Conflict, Violence and Memory NUBS 4.20
Jul 07, 2023 09:00 - 10:30(Europe/London)
20230707T0900 20230707T1030 Europe/London 8.13. Literary Articulations of Trauma NUBS 4.20 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
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Trauma, Mourning and Satire in Tahar Djaout's Les chercheurs d'os (1984)
Individual paperConflict, Violence and Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/07 22:00:00 UTC
This paper explores the way a small peasant community in the Kabylie, Algeria, recovers from the trauma of the war for independence (1954-1962), by bringing into analysis the theme of mourning in Tahar Djaouts' Les chercheurs d'os (1984, The Bone Seekers), a novel which combines two, seemingly, irreconcilable discourses: one of trauma and the other of satire. 
Satire is everywhere in Les chercheurs d'os, targeting peoples who turn, overnight, from once peaceful, recluse villagers into self-indulgent consumers without any form of respect for their dead and for their ancestral culture of frugality and moderation. Their uncanny behaviour is set against the solemn moment of post-colonial remembering and mourning, when the bodies of those who fell in the battlefield are recovered to be given sepulchre. As such, it raises a number of questions that will be addressed in the presentation: how are the discourses of mourning and satire woven together in Les chercheurs d'os and for what purposes? Why do the villagers forget their ancestral culture of solidarity to engage in endless orgies and sprees? What is the place of forgetfulness in mourning? The answers to those questions will hopefully allow a better understanding of the processes and rituals of mourning in the context of the Algerian war, as well as the complex interactions between the need to forget and the drive to remember trauma.

Amar Guendouzi
Professor, Mouloud Mammeri University, Tizi-Ouzou
Unveiling the Social Trauma: Cosmopolitan Memory in Spanish Contemporary Narratives
Individual paperConflict, Violence and Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/07 22:00:00 UTC
This presentation focuses on the narrative strategies and themes in contemporary Spanish literature. In particular, I analyze three novels published in the last two years that represent the violence of past and its impact in the present: Los ojos cerrados (2021) by Edurne Portela, pequeñas mujeres rojas (2020) by Marta Sanz, y La Bajamar (2022) by Aroa Moreno. We can approach these literary works as sites of memories that not only represent different acts of violence, including silence, but they codify the transgenerational transmission of memory. In the context of the Historical Memory studies in Spain, Sebastiaan Faber has explained the affiliative novel as a conscient search of the trauma transmission seen as an act of solidarity and compassion. In this sense, all writers selected in this study shared the same affiliation; they belong to a third generation, distanced temporally from the Civil War and the Franquist repression. I explore the selected texts in this presentation, considering two critical approaches. In the first one, I propose reading them as prosthetic memories, a term defined by Alison Landsberg, to analyze the social function of the novel and the ethical position toward the representation of the past and present acts of violence. The second critical lens used the concept of cosmopolitan memory, coined initially by Daniel Levy and Nathan Szanider in the context of the Holocaust. In this approach, I focus on the economies of affection in constructing memories of a violent past by looking at the modes, production conditions, distribution channels, and receptions of these emotions. On the one hand, the representation of violence, taking into account the affections and feelings, can help to connect with a broader audience. Still, it could also limit the interpretative patterns that can be legible. More important, it could make invisible the connections of past violence within the present, undermining the contributions of the texts as social change. On the other hand, as part of a cosmopolitan memory, the representation of past violence becomes a form of reparation and an act of justice by telling the silenced stories of the victims. As a result, these representations can enter a transnational discourse in which the memory understood a human right could attract the empathy of diverse audiences. By analyzing the narrative strategies and themes in the representation of past violence, I propose looking at the ethical-political patterns they engage readers. I also look at the dialogue with other memory discourses circulating at a national level, such as the organizations for the recovery of historical memory and the law of the Historical Memory, approved in 2007, or the new law of Democratic Memory, approved in October of 2022.
Natalia Ruiz Rubio
Professor Of Spanish , Eastern Washington University
Traumatic memory and the absurd in contemporary Chinese literature
Individual paperConflict, Violence and Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/07 22:00:00 UTC
With the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the Cultural Revolution came to an end. This ten-year long campaign had a dramatic impact on the lives of most Chinese people, with millions subjected to harassment and assault, public humiliation, forced labor, internal exile and in some cases execution or intimidation into suicide.
