Conflict, Violence and Memory NUBS 2.10
Jul 06, 2023 13:30 - 15:00(Europe/London)
20230706T1330 20230706T1500 Europe/London 7.4. Belonging, Justice and Change: The Roles of Memory in Constructing and Deconstructing Identity in Post-Conflict Societies

 This interdisciplinary panel responds to three themes of the upcoming MSA conference: creative approaches to memory; memory and diverse belongings; and conflict, violence and memory. Weaving together these three themes, presenters will canvas diverse locations (Euro-Asia; South Africa; and South America) to discuss how contested memories play a role in political affiliation, commemorative remedies, transitional justice and gender justice. Collective memories are significant for individuals and societies because they play an important role in the dynamic construction of collective identities. Conflicting memories of historical events constitute a source of ongoing tension between states and within communities in states, contributing to instability in post-conflict societies. Ongoing inter-group tensions over contested historical narratives of difficult pasts are nurtured by rival groups and governments, feeding and intensifying inter-communal struggles and ultimately harming the involved societies. Communities and nations have employed diverse methods to mediate such memory conflicts and promote peaceful relations. Our panel will analyze case studies involving memory conflicts, and various strategies developed by the parties involved to mediate them. Moshe Hirsch's paper fits best within the conflict, violence and memory theme; it presents research he conducted with Milad A. Said Berguil on jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. They focus on four sites of memory in Colombia where commemorative remedies were ordered and explore ways that these remedies are important for victims' families as well as for social memory in related local communities. Their research demonstrates that commemorative remedies can materially affect the collective memories ...

NUBS 2.10 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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 This interdisciplinary panel responds to three themes of the upcoming MSA conference: creative approaches to memory; memory and diverse belongings; and conflict, violence and memory. Weaving together these three themes, presenters will canvas diverse locations (Euro-Asia; South Africa; and South America) to discuss how contested memories play a role in political affiliation, commemorative remedies, transitional justice and gender justice. Collective memories are significant for individuals and societies because they play an important role in the dynamic construction of collective identities. Conflicting memories of historical events constitute a source of ongoing tension between states and within communities in states, contributing to instability in post-conflict societies. Ongoing inter-group tensions over contested historical narratives of difficult pasts are nurtured by rival groups and governments, feeding and intensifying inter-communal struggles and ultimately harming the involved societies. Communities and nations have employed diverse methods to mediate such memory conflicts and promote peaceful relations. Our panel will analyze case studies involving memory conflicts, and various strategies developed by the parties involved to mediate them. Moshe Hirsch's paper fits best within the conflict, violence and memory theme; it presents research he conducted with Milad A. Said Berguil on jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. They focus on four sites of memory in Colombia where commemorative remedies were ordered and explore ways that these remedies are important for victims' families as well as for social memory in related local communities. Their research demonstrates that commemorative remedies can materially affect the collective memories of small social units. The second panelist, Michelle LeBaron, explores the role of artistic practices in transitional justice in Colombia and South Africa as examples of creative approaches to memory. In collaborative work with South African artist Kim Berman and Colombian constitutional law professor Yolanda Sierra Leon, diverse artistic practices are described to illustrate the role of two new concepts-aesthetic negotiation and artefactual agency. These concepts reveal facets of how creative arts can powerfully shift collective memory in constructive way, facilitating transitional justice processes following collective trauma. Ljiljana Biukovic's paper contributes to the theme of memory and diverse belongings, examining the use of soft-law as a social and political means to transplant memory policies from one state to another. Her case study centers on Serbia's reaction to Russian aggression in Ukraine in the context of Serbia's complex relations with the European Union (EU) and Russia. She argues that the conflicting memory narratives endorsed by the EU and Russia have contributed to the growing dichotomy of memory frameworks in Serbia and have furthered public discontent in relation to Serbia's membership in the EU. Malena Maceira's paper relates to the theme of conflict, violence and memory. It explores how women victims of torture in the Basque Country build collective memory of political violence they endured from 1975 to the present. She summarizes interviews of women victims and studies judicial processes initiated by these women's complaints, contrasting case records with women's groups' memories. Her findings reveal power relations that catalyze both hegemonic and counter-hegemonic memories.



Michelle LeBaron (co-author: Kim Berman)

Artefactual Agency and Aesthetic Negotiation: Keys to Creative Approaches to Memory

Our paper addresses the role of arts in negotiation and transitional justice processes following collective trauma. The arts are vital resources for transitional justice because they accent commonalities and invite careful attention to humanising processes rather than harkening back to adversarial relations. This paper arises from a comparative project on the roles of arts in post-Apartheid South Africa and contemporary Colombia. To analyze the role of arts in each context, it presents two original concepts: aesthetic negotiation and artefactual agency. Aesthetic negotiation refers to how arts can function as reciprocal processes, opening paths toward increased engagement, agency and positive change. Artefactual agency focuses on material and tangible arts materials, and the processes of making them, as catalysts for mobilisation and action. Artefactual agency draws attention to the inherent power of art works themselves to foster positive shifts in relationships and material recovery post-trauma. Using illustrative case examples from Kim Berman's art and art mobilization projects (including her work on permanent display at the Constitutional Court of South Africa), we also examine how public engagement with art, and art-making processes can foster and strengthen transitional justice processes after violence. Linking artefactual agency and aesthetic negotiation to transitional justice underlines the potency of attending to both material and symbolic reparations, thus opening creative avenues to restore the rule of law. In both South Africa and Colombia, engagement with public arts has helped surface intersecting dynamics of transitional and distributive justice, and drawn attention in powerful ways to the harmful ongoing effects of past injustices.


