Institute for the Study of the Americas, London, 23rd-24th November 2010
In the context of novel theories of trauma and loss that have emerged in the field of memory studies, we propose to examine the current debates on memory in relation to traumatic pasts in Latin America. In the light of the aftermath of the military coups in the Southern Cone, as Elizabeth Jelin accounts in Argentina’s case, the testimonies of the direct victims of state terrorism have dominated official discourses of memory, as a result, have excluded a number of wider public voices. This symposium is organised around a critical inquiry directed towards a ‘politics of victimisation’ that has become the official mode of engagement with loss. Under these preoccupations, we propose to re-examine who bears the ‘legitimacy of remembering’ in contemporary Latin American countries. While discussing notions of victimhood, testimony, witnessing, and transmission of trauma, we propose to interrogate how these concepts are challenged by a new wave of researchers. What other voices and interventions are involved in generating new critical enquires and alternative visions of the past?
Participants and presentation topics
We already have in mind a number of scholars and PhD students working on issues of cultural memory in Latin America within British institutions who we are planning to invite to participate in the symposium. We will also issue a call for papers in July 2010 to invite additional academics and students to present their work over the five panels scheduled. The possible panel topics currently in discussion are: the ethics of memory research, exile and migration, family and kinship relations and memory studies, and visual culture and the aesthetics of memory.
In relation to an artistic outreach that the symposium will provide, some of the panels like the one on visual culture will engage with artistic works and interventions dealing with issues of cultural memory in Latin America. More specifically, the symposium will feature the screening of ‘Mi vida despues’ (2009) a brand new theatrical piece directed by Lola Arias, a young Argentine dramatist who features the real lives of six actors born during the dictatorship. We have already contacted the director who agreed with the projection of the piece during the event. Other possible panel presentations for example, will deal with works of literature that speak about various issues such as postmemory, migration, diaspora, exile and identity. We are also inviting contributions that will speak about the various contested sites of remembrance and commemoration in Latin America and the relationship that these public spaces have with ongoing calls for justice in the public sphere.
Overall, we believe that all the issues that will be discussed over the course of the various panels, do not just have an impact on an academic audience more familiar with these themes, but also, has the potential to reach out to wider public audience and the contemporary issues and preoccupations strengthening the relationship between Latin America and UK.
10.00 – 10.15 Welcome by Professor Maxine Molyneux, Director of ISA
10.15 – 11.00 KEYNOTE: Elizabeth Jelin, IDES, Buenos Aires, Argentina
11.00 – 11.15 Coffee Break
11.15 – 1.00 PANEL ONE: THE ETHICS OF MEMORY RESEARCH
Chair: Susannah Radstone, University of East London
1.00 – 2.00 Lunch
2.00 – 3.45 PANEL 2: VISUAL CULTURE AND THE AESTHETICS OF MEMORY
Chair: Vikki Bell, Goldsmiths College
3.45 – 4.00 Coffee Break
4.00 – 5.00 SCREENING “Mi vida después” (2009) by Lola Arias (with subtitles in English)
5.00 – 5.30 RESPONSES TO THE FILM
9.00 – 10.45 PANEL 3: EXILE AND MIGRATION
10.45 – 11.00 Coffee Break
11.00 -12.45 Panel 4: FAMILY, KINSHIP AND MEMORY
Chair: Elizabeth Jelin, IDES, Buenos Aires, Argentina
1.45-3:30 PANEL 5: TRAUMA, LOSS, AND THE POLITICS OF VICTIMISATION
3:30-3:45 Coffee break
3.45- 5:15 PANEL 6: MEMORY AND PERFORMANCE IN THE SOUTHERN CONE
5:15 – 6.00 CLOSING ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION AND RESPONSES FROM ELIZABETH JELIN, VIKKI BELL, AND SUSANNAH RADSTONE.
5.00 -6.00 Wine reception
Over the two days, the panels will be lead by our chosen delegates, and will include up to three speakers each who will be given twenty minutes to present their papers, with 10-15 minutes of questions at the end of each panel. We have scheduled the five panels with no overlaps in order to allow the participants to share each other’s presentations and to be able to contribute to the discussions generated as a result. At the moment, we anticipate receiving a total of fifteen contributors to the panels. In addition, our budget has been drawn up for a maximum of 25 attendees for both days. However, depending on the interest generated by the call for papers, and our wish to extend this event beyond the academic community and invite a wider public audience.
As a whole, the symposium will represent an excellent occasion to critically engage with the ideas of Elizabeth Jelin as one of the most important voices in the memory debate in Latin America and beyond. This is crucial for strengthening cultural and academic ties between Latin America and the UK, in particular, key institutions from the School like ISA and the IGRS working together to make this happen. Furthermore, it will provide students, scholars, artists, policy-makers and the public, with a unique chance to participate in an intense, shared, and focused space for reflection on key issues of cultural memory in Latin America, and how these also impact on our own realities here in the UK, in Europe, and beyond.
We invite papers for the 2-day symposium that will investigate all forms of critical outlooks on cultural memory in Latin America. Topics might include, but are not confined to such issues as:
Visual culture and the aesthetics of counter-memory in Latin America
Migration, exile, diaspora and identity
Familialism and other non-kin expressions of memory
Trauma, loss and the politics of victimization
Contested sites of memory and urban commemorations
The ethics of memory research in Latin America
Memory and performance in the Southern Cone
Human rights, trials and beyond legal justice
Please send us your abstract for a 20-minute paper (max 300 words) and a brief biographical summary including current affiliation and research interests (max 150 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: 30th September 2010.