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Violence Visible and Invisible: On Political Violence and Forms of Aesthetic Resistance to its Erasure and Distortion. One day symposium

Friday 24 November 2023
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden

The Leiden Institute for Philosophy, Centre for Continental Philosophy is pleased to present this one-day symposium.

To register, please contact Herman Siemens at hwsiemens@hotmail.com 

All are welcome!

The aim of this symposium is to explore the ways in which political violence is erased or distorted in dominant imaginaries, and forms of aesthetic resistance to such erasures. The guiding hypotheses are: 1) that political violence is a dimension of political reality in both established and transitional democracies; but 2) prevailing liberal democratic imaginaries tend to erase or ‘invisibilise’ significant forms of political violence; and 3) aesthetic interventions and activisms can expose and resist these practices, rendering invisibilised political violence visible. How best to conceptualise forms of political violence that stand under erasure, as a dimension of democratic life? What are the processes and tactics that invisibilise these forms of political violence as political? And what forms of aesthetic mediation offer the most promising challenge to prevailing imaginaries?

These questions will be explored by focusing on three cases political violence: environmental violence; gender-based violence; and the interface between violence and value. The papers under discussion will build on existing philosophical approaches to these invisibilised forms of political violence (agonistic theory, political ecology, decolonial feminism, racial capitalism), allow us to compare and cross-fertilize them, and ask how they can be rendered visible through aesthetic practices.


Howard Caygill, Kingston University, London on environmental violence

Louise du Toit, Stellenbosch University, South Africa on gender-based violence in South Africa

Willem Schinkel, Erasmus University Rotterdam on violence and value in Marx

Herman Siemens, Leiden University, on the political ontology of violence 


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