First 17 Group Talk for 2013 – Wed 6th of Feb.

The first 17 Group meeting of 2013 will take place on Wednesday the 6th of February at 7 pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St West End.

The speaker, Dr Richard Hil, will deal with the de-legitimation of “the enemy” in the 2003 Iraq war.

The topic, as outlined hereunder, is “Narratives of de-humanisation and the assertion of imperial power – the enduring tragedy of Fallujah”. You may remember his former talk to the 17 Group on the parlous state of our universities or have read his book on the subject, Whackademia.

Richard has supplied the following useful summary of his remarks, and a few short biographical notes on himself : Narratives of de-humanisation and the assertion of imperial power – the enduring tragedy of Fallujah This presentation focuses the ways in which various accounts of the 2003 Iraq war – especially those written by some veterans, embedded journalists and ‘historians’ – have, in effect, served to essentialise and de-legitimate “insurgents”, “terrorists”, “the muj” or more generally, “the enemy” and therefore to abstract them from any meaningful historical context or sense of agency. Drawing on the works of Edward Said, Emmanuel Levinas, Antonio Gramsci, Michael Foucault and Chris Hedges I argue that such accounts mask political motives and enforce triumphalist narratives which serve the interests of certain imperial powers. In drawing on the case of the “battle” of Fallujah in November 2004 I seek to highlight discursive practices that render the “enemy” as the other thereby obscuring them from both motive and context – practices familiar to the assertion of imperial power.

I also illustrate the enduring tragedy experienced by the people of Fallujah and, in particular, how the use of certain forms of weaponry has led to catastrophic health consequences. I begin and conclude my presentation by addressing the implications of the above for peace advocates and anti-war activists.

Dr Richard Hil is Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Human Services, Griffith University. Richard has taught at the University of York in the UK, and in Australia at James Cook University, University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland University of Technology and Southern Cross University.
His research and teaching interests are in the areas of social and community development, criminology, youth studies, and peace and conflict studies. Richard is author of several books including recent publications Erasing Iraq, Surviving Care, and Whackademia: An insider’s account of the troubled university. He has also been a regular columnist for The Australian, Campus Review and Australian Universities Review.
Leon, consulted by our reps as to his likely or unlikely presence at our humble gathering, was sphinx-like in the way we now abominate, and reminded us that he knew a lot about war, both as combatant and commander, providing the following url and little else by way of answer:
Try , in your own modest way, to be more communicative. Do turn up.

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