              In 1978 Deng Xiaoping initiated a monumental process of reform that included a series of initiatives meant to provide the victims of abuses with some measure of justice and reparation, namely the public trial of the "Gang of Four", the rehabilitation process that reinstated formerly "rightist" or "capitalist" cadres, and the historical resolution of 1981, in which for the first time the Party blamed Mao for some "excesses" and "errors". However, this process was implemented in a top-down method and after 1981 the public debate about the recent past was all but terminated.
              One of the few areas left for memory and denunciation of individual grievances was fiction. The number of literary journals increased exponentially in the 1980's and different literary movements flourished, like the "scar literature" or the "roots-seeking literature", both profoundly concerned with a record of the abuses and a meditation on the causes of the generalized violence. Despite important innovations, these movements were still markedly constrained by the realist aesthetics and the moral dichotomies that prevailed during the Maoist period.
In the middle of the decade a new movement burst on the literary scene. A group of young writers imploded the conventions of Chinese fiction, adopting an absurdist and violent aesthetic full of moral ambiguities and open endings. Based on analysis of emblematic short stories produced by the avant-garde, I argue that this movement was born not only as an expression of trauma and a desire to inscribe in public memory the abuses endured by the individual, but also as an attempt to create a new literary language able to address the "unspeakable" and the "inexpressible" of the traumatic experience and thus open the way to a more effective contestation of the silences imposed by the state after the transition period.
Presenters Tiago Nabais
Phd Candidate, Centre For Social Studies - Coimbra University
Narrating the Family: Trauma and Therapeutic Memory in the Oufkir’s Autobiographies
Individual paperConflict, Violence and Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/07 22:00:00 UTC
In a disproportionate conflict between the state and a few individuals, the Oufkir family's survival seemed next to impossible. Malika Oufkir's Stolen Lives (1998) and her brother, Raouf's autobiography Les Invites (2003) transport our imagination into a literary world full of testimony, torture, and trauma. The narration portrays a 20- year- incarceration life in which the working of memory serves to heal up their traumatized psyches. While prison life literature has flourished over decades in memoirs and autobiographies, less academic production around family narratives of prison life has occurred. The story of a mother with her 6 children and two accompanying women constitutes an exciting subject of inquiry in the field of this kind of literature. In the two narratives, the authors extensively refer to their imagination inspired by diverse textual, visual, and mediatic objects of memory (photographs, books, radio), and survival strategies (filmic flashbacks, games, cooking, drama, etc.) to increase hope for survival. Drawing on Memory Studies, and deploying the concepts of trauma, conflict, and violence in the context of prison narratives, we propose to examine the stylistics of family narration, and the use of imagination as an instrument of what may be termed 'therapeutic memory.' In this type of memory, the protagonists indulge in a process of narration inspired by both factual and fictional memories to procrastinate their despondency. Simultaneously, the therapeutic function of memory draws on such creative means of the imprisoned self as adopting disguised characters (Drama), inventing objects (birthday gift doll; ball/gun made for toys), installing discrete inter-cellular communication systems (radio broadcasting wires), to alleviate the gradual damage and systematic torturing inflicted on by the perpetrators. Through these strategies/wiles, the family members strengthen and maintain their unity being subjected to the perpetrators' continuous stratagems of dispersal and individuation (individual cells). The more the prison increases procedures to sever the family from the external world and from each other, the more the detainees invent further creative ways to subvert the state's tactics of disunion. This tug of war between the two lasts until family's creative memory has eventually succeeded in optimizing conditions for not only survival, but also for an ultimate 'fantastic and surreal' escape.
Survival; memory; violence; conflict; prison narrative; family narration; (dis)union; escape

Lahoussine Hamdoune
Associate Professor, Ibn Zohr University
Co-Authors Hassane Oudadene
Associate Professor, Ibn Zohn University
Associate professor
Ibn Zohn University
Mouloud Mammeri University, Tizi-Ouzou
Professor of Spanish
Eastern Washington University
Phd Candidate
Centre for Social Studies - Coimbra University
Associate Professor
Ibn Zohr University
Prof. Dr.
Universidad de Salamanca
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