Naming Violence - Author meets Critics

We invite to an ‘Author meets Critics’ afternoon with Mathias Thaler, Senior Lecturer, Politics, University of Edinburgh and author of Naming Violence: A Critical Theory of Genocide, Torture, and Terrorism (Columbia University Press, 2018).

In Naming Violence, Mathias Thaler articulates a novel perspective on the study of violence that demonstrates why the imagination matters for political theory. His analysis of the politics of naming charts a middle ground between moralism and realism, arguing that political theory ought to question whether our existing vocabulary enables us to properly identify, understand, and respond to violence. He explores how narrative art, thought experiments, and historical events can challenge and enlarge our existing ways of thinking about violence. Through storytelling, hypothetical situations, and genealogies, the imagination can help us see when definitions of violence need to be revisited by shedding new light on prevalent norms and uncovering the contingent history of ostensibly self-evident beliefs. Naming Violence demonstrates the importance of political theory to debates about violence across a number of different disciplines from film studies to history. 

At the seminar, Mathias Thaler will give a brief presentation of his book followed by comments and criticism from Mikkel Thorup, Professor, History of Ideas, Aarhus University and Lars Tønder, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen.