Conference Details

International Interdisciplinary Conference. 12 - 13th June 2014. London, UK.

War is a crucible of sensory experience and its lived affects radically transform ways of being in the world.  It is prosecuted, lived and reproduced through a panoply of sensory apprehensions, practices and ‘sensate regimes of war’ (Butler 2012) – from the tightly choreographed rhythms of patrol to the hallucinatory suspicions of night vision; from the ominous mosquito buzz of drones to the invasive scrape of force-feeding tubes; from the remediation of visceral helmetcam footage to the anxious tremors of the IED detector; from the desperate urgencies of triage to the precarious intimacies of care; from the playful grasp of children’s war-toys to the feel of cold sweat on a veteran’s skin.

Recognising the recent growth of ground-breaking work on the senses across the humanities and social sciences, Sensing War aims to bring together researchers from a wide variety of disciplines to foster creative dialogue and critical exploration of the multiple and shifting relationships between war and sensation.  What concepts, resources and methods does the sensuous turn in scholarship offer to further our understandings of the myriad experiences of war and militarism?  How is war sensed by and for the drone operator, the occupied population, the female engagement team, the insurgent, the medic, the refugee, the veteran, the military family, the arms fair delegate, the war tourist, the video-gamer, the artist?  As war continuously shape-shifts, bleeding across the global flows of late modernity, how might attentiveness to sensory experience help us to rethink its genealogy and ontology?  How might we enable innovative and critical sensory engagements with war that allow us to see, hear, sense and understand it anew?

Panels:

  • Soldiering and Sensory Practice
  • Affective Spaces of War
  • Violence, Aesthetics and Late Modern Wars
  • Witnessing and War Work
  • Sensory Distinctions and Deceptions
  • Veterans, Intimacies & Sensory Aftermaths
  • Military Life and Militarism
  • Objects and Sensory Engagements
  • Technologies of Sensing War
  • War and the Body
  • Sensory Immersion and Targeting

Keynote: Ryan Bishop (Univ of Southampton) and John Phillips (National Univ of Singapore)

Please address any queries to Kevin McSorley:  kevin.mcsorley@port.ac.uk

Academic Committee

Kevin McSorley, Sociology, University of Portsmouth
Debbie Lisle, International Relations, Queens University Belfast
Tara Woodyer, Geography, University of Portsmouth
Holger Pötzsch, Media & Culture, University of Tromsø
Joseph Burridge, Sociology, University of Portsmouth

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