Literary Journalism and War

OCLW is acting as project partner to a bid for a research project in development by John S. Bak at the Université de Lorraine. For more information, please see the project webpage

Description: Few would dispute that the violence of war is one of the most horrific experiences to which the human community is exposed. Yet, in modern journalism discourse, we have tended to objectify war to a safe, sublimated distance. In effect, we have made of war a euphemism, which, as the poet Joseph Brodsky observed, “is, generally, the inertia of terror” we do not wish to acknowledge. This is why some journalists turn to literary journalism to account for war, and why the genre is so necessary, even critical, because it helps us to perceive better through the aesthetics of experience the monster of war we have created.

This project proposes first to establish the parameters of the term literary journalism (creative nonfiction, realistic novel, memoir, reportage, journalisme d’immersion, etc.) and the notions of war (not only ‘hot’ wars or ‘cold’ wars but also other conflicts, such as cyber wars). Second, it will examine how those wars have been covered differently by literary journalism than by the traditional press. Third, it will analyze various examples of literary journalism from countries around the world to see if literary journalism unifies the humanities in how it covers war, all the while the war that is being covered divides us further from each other. Topics included will be case studies of wars from colonialist Africa to World War I and from Russia’s involvment in Chechnia to America’s military engagements during the Arab Spring. Research in the form of conference presentations, seminars and book and journal publications (a special issue of Literary Journalism Studies will be edited) will examine how literary journalism tries to balance the bloody with the banal in war reporting.

The long-term project will be to disseminate the project’s research findings to various communities. An online, interactive website will provide a database of literary war journalism written throughout the world. Internauts will be able to click on a country in Europe or Africa, select a site where a war was centralized, and access the various literary journalistic pieces written about that particular site by literary journalists of multiple nations. Additional media will be made available as well, including manuscripts, notebooks, letters, photos, and videos linked to the war and the journalistic piece.

News
Events

The latest from Wolfson College

19 November 2018
Romulus Launching Party

This Friday, Wolfson's literary magazine Romulus will launch their new call for writers.

19 November 2018
Academics at Risk Giving Day

We are delighted to announce that we have raised over half of our target for our Cara Campaign.

Wolfson College Trees
16 November 2018
Walter Sawyer admitted to the honorary degree of Master of Arts

Supernumerary Fellow, Walter Sawyer receives honorary Master of Arts from the University. 

Our upcoming events

General Meetings
21 - 21
Nov Nov
General Meeting
Wednesday 21 November - 5:30pm to 6:30pm

General Meeting occurs at least twice in each term and is an opportunity for all College and Common Room members to discuss any College business.

Parties and Dinners
21 - 21
Nov Nov
Academics at Risk Giving Day
Wednesday 21 November - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

We hope you can join us for an informal evening of drinks, canapés and speeches from Tim Hitchens, Stephen Wordsworth from CARA and some special guests. The event will take place at 19.00 in the Wolfson Café.

Art exhibition
22 - 22
Nov Nov
Snow Land Art Exhibition
Thursday 22 November - 11:30am to 6:30pm

The exhibition will display incredible artistic works of young Tibetan artists from Snow Land Art School in Tibet. The event will be started with a brief introduction by Ngawa Choepjor, who is the co-founder of Snow Land Art School in Tibet.