Unheard of things: The image and the vocabularies of violence

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Maaza Mengiste

Maaza Mengiste is a novelist and essayist. Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was selected by the Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe and other publications. Maaza‘s fiction and nonfiction examines the individual lives at stake during migration, war, and exile, and considers the intersections of photography and violence. Her work can be found in The New Yorker, Granta, the Guardian, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, BBC Radio, World Literature Today, Words Without Borders, Lo straniero, and Lettre International, among other places. Her new novel, set during Fascist Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia, is forthcoming.

Lecture Reading List

Simone Weil, “The Iliad, or the Poem of Force.” Chicago Review, 18:2 (1965) p.5

Maaza Mengiste, “Unheard-of Things.” The Massachusetts Review, vol. 57 no. 1, 2016, pp. 88-90. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/mar.2016.0026

Maaza Mengiste, “We must not look away from the crises in Africa”, Guardian

Lumumba, The Death of a Prophet by Raoul Peck

J.M. Bernstein, “Bare Life, Bearing Witness: Auschwitz and the Pornography of Horror”, Parallax, 2004, Taylor & Francis

Roy Brand, Facing the Image: Towards an Ethics of Seeing. Ethics of Media, pages 106-119.