Conflict, Violence and Memory NUBS 3.13
Jul 07, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230707T1100 20230707T1230 Europe/London 9.17. Representations of Violence NUBS 3.13 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
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"How Do 17.000 Lives Fit in a Car?": Haunting Memories of the White Toros
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

On the 21st of September 2022, Turkish courts dropped a case precisely one day after its statute of limitation had expired. It was the case of Anter Musa, a prominent Kurdish intellectual and journalist, who was gunned down in Diyarbakir in 1992, allegedly by the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Organization (JİTEM), a controversial paramilitary intelligence agency heavily involved in the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. Until 2005, when the organization was renamed JİT and reorganized, its existence was denied by Turkish authorities.
JİTEM is imprinted onto the memories of millions of Kurds in the form of a Renault brand white car known as "White Toros" (WT). JİTEM officers used the car to kidnap, kill, and eradicate the victims' bodies. While only a small number of cases went to trial, an overwhelming number resulted in non-prosecution or expired due to the statute of limitation. However, the White Toros continues to appear in political debates, pre-election campaigns, and the media and haunts the loved ones of those disappeared and murdered at the hands of the state. With the image of the White Toros, Kurdish bodies are made invisible, almost like ghostly beings that linger over the past, present, and future. 
As the perpetrators behind the steering wheel often remain nameless or are rewarded with impunity, a decades-lasting injustice is embedded in the White Toros, or the Toros Monster, as many Kurds call it. The White Toros is no longer simply an innocent object or means of transportation, but it is a significant reference to a haunted past that continues to be shaped by fear, grief, loss, pain, and anger in the present. Trauma passes down across generations and has become a significant part of forming Kurdish collective memory. However, despite being powered by violence, the steering wheel of the White Toros reaches beyond intergenerational trauma. 
The image of the White Toros is deconstructed by Kurdish youth to mobilize Kurds for the human rights struggle and peacebuilding. On the one hand, the repurposing of the image shows the resilience and dedication to human rights; on the other, it provides an opportunity to explore the temporal and spatial registers of Kurdish collective memory. 
Therefore, I will focus on the representations of and narratives about the White Toros and their embeddedness in the making of Kurdish collective and cultural memory in this paper. Analyzing various media (including but not limited to online user comments, cartoons, and cinema), this discussion will center the sociopolitical and cultural contexts in which the ghosts of the White Toros are produced, encountered, and summoned. Drawing on narratives and images of the White Toros, I will delve into how different uses of the Toros can be a catalyst of societal polarization. Further, exploring Kurdish memories to reflect on the continuities, changes, and disruptions in state violence will lay the grounds for the White Toros simultaneously being a symbol of state atrocities and impunity and a vehicle to vocalize demands for accountability, justice, and hope for the future.  

Presenters Tebessüm Yilmaz
PhD Candidate, Humboldt University Of Berlin
Family (Des)Affiliation in the Literary Representation of Perpetrators by their Grandchildren
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 this paper, I explore Michael Rothberg's concept of "the Implicated Subject" and the current interest of some perpetrators'' descendants for navigating in their family history. Especially, questioning how grandchildren are connected to the Grandparents´ past, and whether their reaction to the perpetration is with complicity or with responsibility in terms of the generation of postmemory (Hirsch: 2012)
The sociologists Harald Welzer, Sabine Moller and Karoline Tschuggnall explain in "Opa war kein Nazi" (2002) how family histories of perpetrators pass from generation to generation by oral communication telling different versions of the same story about Grandparents´ complicity or responsibility in violent acts during the Nazi Regime. These authors claim that grandchildren are conscious of what happened in the past because they learn about it at school, their emotions play however a role in how they think about their grandparents as perpetrators. They may try to justify the behavior of family members by creating some strategies in the narrative discourses with different modes of distancing as "Spatio-Temporal-Distancing" or "Moral-Distancing" (Prade-Weiss: 2022).
However, in the case the Grandchildren are not being affected by their emotions, they feel responsible for the crimes, since they are aware of being involved in the structures that have caused violence in the past, according to the concept of Michael Rothberg in his book entitled "The Implicated Subject. Beyond Victims and Perpetrators" (2019). 
