which is being carried out consciously by numerous actors in the past as well as the present. Active silence has been enforced (“mulier taceat in ecclesia”), used as a means of protest (Turkey’s ‘standing man’s protests) and has been designated as an attribute of dignity or calm. In all those guises, active silence serves as a way to signal the non-speaker’s relation to power, and to underline the corporeal and performative nature of the distribution of (acoustic) authority: female silence in church signaled respect for religious discipline, the ‘standing man’ shows resilience in the face of violence, and dignified silence is a privilege reserved for adults.
This workshop aims to explore the ambiguous relation between practices of silence and gendered identities. Rather than assuming an association between voice and power, and silence and obedience, it seeks to encourage a nuanced analysis of the different ways in which silence has been mobilized or can be mobilized in shaping gendered bodies and behaviors. In teasing out hushed (hi)stories, participants are invited to focus on the perspective of the active non- speaker.
We welcome papers that address issues including (but not limited to) the following:
Gendered modes of contemplative silence (monastic or otherwise), discourses and practices of silence and gender in religion and devotion
Active silence in contexts of protest, and its gendered meanings and implications
Silence as protection (e.g. rapevictims, practices of ‘passing’)
Silence and compliance (enforced silence, institutional silence)
Representations of gender and silence in literature, art, theatre, (audiovisual) media…
Silence and gender in music
Abstracts and papers can be sent in Dutch, English or French. We require participants to hold their oral presentation in English during the workshop.
Interested participants can send an abstract of max.300 words and a short biographical outline by 1 July to firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Max Planck Research School for Moral Economies of Modern Societies are starting a new PhD program in october 2013. It focuses on identifying which kind of values, emotions and habits inform and inspire the social formations that have emerged since the eighteenth century. The School sets out to investigate how ‘moral economies’ were composed, organized and practiced in the last three centuries.
Masterstudents who are interested can apply until the 5th of december. See for more information the flyer or visit the website.
A new In Focus display at Tate Britain opens this week on the theme of Victorian Sentimentality. Curated by Alison Smith (Tate), Vicky Mills (Birkbeck) and Nicola Bown (Birkbeck) , the display aims to shed new light on this much misunderstood and maligned topic. Victorian art is often criticised for being sentimental, but what does this mean? And is sentimentality always a bad thing?