Conflict, Violence and Memory NUBS 4.06
Jul 07, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230707T1100 20230707T1230 Europe/London 9.15. Material Cultures, Objects and Ethnographic Approaches NUBS 4.06 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Conflict, materiality, memory and global fashion: a case study of the sukajan
Individual paperConflict, Violence and Memory 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/07 10:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/07 11:30:00 UTC
In this paper I examine the sukajan, an embroidered souvenir jacket born out of military conflict.  I analyse the ways in which this garment was transformed as it moved through time and across space before finally becoming a global fashion.  Originally embroidered by the Japanese for American soldiers in Occupied Japan, the sukajan continued to be made as a commemorative souvenir, including during the Vietnam War.  In the 1960s, it was further worn as an act of defiance by members of subcultures both inside and outside of Japan, developing connotations of rebellion.   Its visibility worn by delinquents and celebrities in media culture brought this garment to popular attention globally.
In this paper, I draw upon memory, material culture and fashion studies to understand how clothing can inform our understanding of the ways in which details of conflict are remembered or forgotten.  A multidirectional narrative is achieved through the consideration of how the sukajan was transformed materially and in meaning as it was made or used by different communities.  These include the kimono-making community redeployed to make sukajan at the end of the Second World War, the Vietnamese tailors and embroiderers called upon to transform the military garments of Vietnam veterans into customised, embroidered souvenir jackets, the victorious American soldiers at the close of the Second World War, as well as the demoralised American soldiers for whom the garment was made during the Vietnam War.  Finally, tracing how and why this garment type was assimilated into mainstream fashion as military chic, allows for the consideration of what is performed, remembered or forgotten when such garments are transformed into mass produced items for global consumers.  As we look as the garment across time and space we are powerfully reminded how clothing can materialise meaning and carry memory, that is both personal and collective but also highly selective.
Presenters
EK
Elizabeth Kramer
Senior Lecturer In Design History, Northumbria University
Localising soldier memories: Urban transformation and everyday places of memory in post-conflict Belfast
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
The recent period of conflict in Northern Ireland officially ended with the Good Friday Agreement (1998) and the partial withdrawal of British troops (2007). During the conflict, the British Army's presence in Belfast involved the construction of a 'military theatre' including the erection of watchtowers, barracks, checkpoints, and sangars, in addition to segregating walls, today known as 'peace walls'. While the latter has been theorized as introducing a 'normalisation of exception' in the segregated city (Donnan & Jarman, 2017), most of the military infrastructure has been removed as part of a process of post-conflict 'transition, demilitarization and normalisation' (Donnan & Jarman, 2017). 
While for most, tearing down military structures brought the gradual introduction of 'normality' to social life in Belfast, it also transformed the city's material landscape as a space of, and for, remembering, and thus the physical backdrop against which military experiences during the past decades would be carried into the present.


Drawing on theoretical conceptualizations of memory dynamics simultaneously as a process of localization (Gensburger 2019: 69f) and as embodied (Bourdieu 1977: 94), this paper explores how soldiers remember serving in Belfast in the context of the material transformation of the urban landscape that 'normalisation' brought to the city. Based on ethnographic materials, including car rides in the city of Belfast with former soldiers as an ethnographic research tool, and observations on the shifting landscape, I argue that individuals routinely transform places of former military infrastructures into 'everyday places of memory' (Grossman, 2019). 
Military infrastructures such as roadblocks, watchtowers, barracks, and sangers are temporary means of control. Yet, they are also sites of working routines, framing soldier memories of past lives in the city accordingly. Following the logics, the affects and memories emerging on car rides around places in the city where former soldiers used to work, here, the barracks, it becomes possible to see how 'everyday places of memory', are mundane, and constituted by routine habits that alongside the material infrastructure of the city of today – such as intersections, narrow streets, and cul-de-sacs - maintain and reinvigorate the memories that people hold of lives during conflict, thus complicating understandings of post-conflict 'normality' in turn.
Presenters Annemarie Majlund
PhD Student, Aarhus University
Sensory Remembrances and Emotional Economy of the Everyday: Retelling the 1990s in Downtown Srinagar, Kashmir through Objects and Dreams
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
The beginning of the armed movement for self-determination in Kashmir in the late 1980s and the concomitant military occupation by the Indian state fundamentally altered the topography of Downtown Srinagar wherein each day familiar, intimate sites of sociality were being transformed into zones of unrelenting violence and vulnerabilities, resulting in an endless spiral of killed and disappeared bodies (Chatterjee et al. 2009). In this social space, extraordinary violence takes on an ordinary and routine texture precisely because it offers no tangible break from this "continuum of violence" (Scheper-Hughes 2008). Through the imposition of a disciplinary regime of control along with the extrajudicial powers and legal impunity that it has through draconian laws, the Indian state attempts to coerce, stifle, and erase alternate histories of people in Kashmir and their lived experiences. In this context, memory becomes the only way to challenge hegemonic narratives and preserve counter histories. In this paper, the primary line of inquiry I pursue is: what are the complex practices of remembrance through which people retell the past that is sedimented with continuing inscriptions of violence?
