Terrors of Injustice: Gender Violence and Ethics of Shame
Abstr. due: 20.05.2018
Dates: 04.10.18 — 05.10.18
Organizing comittee e-mail: [email protected]
Organizers: Utrecht University
In the last few decades, our world has experienced numerous events, marked by extreme violence. The horrific scenes of sexual violence, rape and abuse across all regions of the world − from the genocides and war-rape in Ruanda and former Yugoslavia, to the more recent uses of sexual violence, slavery and torture against women in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, as well as the sexual abuse exposed by the #MeToo campaign − raise questions about the ethics of life, death and (in)justice under masculinized power of diverse religious and political ideologies. Whilst differently positioned, we are all implicated in these atrocious acts. In an imperfect world where we cannot escape the most painful truth of immense suffering of numerous persons, these remarks seem to be justified. As ethically implicated subjects, it is necessary that we recognise our responsibility in these events. In this view, the ideologically underpinned gender violence is a symptom of the nihilism of our common 'civilization of the humanity'. It also is a sign of a long historical process of supressed orders of femininity (orders of generation, life, and growth) that one can trace back to differnt civilisations, religious beliefs and geo-political specificities.
The immorality and injustice of violence also produce shameful affects amongst the subjects that experience this violence; an affect that is culturally, ethically, and morally suppressed. Shame burdens the victims instead of being a possible vehicle for the (re)constitution of ethical relations and/or moral order. With this conference, we want to reconceptualize shame beyond its relation to subordination, humiliation, and disgrace. In this way, one can rethink the role of moral shame and reconceptualize it as ethically transformative.
This conference thus wishes to address some urgent questions pertaining to the intersection of cosmic and political justice (unwritten laws vs. political laws), the rehabilitation of an ethics of shame, and orders of femininity that are forgotten or suppressed by patriarchal and religious orders. The aim of this conference is to propose a new ethics of compassion and peace, based on the rehabilitation of cosmic justice, of related theological ethics, and, finally, of philosophical ethics, dealing with shame and femininity. The conference will host women from Yazidi community and representatives of movements for women's rights from Iraq, who will share their experiences and responses to the humanitarian and ethical tragedy they have undergone and observed in the last years.
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