About this Event
In 2023, we are surrounded by conflicts. Some of the recent conflicts that have entered mainstream news sources in Ireland have been the housing and cost of living crisis, the protests in Iran and France, the war in Ukraine, and the centenary of the Irish Civil War, while online one cannot avoid the so-called culture wars and the struggle for and reaction to social progress. Critics have pointed out that the Western canon begins with a conflict, with the belligerent rage of a Greek demigod in Homer’s Iliad: mēnin aeide thea, ‘the wrath, sing Goddess, of Achilles son of Peleus’. As an epic about war and conflict, the word wrath has captured critics’ attention, but the implications of that second word, sing, the performative call to the Muse for representation and recollection, must also be considered. In literary and other representations (and perpetuations) of conflict, form and content are inter-related, and our conference aims to examine this relationship more closely.
Representation is not the only way language comes to be implicated in conflict. Recent issues in the media have seen language at the centre of social conflicts, right down to the pronouns we use to identify ourselves. Conflicts arising from language use are often framed on the one side as the exercise of a fundamental freedom of speech, and on the other as hate speech, drawing attention to language’s ability to do harm.
Conflict can be understood etymologically as a forceful “clashing together” of opposed agents, ideals, identities, and goals, among other things. Our conference looks to examine the centrality of language to the different aspects of different kinds of conflict, ranging from its merely representative role to its performative role as an agent of conflict. At what points of a conflict does language enter into the equation? How can language start a conflict, and how can it end one? How do language and violence coincide, and language and power? What determines a conflict, and what does labelling particular social relations as a ‘conflict’ imply? Where do language and ideology intertwine, and can they ever be separate?
Event Venue & Nearby Stays
Trinity Long Room Hub, College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland