Cpracsis - Center for performance research and cultural studies in South Asia

Fables of Fear:

Body Space

One of the arresting definitions of happiness is the aphoristic statement of Walter Benjamin: "To be happy means to be able to look into oneself without being frightened." In this age of Hyper Capitalism, where fear is all pervasive, this ability is precisely what seems to be missing. We can neither look into our own self or the outside world without being frightened. Every dilation/dialectics of eyes is predisposed toward the melancholic essence of things. Things, in turn, return the gaze as coldly as possible. And, it seems, we are transfixed in the gravitational field of fear for ever.

Our fear of the fear provokes many questions: What is the genesis of fear? Does fear have an ontological dimension? Or is it constituted in and through history and language? Should our neighbor be toxic in his or her most radical dimension? Do we have forms of consciousness that are not afraid of anything? How is fear generated? What are the symbolic forms through which fear is manifested, created, manipulated, controlled, framed, tamed, etc? Is it possible for a technological civilization to construct subjectivity that knows no fear? Or should the human subjectivity be gotten rid off to overcome this uneasy feeling called fear? Did we ever have a pre-history of cheekiness? Or is it just that cheekiness has always run parallel to the melancholic history, unobserved?

CPRACSIS international conference convened at Thrissur, Kerala, India on 12-13 July 2010 raised such questions - the questions not being confined to disciplinary boundaries:

1. Fear and Transcendental Other: God/Religious Experience/Prophetic Vision/Mysticism/Spiritual Inwardness
2. The 'State' of Fear: Nation State/Foreign and Domestic Policy/State of Exception/Surveillance/Marginal and Minority Politics
3. Fear in the Global Space: Trade Relations/Marketing Strategies/Recession/Corporations and Social Auditing/Speculative Capital/Emerging Economies/Global Power Equations/Hyper Capitalism
4. Fears in the New Media: Cyber Space/Virtual Communities/Identity Theft/Virtual Communication/Virtual Sex/Mobile Phone
5. Mediated Fear: Reporting and Manufacturing of Fear
6. Fear and the Visual: Films/Painting/Other Visual Arts
7. Sound and Fear: Musical Styles/Musical Performance/Genres/Traditions
8. Performed Fear: Performing Arts/Performers/Spirit Possession
9. Sexuality and Fear: Gender/Sexual Minorities/Sex Workers/Trans-Gendered Identity
10. Fear and Scientific Imagination: Science Fiction/Scientific Research
11. Religious Fear: Religious Identity/Religious Violence
12. 'Caste'ing Fear: Caste Identity/Caste Violence
13. The Climate of Fear: Global Climate Change
14. Pandemic Fears: Pandemic Diseases
15. Narratives of Fear: Horror Fiction/Horror Cinema/Graphic Novels
16. Anatomy of Fear: Medical Ethics/ Knowledge Concentration/ Public Fear and Medical Research/Genetic Research
17. Fearful Asymmetries of Architecture: Architecture/ Security and Technologies of Construction, etc.
18. Consuming Fear: Consumption/Violence
19. The Cultural History of Fear: Ancient/Classic/Romantic/Industrial/Oriental/Occidental/Modern/Postmodern

Conference coordinators:
Anilkumar P. V. (anil@cpracsis.org)
Gokul T.G. (gokul@cpracsis.org)

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