Promoting and Producing Evil

Second Edition


Editor: Nancy Billias
The essays in this volume provide rich fodder for reflection on topics that are of urgent interest to all thinking people. Each one suggests new ways to contemplate our own role(s) in the production and promotion of evil. The authors encourage the reader to be challenged, outraged, and disturbed by what you read here. The eighth gathering of Global Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness, which took place in Salzburg in March 2007, provided a look at evil past, present, and future, from a broad spectrum of disciplinary perspectives. Papers were presented on the Holocaust, genocide, violence, sadism, pædophilia, physical, verbal, and visual weapons of mass destruction, and on the effects of a variety of media on our apperception of and responses to evil. One of the overarching themes that emerged was the ethical role of the observer or witness to evil, the sense that all of our writings are, in an echo of Thomas Merton’s salient phrase, the conjectures of guilty bystanders. The notion of complicity was examined from a number of angles, and imbued the gathering with a sense of urgency: that our common goal was to engender change by raising awareness of the countless and ubiquitous ways in which evil can be actively or passively carried on and promoted. The papers selected for this volume provide a representative sample of the lively, provocative, and often disturbing discussions that took place over the course of that conference. This volume also contains a few papers from a sister conference, Cultures of Violence, which was held in Oxford in 2004. These papers have been included here because of their striking relevance to the themes that emerged in the Evil conference of 2007.

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Nancy Billias: Preface

Linguistic Frameworks for Evil
Phil Fitzsimmons: Little White Lies: 9/11 and the Recasting of Evil through Metaphor
Dalit Yassour-Borochowitz and Eli Buchbinder: The Phenomenology of Domestic Violence: An Insider’s Look
Encarnación Hidalgo Tenorio: Side Effects of the Linguistic Construction of Others’ Wickedness

Literary Frameworks for Evil
Jeffrey Wallen: Falling Under an Evil Influence
Ilana Shiloh: The Banality of Violence: From Kafka’s The Castle to Auster’s The Music of Chance
Sophie Oliver: Sacred and (Sub)human Pain: Witnessing Bodies in Early Modern Hagiography and Contemporary Spectatorship of Atrocity
Nancy Billias: Overturning Adorno: Poetry as a Rational Response to Evil

Evil in a Cinematic Framework
Pete Remington: Twelve Pages of Madness: Developments in Cinema’s Narration of Insanity
Ann-Marie Cook: Based on the True Story: Cinema’s Mythologised Vision of the Rwandan Genocide
David E. Isaacs: We Have No Trouble Here: Considering Nazi Motifs in The Sound of Music and Cabaret
Margarita Carretero-González: Sympathy for the Devil: The Hero is a Terrorist in V for Vendetta
Paul Davies: Be not overcome by evil but overcome evil with good: The Theology of Evil in Man on Fire
Ewan Kirkland: Remediation, Analogue Corruption, and the Signification of Evil in Digital Games

Evil in Historical/Political Frameworks
Robert W. Butler: Akhenaten, the Damned One: Monotheism as the Root of All Evil
Peter Mario Kreuter: Are Witches Good - and Devils Evil? Some Remarks on the Conception of Evil in the Works of Paracelsus
Frank J. Faulkner: Can I Play with Madness? The Psychopathy of Evil, Leadership, and Political Mis-Management
Joshua Mills-Knutsen: Desire for Destruction: The Rhetoric of Evil and Apocalyptic Violence
Notes on Contributors