In the novels "Der Empfänger" (2019) by Ulla Lenze and "Entre Hienas" (2018) by Loreto Urraca, the authors have implicated subjects who react with both responsibility and complicity to their grandparents' perpetration. Lenze uses a spatio-temporal-distancing strategy to describe her grandfather's espionage for the Nazi Regime in the USA, while Urraca analyzes the collaboration of her grandfather with Franco and the Nazi Regime in France. Affects play an important role in Lenze's narrative, which remains ambiguous as to whether her grandfather collaborated with the Nazi Regime, while Urraca is horrified by her grandfather's implication and feels indirectly responsible for the victims he created, resulting in her writing as a tribute to them.
Overall, it seems that the representation of perpetrators by grandchildren in literature is a complex and nuanced issue, with different reactions and strategies for coping with the family histories of perpetuation. 
But what about the reader? Is the reader an implicated subject too?
Presenters Maria Angeles Sánchez Laguna
PhD-Student, Universidad De Alcalá
Curating Connections: Understanding the Representation of Trans-national Forms of Violence through the Arts
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 is part of a wider project in which I investigate the ways in which transnationally constituted violence translates into memory politics facilitated by the arts. Based on an understanding of violence as entangled rather than spatially secluded, this paper explores the ways in which peace, too, requires an entangled approach. It investigates the extent to which art-based practices can help complicate simplified and spatially secluded stories of violence and replace it with an entangled sense of history. How does artwork engage notions of what I term "mnemonic peace"? The paper examines the political and aesthetic landscape in which art and curation produce meaning, and outlines the relationship between art and curation, including the blurred boundaries between the two. I focus on two distinct loci of curatorial activity. On the one hand, I investigate museums as traditional spaces of curation, which however continue to serve as powerful political spaces, not only for the perpetuation of the status quo, but also its radical transformation. On the other hand, the paper considers curatorial activity not as limited to museum professionals and instead investigates curation as a participatory process, which takes place in public spaces and through public art. It discusses interventions in public space of a diverse nature, ranging from "design" to "vandalism", done by political communities, citizens and activists alike and stretches the traditional understanding of what "curation" consists of. Ultimately, the paper shows that the curation of museum and public spaces often involves trans-local agency and illustrates the ways in which such agency can be used to mobilize representations of violence as entangled, whilst raising important political questions of acknowledgement, reparations and solidarity and, consequentially, mnemonic peace.
Stefanie Kappler
Professor In Conflict Resolution And Peacebuilding, Durham University
Polyphonism in Postmemory: Mapping Cultural and Territorial Conflict in Post-9/11 Pakistani Vernacular Poetry
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 last decades for Pakistani vernacular literature made the contemporary Pakistani local poets to translate the repercussions of 9/11 - transcended to the central and peripheral capitals of Pakistan including Quetta, Peshawar, North-Waziristan - into the transcultural and prosthetic versions of memory that are escalating cultural, territorial and identity crisis. This research negotiates the ways, the vernacular poets map the metaphor of violence and turmoil in the local poetry emerging from the peripheries (Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindhi and South-Punjab) and peripheral languages (Brahui, Balochi, Pashto, Punjabi, Saraiki, and Sindhi) in the last two decades. Repositioning the works of Michael Rothberg and Marianne Hirsch: Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization and Postmemory respectively, in the sharing space of Global South and Global North, supplies framework to this research. Here, I will discuss the selected poetry of Ejaz Rahim and Ayub Khawar's from their collections: Carnage in December and Symphony & Other Poems respectively. Both works dwell into revisiting and aestheticizing a series of the events of cultural and territorial violence including APS attacks that took lives of more 140 innocent school kids in five minutes. The poetry produced in the regions of Balochistan, North and South Waziristan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindhi and South Punjab covers more than 80 percent of the Pakistani literature that not yet explored and been accessed because of the least understanding and access to the other language speakers. This understanding can be increased with its immense strength by translating the existing vernacular literature of last twenty-one years into the global and international language of communication, English. It will help this ignored part of Pakistani literature to share the social, national and regional spaces with existing literature in South Asia. 
Vernacular Pakistani Poetry, Polyphonic memory, Transcultural memory, Prosthetic Memory, Postmemory, Cultural Violence
Presenters Muhammad Numan
PhD Research Scholar, National University Of Modern Languages Islamabad
PhD Candidate
Humboldt University of Berlin
Universidad de Alcalá
Professor in Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
Durham University
PhD Research Scholar
National University of Modern Languages Islamabad
Spitzer Professor International Relations
City College of New York
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