Accessibility statement


Director: Zoe Norridge, Department of English and Related Literature


Humanities researchers have long debated strategies for remembering mass suffering, inflicted through human or natural causation. This research strand examines how the languages we use for representing the difficult past move between disciplines and settings.

Our key format for discussing these issues is the interdisciplinary workshop.  We are convening two workshops in the academic year 2011-12.

Autumn Workshop: Between Words and Images

Writing about suffering often stresses the viewing of pain and the way in which we consume images of suffering.  Inspired by the incisive work of critics such as Susan Sontag and Elaine Scarry, literary theorists, historians and philosophers have consistently applied theory associated with the visual depictions of pain more widely.  But how transferable are theoretical and practical insights from the visual to the verbal?  What do we need to take into consideration, what is gained and lost?

This workshop took place on 16 November 2011.  Speakers included Griselda Pollock (Leeds), Amy Barry (Oxfam/Global Witness), Jean-Paul Martinon (Goldsmiths) and colleagues from York.  For more about the individual papers please see the event page.

Spring Workshop: Drawing on the Holocaust

Even in the twenty-first century, the overriding focus of researchers working with representations of suffering arguably remains the Holocaust. However, many of the academics and practitioners who built their names in this field are now applying their knowledge to new memorial and conflict settings.  What challenges are involved in such gestures?

This workshop took place on 23 January 2012 and the keynote speaker was Professor Robert Eaglestone. The event was followed by a public debate on the topic of The Public Secret and the opening of the Portraits for Posterity exhibition.

Future Workshop: Languages of Disaster

2011 was a year of tragic natural disasters, from the flooding in Australia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and South Africa to the earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand and Burma.   How are journalists, artists and academics engaging with these events?  Are languages used to describe the aftermath of conflict applicable to these settings?  And can they be used transculturally?

This event will take place in the academic year 2012-13.

Other events

The Aftermaths research strand also supports other events that are related to our key themes.  Events this year included:

Black History Month 2011

Thank you to everyone who participated in our three Black History Month events this October.  They included: