Call for Papers: Affective States of International Criminal Justice

by Kevin Jon Heller

On behalf of the organizers and the APCML, of which I am a part, I want to call readers’ attention to the following conference:

20 ‐ 22 July 2011

Melbourne Law School
Presented by Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law (APCML)
Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH)
Supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant

Convenors: Peter Rush (IILAH) and Gerry Simpson (APCML)


International criminal justice is repeatedly called upon to respond to events which overwhelm our common sense or explode the limits of the law, unsettling the settled frameworks through which law comes to know and act upon the world. In the midst of war crimes and atrocities, trials and tribunals, treaties and resolutions, analysis and advocacy, what binds international criminal justice as a community or field? And, how are we to understand our relations with the forms of knowledge and institutional practices of International criminal justice?

In this symposium, we want to bring together people interested in reflecting on, talking about and engaging with the emotional life that organises or informs or disrupts the distinctive but plural communities of international criminal justice. Many possibilities present themselves. Under the rubric of affective states, we might think of the communities of victims and of survivors (such as the Mothers of Srebrenica), those of the international legal profession (e.g. the office of the prosecutor, or the conscience of the judge, or the practice of the teacher), and those of the witnesses (eg their memorywork and advocacy). We might also think of the institutional forms and technologies through which emotions are harnessed and expressed or tamed and repressed; for e.g. criminal trials, truth commissions, Argentinian truth trials, apologies, amnesties and pardons, as well as executions and testimonial procedures. We might also consider the affective states which are prevalent in and give shape to international criminal justice: horror and revenge, pity and consolation, anger and aggression, sadness and outrage, joy and hate amongst others. Moreover, what are the intellectual and scholarly resources capable of addressing these emotions, passions and feelings of injustice: jurisprudence, doctrine, policy, literary trope (e.g. tragedy), psychology and psychoanalysis (for example, the idioms of trauma and memory), the language of the virtues (and vices), and the discourse of conscience (eg the UN, as well as advocacy groups, often present themselves as institutions of conscience).

Keynote speakers include Professor Jill Stauffer (Haverford College, USA) who will speak on resentment and reconciliation, and Professor Rob Cryer (University of Birmingham, UK) who will speak on monsters. The Centre for Contemporary Photography will present an exhibition in association with this event.

Expressions of interest in the form of a 300‐500 word abstract are to be received no later than 2 May 2011 by Vesna Stefanovski at IILAH vesnas [at] unimelb [dot] edu [dot] au.

It should be a great conference.  I hope some of our readers will submit abstracts!

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