The Group Culture, Art and Conflict (CAC) builds on a consistent 10-year research agenda aimed at understanding difference and conflict as basic meaning making strategies. By using a critical-interpretative approach, with a clear historical-contextual intent, as well as empirical methodologies, CAC produces theoretically informed original scholarship that questions the ways in which cultural, literary and media criticism engage with the complexity arising from the awareness of conflictual interaction. CAC fosters a dialogue on the multiple ways in which conflict supports and constrains the production of meaning in modernity, how the representation of conflict across several media works and how it frames scholarship within the humanities. Its research focuses on the role played by the arts (literature, visual arts, film and performance) in the double work of conflict as creation and disruption.
The group will first articulate empirical and practice-based work on the production of artistic work in conflict situations (from the post ‘Cold’ war and Portuguese Colonial War to the Iraq and Syria wars) and a) representational conflicts and the memory of the event; b) ‘artchiving’ conflict and the structure of technological mediation; c) artistic practices and the transition to conviviality. Secondly, the group will also take a meta approach to propose a reflection on the theories and practices that have structured the intellectual discourse of the humanities and how these are impacted by the tensional lines of recent societal development (war and forced migration; new colonialisms; digital exclusion; surveillance and the demise of privacy; conflicting notions of humanity; planetary exhaustion). The ‘Conflicted Humanities’ approach will place the methodological and conceptual framework of humanistic research at the center of a new discourse about the changing place of human culture and the academic humanities in general under the persistent violence of the 21st century.