Moshe Hirsch (co-author: Milad A. Said Barguil)

Social Memory and the Impact of Commemorative Remedies ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Social memory studies start from the premise that people acquire their memories not only through individual means, but through social processes as well. Social groups often provide materials for memory, and prod individuals into recalling particular events. One of the distinctive differences between the practice of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) concerns memory-related remedies. While the IACtHR quite frequently orders respondent states to commemorate grave violations of human rights (including the construction of monuments), the ECtHR has refrained from granting such commemorative remedies. Some organizations representing victims have called upon additional tribunals to embrace the IACtHR's remedial approach to address grave breaches of international law. Drawing on social memory scholarship, this study is aimed at empirically assessing the impact of four sites of memory in Colombia established by order of the IACtHR. The study's findings suggest that international tribunals alone cannot shape collective memories that are inconsistent with sociocultural features characterizing the local society. On the other hand, judicially-ordered sites of memory are meaningful for the victims' families and small-scale social units. These findings turn our attention to micro-level sociological perspectives, and particularly to the symbolic-interactionist approach to international law, highlighting the vital symbolic role of international tribunals for individuals and small social units. The valuable role of such memorial sites for the victims' relatives and related communities suggests that international tribunals addressing grave human rights violations should consider granting commemorative remedies.


Malena Maceira

The path towards the equitable inclusion of the memories of women victims of torture in contexts of politically motivated violence in the Basque Country

This work aims to reflect how women of the Basque Country build memory. I will observe women victims of torture in contexts of political violence suffered between the Transitional period that started in 1975 –after Francoism- to the present. These women make up different social groups since they can self-perceive themselves as direct or indirect victims of institutional violence. To this end, it will be necessary to know who these women are, how they are produced as victims, who their victimizers are, and how they relate to the particular historical event. In order to do so, the research design will require gathering the judges' rulings of judicial processes initiated for claims on torture suffered –or not- by all women in the Basque Country between 1975 and the present. Among the judges' rulings, I seek to identify how justice identifies an "objective fact" and how judges process that information. These facts will be observed from the counterpoint offered by the social groups constituted by women victims who build their counter-memory. From a feminist epistemological perspective intersecting with the theoretical framework produced by memory studies scholars, I ask: Who are the women who denounce torture? How is the subject "woman victim of institutional torture" produced in the judicial process? How do these women victims (re)construct collective memory? What does the construction of an alternative memory on the part of women respond to? How do judges produce or participate actively in the construction of memory? This perspective will allow me to observe if and in which way power relations exist in the practices associated with the construction of hegemonic and counter-memories and how they are resisted by Basque women. The recognition and understanding that a phenomenon such as institutional violence can affect a social group in such a way that it has to create a new counter-hegemonic discourse will allow the pacification process that Basque society is going through to be more inclusive.


Ljiljana Biukovic

When Myths Overtake Memories – Serbia Between Memory Narratives of the EU and Russia

This paper analyses, compares, and evaluates the attempts of the European Union (EU) and Russia to impact the creation of Serbian memory norms. It focuses on Serbia's reaction to the recent Russian aggression in Ukraine and interprets it in the context of two different collective memory narratives of a shared past. These collective memories are directly linked to Serbia's existing, clashing national identities that influence both its memory politics and foreign policy.
The first collective memory narrative is advanced by the EU while the other by Russia. The EU uses the so-called "the EU memory framework" to create a transnational common memory for all EU member states and candidate states. At the core of that transnational memory are the remembrance of the Holocaust and respect for the victims of all forms of totalitarian regimes, including the communist ones. Russia utilizes a mythology over memories of the historical alliance between the people of Serbia and Russia. It emphasizes shared Orthodox Christian values to usher the government of Serbia to thwart the anti-totalitarian narrative of the EU memory framework and prioritize Serbia's relations with Russia. Serbia is both a candidate for EU membership and the most important political and economic partner of Russia in the Western Balkans. While Serbia supported the UN resolutions condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine, its government refused to join EU sanctions against Russia. This paper finds that whenever the EU and Russia have limited legal means to impact memory politics in Serbia, they use soft law to reframe the collective memory narrative of different social groups in Serbia in accordance to their current political interests. It concludes that the existing dichotomy of the memory frameworks in Serbia erodes its public support for EU membership, and it will ultimately delay Serbia's accession to the EU.

Prof.
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The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Professor of Law
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University of British Columbia - Peter A. Allard School of Law
PhD student
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Universidad del País Vasco (UPV-EHU)
Professor of Law
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Peter A. Allard School of Law
Professor of Law
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Peter A. Allard School of Law
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