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The Freak and its Discontents: A Conference in Interdisciplinary Studies

Tuesday, 29 October – Wednesday, 30 October 2019

The Freak and its Discontents: A Conference in Interdisciplinary Studies

"There’s a quality of legend about freaks. Like a person in a fairy tale who stops you and demands that you answer a riddle. Most people go through life dreading they’ll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma." 
                — Diane Arbus

This two-day interdisciplinary conference organised by the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies asks what elements of cultural consciousness function to define the other as ‘freakish?’ To what extent is ‘the freak’ both exiled from society and an extension of society itself? Which elements of ‘the freak’ are defined by society, and which are self-imposed? Is ‘the freak’ simply a caricatured exaggeration of ‘the other,’ or is it something separate?

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The symbol of ‘the freak’ is a transcultural allegory that exists across boundaries of nation and discipline. Often perceived as a bad omen, it serves to inform both the pejorative representation of the other and our understanding of the mainstream society which deems the ‘freak’ as Other. A cross-disciplinary study of what society finds shocking illuminates the cultural norms that the hegemony considers its constituent pieces. A curiosity or willingness to study the heteroglossia outside of this constituency offers a unique opportunity to exposeelements of such hegemonic structures that might otherwise be taken for granted and raise a critical awareness of the processes that define ‘normalcy’ and freakishness.

This event is funded by the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, The Society for French Studies, The School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies and the French Department at Trinity College Dublin, this graduate conference will explore the concept of the freak in relation to Literature, Cultural Studies, Film, Philosophy, Literary Theory, History, Anthropology, History of Art, Drama, Theology, and Folklore.

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Accessibility: Yes
Room: Neill Lecture Theatre
Research Theme: Digital Humanities, Making Ireland, Manuscript, Book and Print Culture
Event Category: Alumni, Arts and Culture, Conferences, Lectures and Seminars, Workshops and Training
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff
Cost: Free (but registration is essential)
Contact Name: Dr Clodagh Brook

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