To explore an answer to this question, I identify sensory and extra-linguistic practices of remembrance in Downtown Srinagar, to ask the question: what happens when material memorials obliterate and when narratives fail? The retelling of the precarious violent past during my own fieldwork from 2015 onwards was suffused with a montage of overlapping and intersecting remembrance practices that I collated ethnographically from local shopkeepers and residents of Downtown. To understand the perpetuity of grief embodied by families whose kin were violently killed during the political conflict of 1990s, I argue that a narrative or a testimony that allows violent experiences of the past to be formulated into words is crucial, yet it cannot be an all-encompassing singular form of representation. Even though framing and articulation of grief in the form of a narrative or a story has become a ― "standing language" (Segal 2016: 6) for representing memory of the past, Segal compels us to think of what lies outside these established pre-fixed forms. 
By drawing attention to and incorporating the sensory, embodied, and intangible forms of remembrance, we can see that the everyday emotions, experiences, rhythms, and vulnerabilities cannot be mediated completely through speech, memorials, and tangible remnants. The affective world of remembrance that these sensory forms, such as snippets of folksongs, an obscure artifact, a broken refrain, or a silent dream create corresponds to the ethos of the past as it was lived, embodied, endured, feared, and lost. I focus on two such sensory forms of remembrance: one, sociality of dreams: the intermediate or transitive world of dreams oscillating between life and death, and, two, circulation of everyday objects: preservation of memory through intimate everyday artifacts such as pheran (Kaur 2020), currency notes, a vegetable, a song, and a radio. I refer to both these forms as the extralinguistic or sensory perceptions of remembrance.
Presenters
BK
Bhavneet Kaur
Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School
From Toxic to Curative: Towards a Typology of Cultural Heritage of Conflict
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
An often-posed question with regards to conflict-affected societies dealing with a difficult past is; 'does heritage hurt or heal?' In this paper we propose a typology of difficult heritage of conflict with the ambition to increase our knowledge of where, when and how such cultural heritage enables or disables conflict transformation. 
We argue that on the one hand, cultural heritage of conflict can be instrumentalized for purposes of (re)-igniting conflict, and/or upholding social marginalisations and exclusions. On the other hand, engaging with cultural heritage of conflict can be part of processes that seek to transform conflict, address structural inequalities and be a space for dialogue and right-claiming. Sometimes, over time, some aspects of the past are gradually forgotten and fade away, losing its divisive presence. Thus, cultural heritage of conflict is a site for agency and transformation and our typology makes it possible not only to study these transformations in the present but also take into consideration the longue durée. 
The typology builds upon a novel and systematic reading of cultural heritage of conflict. First, we delineate two main affective categories: heritage that hurts and heritage that heals. Second, we introduce the degree of heritagization agency, ranging from intended to non-intended agency. Based on these readings we propose four main categories of cultural heritage of conflict: toxic heritage, curative heritage, excluded heritage and faded heritage. The paper unpacks these categories and illustrates their conceptual power in relation to the memoryscape of the Israeli city of Haifa, which holds a contingent, contested and multilayered range of cultural heritage sites as well as a number of heritagization actors. The research in Haifa builds upon a methodology of urban ethnography through which we have experienced the cultural heritage of the city. 
Our proposed typology brings forth how cultural heritage may be productive of both violent conflict and social cohesion and that the use and meaning of cultural heritage can be transformed and repurposed. This is important knowledge for the research fields of memory studies, peace studies and transitional justice studies.


Presenters
JM
Johanna Mannergren
Associate Professor, Södertörn University
Co-Authors
AB
Annika Björkdahl
Professor, Lund University
Paramilitary terror: the memory of massacres as a policy for the management of autonomous communities by the State of Oaxaca, Mexico
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
The aim is to compare the practices of maintaining and reactivating the memory of massacres, political assassinations, forced disappearances and arbitrary imprisonment of activists in favour of the right to autonomy in two municipalities located in different ethnic communities in the state of Oaxaca, namely San Juan Copala in the Triqui zone on the one hand, and in Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón in the Mazatec zone on the other, for electoral purposes. This shows that the diversity of forms of autonomy (political autonomy, customs and traditions), when they are not part of the game of the so-called democratic parties, generates the same response from the government of the federal state of Oaxaca: a policy of terror implemented by the establishment and financing of local paramilitary groups, and the maintenance and reactivation of this memory by political institutions over the last twenty years.
Based on a participatory ethnography carried out in the plantones, protest camps, over a period of fifteen years in Mexico, the aim is to follow the traces left by the massacres in everyday life, whether they are emblematic such as the ghost village of Tierra Blanca (Triqui), or immersed and diffuse such as the fear and avoidance of any political subject, the massacres and other daily strategies in the face of the policy of terror maintained by institutions from the government of the State of Oaxaca to the municipalities. This allows us to understand the collective memory of politics in Mexico, showing how the aftermath of massacres, political assassinations, forced disappearances and arbitrary imprisonments give rise to processes of spatialization of collective memory through protest movements. Instrumentalised, denigrated and denied, the memory of enforced disappearances becomes not only a local memory but a national one through the plantones that ritualise events and sacralise dates and places. Memory becomes a 'space of dispute [...] around the preservation of a recent past of repression and violence in Mexico' (Garza Placencia, 2018). Methodological questions will also be raised.
Presenters Morgane Govoreanu
PhD Student , EHESS-Paris/UT2J-Toulouse
Assistant professor
,
Jindal Global Law School
PhD Student
,
Aarhus University
Associate Professor
,
Södertörn University
PhD Student
,
EHESS-Paris/UT2J-Toulouse
Senior Lecturer in Design History
,
Northumbria University
Research Fellow
,
German Historical Institute Warsaw
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