Slippery Sufferings: An international conference

Slippery Sufferings: An international conference

Last week GRS’ Associate Professor Anja Kublitz co-organised the international conference “Slippery Suffering – A comparative ethnography of the encounter between survivors of violence from the Arab world and representatives of the Welfare state”.

The conference on November 2nd and 3rd held in Copenhagen asked participants to reflect on the ways human beings - in our various relations to the state, in our ordinary language and saturated expressions - come to know those who are spoken about as moving on the margins of society and the state, be they refugees, human beings tormented by mental illness, so-called home-grown terrorists or others who might be seen to pose a threat to how we think about the form of life we inhabit. These categories of people are often mediated by state services and discourses that zoom in on them through languages and interventions aimed at straightening out experiences and imposing on them ideas about what is at stake in their lives, or worse yet, such languages can be utilized to render particular groups of people ’ex-humans’.

The conference attracted researchers from around the world and among others Professor Veena Das from John Hopkins University and Professor Tobias Kelly from Edinburg University attended and spoke.

Questions were asked such as: What kinds of ethics are involved in the circulation of care and knowledge? How do we read the politics of care in the specific ways state actors attend to the suffering of and the potential threat allegedly clinging to their refugee clients? How do we come to think about conscience as an unfathomable basis of political action? And how are so-called blind spots constituted?

Ignorance was interrogated through the cases of, among others, “An abduction in an Indian Slum Area”, Kurdish PKK fighters and “shootings and gangs” in Danish housing projects.

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