Friday, 2 May 2014

Grad Prog talk 7 May: Martin Hall on the Violence of Things and Hannah Arendt

MediaCityUK (Salford Campus): Room 2.07. 3pm-4pm. All welcome

The Violence of Things            

Things and their images can carry complex, pre-verbal meanings that derive their valency from not being spoken. For example, the rich public archive of Buddhist iconography in Sri Lanka may, simultaneously, convey the principles of non-violence and also the trauma of recent extrajudicial killing. Similarly, the extreme violence of crucifixion is celebrated as religious art or a mark of forgiveness, but may also evoke memories of conquest and genocide. In her On Violence, published in 1969, Hannah Arendt insisted that, rather than being an extreme manifestation of power, violence has an independent instrumentality. This insight, that has remained undeveloped in subsequent work on materiality, has provocative implications for the material world of things. Understanding the ways in which the material archive is central to the instrumentality of violence leads, in turn, to appreciating the ways in which the archive interacts with the performance of public life. 

Professor Martin Hall is a historical archaeologist and strategic leader. He joined the University of Salford in April 2009 as VC Designate, before taking up his role as VC on 1 August, 2009.

Born in Guildford, Professor Hall holds dual British and South African citizenship. After undertaking undergraduate and post-graduate studies in archaeology at the University of Cambridge he moved to South Africa in 1974. He was for a time President of the World Archaeological Congress and General Secretary of the South African Archaeological Society. After working at two major museums in the 1980s, he moved to UCT in 1983, where he led the Centre for African Studies and later became the Head of the Department of Archaeology. He was the inaugural Dean of Higher Education Development between 1999 and 2002 when he was able to exercise another of his interests, academic technology for innovative teaching and learning – particularly the use of digital and new media.

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