Rebecca Jagoe & Sharon Kivland (eds)


Violence is in language and violence is language. The violence of language stratifies voices into those that matter and those that do not, using ideas of appropriate form and structure as its weaponry. It claims propriety and politeness are the correct mode of address, when urgency and anger are what is needed. Where languages intersect, hierarchies of language become means for domination and colonisation, for othering, suppression, negation, and obliteration.  The demand for acorrectness of grammar, the refusal to see what is seen as incorrect, the dismissal of vernacular in favour of the homogenised tongue: all are violent. The narrative of history is a narrative of violence. The contributions herein refuse this narrative. They explore how violence permeates and performs in language, how language may be seized, taken back to be used against the overwhelming force of structural and institutional violence that passes as acceptable or normal. Violence may be a force for rupture, for refusal, for dissent, for the herstories that refuse to cohere into a dominant narrative.

Contributors: Travis Alabanza, Katherine Angel, Skye Arundhati-Thomas, Mieke Bal, Janani Balasubramanian, Elena Bajo, Jordan Baseman, Emma Bolland, Pavel Büchler, Paul Buck,Kirsten Cooke, Jih-Fei Cheng, John Cunningham, Andy Fisher, Caspar Heinemann, Jakob Kolding,Candice Lin, Rudy Loewe, Nick Mwaluko, Vanessa Place, Katharina Poos, Tai Shani, Linda Stupart, Benjamin Swaim, Jonathan Trayner, Jala Wahid, Isobel Wohl, Sarah Wood
‘This powerful collection forces us to look beyond definitions of violence as either intentional harm or impersonal force, and our belief that systemic cruelty is the exception rather than the norm. These authors discriminate in the best sense, offering rare insights and perverse pleasures, while showing that violence is not only a matter of categorising and eliminating others, but also is tied up with how we distinguish and articulate ourselves.’
-> Paul Clinton

‘This brilliant and well-timed anthology explores not just the horrors, but the pleasures of violence: violence as a means of reaction, regeneration, and self-affirmation. The writers do not fetishise violence, but they approach it on its own terms.  Stripping off layers of received rhetoric, On Violence is an extremely clear-eyed depiction of the universal American psychic climate.’
-> Chris Kraus

‘The last century was dubbed the century of wars and revolutions, and still it bleeds on. But what On Violence reminds us is that all scales of cruelty, carelessness, and abuses of power differentials suffuse all dimensions of life. The organs and apparatuses of violence evidenced in this volume are broad in scope and application; their traumatic or galvanising effects are exposed, decried, theorised, or absorbed into fantasies that reveal them in all their absurdity. This is an exuberant book of bodies and grit heaped up in convolutions of tenderness, outrage, and sly joy.’
-> Sally O’Reilly

248 pages
205 mm x 140 mm
ISBN 978-1-910055-43-4

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