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Figuring War

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Humanitas Visiting Professor in War Studies 2012: Jay Winter

Professor Jay Winter (Charles J Stille Professor of History, Yale University) will give a series of three public lectures and a concluding symposium on Imagining War in the 20th Century and After.

Abstract

The lectures explore mediating languages and symbolic forms which writers, artists, and filmmakers have used to represent war since 1900. This attention to language in cultural history is at the core of this interpretation. What we know of war is always mediated knowledge and feeling. The event itself, what Walt Whitman called the red thing, the actual killing, is beyond us. We need lenses to filter out some of its blinding, terrifying light in order to see it at all. The lectures want to draw attention to these lenses as the elements which make understanding war possible at the same time as they limit what we see.

The second lecture addresses painting and sculpture in an effort to show that figuring war has the capacity to reduce and at times to leap over some of these language barriers. Putting a face on war has a history, and it has been one primarily of progressive effacement since 1900.

For more information on this series, please see the following link: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/1717/.

This talk is part of the Humanitas series.

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