Violence in Plain Sight (Public Event)

Stumps on the valley caused by deforestation. Image via Shutterstock, image ID- 367199342
Wednesday 27 November 2019
5.30 - 7.30 pm

This event has passed


Law School Foyer, New Law School, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney


An interdisciplinary panel of scholars consider the reality of violence in their own research, the mechanisms of denial and invisibility, and the institutional realities that ensure the persistence of concealment.

Humans seem to agree on few ethical principles, but one that seems to be near universal is that unless it serves the ultimate purpose of peace, violence ought to be condemned. And yet, we move unperturbed within a world where violence is ubiquitous: unrelenting environmental destruction; the mass killing of, and persistent brutality towards non-human animals; routinised violence against women and children; the persistent violence of settler colonialism, the violent imprisonment of, or cruel refusal to provide safety to asylum seekers, the perennial wars in which apparently peaceful nations are implicated.  How is it that these violent realities remain ‘invisible’ to so many of us, even as they are, in some way, embedded in all of our words and touch all of our lives? What are the effects of this persistent invisibility on both those who are the direct victims of violence and those who live as if it is not happening? During this event, we will reflect on how and why certain types of violence remain hidden in plain sight, imperceptible, invisible, and ignored.

This event is part of the Sydney Environment Institute’s Sites of Violence research project.


Kari Marie Norgaard is Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at University of Oregon. Her current work focuses on the social organisation of denial (especially regarding climate change), and environmental justice and climate work with the Karuk Tribe on the Klamath River.

Megan Mackenzie is Professor of Gender and War in the Department of Government and International Relations. Her research bridges feminist international relations, critical security studies and development studies. Her book, Female Soldiers in Sierra Leone: Sex, Security, and Post-Conflict Development examines women’s participation in the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone and the challenges and insecurities they faced during the post-conflict reintegration process.

Dinesh Wadiwel is a Senior Lecturer in human rights and socio-legal studies at the University of Sydney, with a background in social and political theory. He has had over 15 years experience working within civil society organisations, including in anti-poverty and disability rights roles.

Danielle Celermajer is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy. She has conducted research on entrenched and persistent forms of social, cultural and political violence against humans and other than human animals. She is currently the lead of the Multispecies Justice Collective.

David Schlosberg is Professor of Environmental Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations, Payne-Scott Professor, and Director of the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney. He has nearly three decades of experience in environmental justice, which is often understood as the experience of slow, ongoing, relentless damage to everyday lives and communities.

Brian Joyce (Chair) is a Lecturer/Tutor at the University of Newcastle, in Creative and Performing Arts, specializing in contemporary performance, site specific performance, and acting. He is an award-winning Artistic Director, writer, actor, and community cultural development worker with particular interests in Applied Theatre, Site and Indigenous performance. He is currently Writer/Co-Producer for Ngarrama Productions, an Aboriginal performance group based in Newcastle.