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Rape Culture, Rape and Culture: Literary Perspectives

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Organizer: Orian Zakai

Co-Organizer: Maayan Eitan

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With the #metoo movement, sexual violence has recently received unprecedented public attention, as internationally circulated testimonies paint a global phenomenon that, in many ways, (re)defines gender-relations across cultures and societies (albeit the movement had a clear American/Western dominance). One may discern in popular discourse on sexual violence a tension between what seems to be a universal prevalence of sexual trauma and the highly contextualized personal story, which is often embedded in a complex local history and culture. Literature has the potential of treading the murky lines between the particular and the universal, the personal and political, the private and the public, lines that are often trespassed or are revealed to be irrevocably porous through sexual violence. With this in mind, we seek to bring together scholars of world literatures to engage with stories of sexual violence across literatures, languages and genres, in the hopes of adding further nuance to the scholarly and public conversations.   


We would like to think of sexual violence as a literary theme and as a challenge for literary theory, in unsettling normative modes of representation. We are also interested in the master-narratives that sustain rape culture, from ancient myths to contemporary media. Questions of trauma, memory and testimony and the confessional mode are also central to our discussions, and so are the intersections of sexual violence with race, class and ethnic relations, and its presence in events of war, occupation, and genocide.  

 

 

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