REPRESENTATIONS OF VIOLENCE IN LITERATURE, CULTURE AND ARTS, Osmaniye, Turkey, 20 - 22 October 2021, pp.145
The proposed paper seeks to explore when and how representation becomes
itself a form of violence. Through the analytical concept of “epistemic violence” which is defined by Enrique Galvan-Alvarez as the “violence exerted against or through knowledge,” I propose to look at the interrelated processes in which knowledge, once shaped by hegemonic, power-related discourses and diverse societal conditions, enforces certain frames and constants and thereby limiting other, alternative ways of thinking about a given social phenomenon. With Western debates on violence, including Galtung and Bordieu’s accounts, and the premises of decolonial studies in mind, I will refer to the potential functions or outcomes of even what we deem as academic, scholarly knowledge in promoting certain narratives or modes of thinking/knowing while delegitimizing others. In such discourses when knowledge or representation becomes violence, what Walter Mignolo formulates as epistemic de-linking or disengaging from the obligation to see/interpret the world from certain postulations becomes crucial. The works of scholars such as Frantz Fanon and Anibal Quijano, for instance, have been read and interpreted in terms of breaking free from the epistemic violence, and this will be addressed briefly in the proposed paper. More important however, I will refer to the power of art, literature in particular, in disrupting hegemonic narratives and representations and thereby inviting readers to what is known to be a form of “border-thinking” in bell hook’s words. Finally, writers such Toni Morrison and Mohsin Khamid will be referred as the examples of such a critical stance.