Beyond Witnessing: Imagining Cultural Interventions in the Age of "Security"

Proposed Event Series 2008-09
Brandeis University


Conveners: Mark Auslander and Fernando Rosenberg (and others?)

What are the limitations and complicities inherent in the genre of "witnessing"-- in literature, ethnography, art and performance-- in the contemporary moment? Under increasingly global discourses and structures of "global security," associated with the so-called "War against Terror" and other post Cold War regimes of surveillance and control, is witnessing atrocity and oppression in itself a sufficient response? What are the rhetorical operations accompanying the discourse of security and how it might be dismantled and intervened through cultural, aesthetic interventions? In what manner may forms of witnessing productively be integrated into social movements and partnerships committed to progressive social transformation?

We propose extended conversation on these question . Our scope will be global, although we may give particular initial emphasis to the dynamics of security and critical cultural intervention in the Americas, with special attention to the cases of Peru and Columbia. We anticipate a series of film screenings, lectures and faculty-student discussions, as well as collaborative theater workshops with new immigrant communities in the Greater Boston area.