Symposium Program

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Keynote and Opening Performance
7 - 9 p.m. at The Loft Literary Center
With opening performers Tatiana Ormaza, Tish Jones, Kohl Miner, Tou Saiko Lee, Marisa Carr, and Preeti Kaur

Friday, April 16, 2010

10 a.m. - 12 p.m.  Plenary Session

12:00 - 1:30 p.m.  Lunch break

1:30 - 3:30 p.m.   
Roundtable Session 1: Violence and the State

Recursively moving through the ruins of war and scenes of massacre, torture, rapes, and genocide, the roundtable participants will take up multiple positions to discuss and critique state violence. Our central concerns are the politics of documentation and the imperative of remembering. With rigor, creativity, and political imagination, we will explore innovative methods and strategies for representing, repairing, and archiving the past. Mnemonics is vital to the work of redress for historical injustices, but it demands utmost sensitivity toward the operations of power in knowledge production.

Framing Questions:

1) What is the role of culture in enabling the state and its agents to carry out mass violence and to organize the spaces of violence against women?  How have colonial legacies and militarism played the role in engendering and nurturing such a culture where a certain population becomes categorically disposable?

2) What are some of the ways in which memory, historical documentation, art, and creative expression become raw materials from which an archive (broadly defined) is organized in the service of reparations for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and military violence?

Kamayani Bali Mahabal (human rights activist & lawyer, Mumbai)
        Grace Cho (Assoc. Professor of Sociology & Women's Studies, CUNY-Staten Island)
        Geoffrey Robinson (Professor of History, UCLA)

Organizers:   R. Diyah Lasarati (Assitant Professor, Dance Program, University of Minnesota)
                      Yuichiro Onishi (Assistant Professor, Department of African and African American Studies)

3:30 - 3:45 p.m.    Break

3:45 - 5:45 p.m.   
Roundtable Session 2: Coping with Violence

These presentations bring together experiences of enduring multiple sources of violence in multiple locations.  Together, they outline the possibilities towards understanding the structures of coping.  Extending the idea of coping as a form of resistance to violence, these examples attest to the fact that these strategies are not mere individual reactions, but are imbued with conscious and deliberate intentionality.  Clearly, there is a method, a mode, and purpose to these actions, which can culminate into a powerful collective response to violence.

Framing Questions:

1) What different methods do people use to cope with violence? 

2) How are methods of coping with violence constrained/liberated in particular socio-political contexts? 

3) How do individuals subvert the non-physical violence imposed on them by the state/religious institutions/multinational corporations?

    Shreen Saroor (Activist, Sri Lanka)
    Zainab Hassan (Community Philanthropy Officer, The Minneapolis Foundation)
    Zubin Mohamad (Perfomer/Director, Arts Exchange in Asia, Malaysia)
    Richard M. Lee (Associate Professor, Psychology and Asian American Studies, University of                                 Minnesota)
Organizer: Cawo Abdi (Assistant Professor, Sociology)
                  Lisa Sun-Hee Park (Assoc. Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

10 a.m. - 12 p.m.   Roundtable Session 3: Visual Media and Violence

Framing Questions:

1)  Can works of new media art engage in dialogue with contemporary instances/frames of violence without depicting or leveraging the affect of violence itself in the work?

2)  What potential difficulties does a new media artist face in utilizing violence as an aesthetic instrument?

3)  The past decade's best seller shelves have seen steady representation from a new form of historical novel that has brought personal perspectives of the Middle-East into middle class America.  While books like Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita In Tehran and Azadeh Moaveni's Lipstick Jihad have been wildly popular among while-collar businessmen and Oprah's book club alike, they have met harsh criticism from scholars like Columbia professor Hamid Dabashi, in whose view this new breed of "Native Informers" are a malicious part of the American Empire propaganda machine.  Partly in response to Dabashi's critique, UCLA scholar Ali Behdad points to a concept of Neo-orientalism in which cultural producers of eastern origin--as opposed to the old white academic figure of classical orientalism--are viewed to have authority in their subject of discourse merely through experiential contact.  While Behdad's analysis lowers the authors' charges from Empire's-agent, to entrepreneurial-immigrant, it still leaves little room for authenticity and legitimacy for artists working with certain politically charged subject matters.  How does your practice respond to Dabashi and Behdad's lines of criticism?

    Mariam Ghani (Artist Filmmaker)
    Nell Taylor (Cure Violence, Chicago Underground Library, Chicago)
    Wafaa Bilal (Artist)
Organizer: Ali Momemi (Asst. Professor of Art and Collaborative Arts, University of Minnesota)

12:00 - 1:30 p.m.   Lunch Break

1:30 - 3:30 p.m.     Roundtable Session 4:
The Environment and Violence

This panel will consider the ways in which the environment and violence are linked in the everyday lives of immigrants, refugees, people living under occupation, and indigenous communities. Panelists will discuss the ways in which the intersection of violence and the environment offers a unique lens through which to comprehend and resist other forms of institutional and cultural violence.

Framing Questions:

1) In what ways does violence against people and their environments offer a productive lens through which to comprehend and resist other forms of institutional and cultural violence?

2) In what ways can we conceptually and politically link the struggles of voluntary and involuntary immigrants and refugees to the struggles of indigenous peoples for sovereignty, self-determination, autonomy, and environmental justice?

3) How does the discourse of environmental racism both liberate and limit our framing of violence and the environment and the politics of resistance against those social forces?

Rose Brewer (Professor of African American & African Studies, University of Minnesota)
        Omar Tesdell (Ph.D. Candidate, Geography, University of Minnesota)
        Waziyatawin (Assoc. Professor of Indigenous Governance, University of Victoria)
Organizer:   David Pellow (Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota)

3:30 - 4:00 p.m.      Break

4:00 - 6:30 p.m.     
Roundtable Session 5: Art & Violence

In this roundtable, we generate conversations and interactions that demonstrate an open, creative, and expansive exchange of sharing, resisting, and coping which we hope can lead to solidarity and transformation. The broader themes that we will explore in this roundtable include:

1) What possibilities and problematics arise through alternative representations of violence in embodied performance, musical composition, storytelling, and in political organizing?

 2) What strategies of understanding, resisting and coping can we generate to interrupt typical conversations about violence that are overdetermined through, for instance, racialized, gendered or sexualized codes--including logically structured speech and empiricized accounts of material life?

        Awam Amkpa (Professor of Drama,  New York University, Tisch School of the Arts)
        Anida Yoeu Ali (Artist & Activist, Chicago)
        Community Commentator: Beverly Cottman (MN Local Storyteller and Community Activist)   
        Dance Performance: Peggy Choy (Asst. Professor, Dance and Asian American Studies,                                     University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ananya Dance Theater (Minneapolis)
        Musical Intervention:  Andre Myers (Assistant Professor of Music, Occidental College)
        Visual Presentation: Ayanah Moor (Associate Professor of Art, Carnegie Mellon, Carnegie Mellon             University)
Organizer:   Zenzele Isoke (Assistant Professor of Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies, University of                        Minnesota)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

10 a.m. - 12 p.m.    Closing remarks, Remaining questions