Conflict, Violence and Memory TFDC 1.16
Jul 06, 2023 13:30 - 15:00(Europe/London)
20230706T1330 20230706T1500 Europe/London 7.6. Remembering Terror

This panel seeks to examine from a critical perspective how people, politicians, agencies and activists worldwide remember terrorist violence, negotiating memories, and counterterrorist responses. Bringing together both theoretical reflections and applied contributions from the perspective of Critical Terrorism Studies, it will draw upon the intellectual discussions that emerged at the recent Urban Terror Conference (University of Birmingham) to speak to several of the 10 central interconnected thematic streams of the MSA conference, with a focus on Conflict, Violence and Memory as it intersects with Memory, Activism and Social Justice, The Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory and Memory and Diverse Belongings.

Charlotte Heath Kelly, University of Warwick 

Memory as 'temporal loop' in the War on Terror

Using the Past to Secure the Future Commemorative architecture has been framed in Memory Studies and War Studies literature as contributing to the continuous reimagining of the nation. Through reminders of past sacrifices and heroic struggles, the present-tense 'everyday' of towns and villages (wherever the memorial might exist) can be interpellated within a national identity. Yet, the War on Terror era has complicated the temporality of memorials and of collective memory. Increasingly, commemorative displays and architecture are connected to future violence prevention. This presentation uses Karen Barad's relational ontology to explore the overlapping pasts, presents and futures of memory work in the War on Terror. Reflecting on examples from European governments and networks, our paper reflects on how commemoration has become implicated within national security practices which anticipate and act upon future insecurity. The EU's Radicalisation Awa ...

TFDC 1.16 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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This panel seeks to examine from a critical perspective how people, politicians, agencies and activists worldwide remember terrorist violence, negotiating memories, and counterterrorist responses. Bringing together both theoretical reflections and applied contributions from the perspective of Critical Terrorism Studies, it will draw upon the intellectual discussions that emerged at the recent Urban Terror Conference (University of Birmingham) to speak to several of the 10 central interconnected thematic streams of the MSA conference, with a focus on Conflict, Violence and Memory as it intersects with Memory, Activism and Social Justice, The Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory and Memory and Diverse Belongings.



Charlotte Heath Kelly, University of Warwick 

Memory as 'temporal loop' in the War on Terror

Using the Past to Secure the Future Commemorative architecture has been framed in Memory Studies and War Studies literature as contributing to the continuous reimagining of the nation. Through reminders of past sacrifices and heroic struggles, the present-tense 'everyday' of towns and villages (wherever the memorial might exist) can be interpellated within a national identity. Yet, the War on Terror era has complicated the temporality of memorials and of collective memory. Increasingly, commemorative displays and architecture are connected to future violence prevention. This presentation uses Karen Barad's relational ontology to explore the overlapping pasts, presents and futures of memory work in the War on Terror. Reflecting on examples from European governments and networks, our paper reflects on how commemoration has become implicated within national security practices which anticipate and act upon future insecurity. The EU's Radicalisation Awareness Network's 'Victims of Terrorism Working Group' has, for example, argued that commemorative events should emphasise the suffering of victims in order to generate a counter-radicalisation effect on audiences. By working to embed the narratives of victims of terrorism in popular culture, they argue, extremist narratives will find less space in society to justify future political violence. Memory-work is reframed as a security producing device in this counter-narrative work, creating a loop between the past event and the production of future security. Similarly, UK government policy now conceptualises commemoration as a 'stage' in disaster recovery. Policies recommend using commemorative church services and memorial architecture as ways to sooth the reverberation and impact of traumatic events – implicating memorials in planning for future terrorist events (and their resolution). The UK Home Office has also begun staging 'spontaneous' memorial reactions to terrorist attacks, sending its staff (particularly people of colour) to the Westminster Bridge and Manchester attack sites with pre-organised slogans about unity and resilience between British Muslim and White British communities. We explore the significance of these overlapping temporalities within securitised memorial efforts.


Dr. Carlos Yebra López (University College London)

Remembering the Madrid (2004) and Barcelona (2017) Attacks in post-2017 Catalan Pro-independence

The ideological contingency of the hegemonic symbolisation of "democracy", "constitution" and "terrorism" over the Spanish transitional period (1975-82) is best demonstrated by the contemporaneous presence of alternative symbolisations articulated by a number of peripheral political actors. In this presentation I will discuss one such perspective in Catalonia's (post-2017) bid for independence, particularly as supported by the Catalan protest group Democratic Tsunami (2019-). Though largely non-violent, this political movement agrees with the far left and the so-called "Basque exception" in the denunciation of the fabrication of the terrorism problem by the (Spanish) State as a projection of its own terrorism, as well as in desacralising the Constitution as centralist and anti-democratic, instead advocating for a self-determination referendum in Catalonia.

In particular, I will focus on how disputes between Spain's central government and Catalonia experienced a recrudescence within the context of remembering the 2017 Barcelona attacks (whose remembrance can only be understood against the background of the 2004 Madrid bombings), as well as on the impact that the ideologically-mediated remembrance of the Barcelona attacks had on the vote in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum and its political repercussions.


Mia Parkes 

Remembering Terror in Argentina: Non-linear, queer, and subversive memory in Alicia Partnoy's The Little School (1986), Alicia Kozameh's Pasos bajo el agua (1987), and Albertina Carri's Los rubios (2003) 

This proposed paper is drawn from the research that forms Chapter Two of my PhD thesis. Centred upon the testimonies of two generations of Argentinian women – Alicia Kozameh, detained by the military junta from 1975 to 1978, Alicia Partnoy, detained from 1977 to 1979, and Albertina Carri, whose parents were 'disappeared' in 1977 – it explores the ways in which these works engage with memory, testimony, and witness narrative in the process of restorative justice and reconciliation after state terror in Argentina, as well as in the establishing of a new post-dictatorship Argentine identity. I propose that The Little School, Pasos bajo el agua and Los rubios each constitute non-normative forms of memorial practice, and will discuss several elements that I believe contribute to the 'queering' of memory in both text and film. Partnoy, Kozameh and Carri each employ largely non-linear narrative styles in their work, frequently blurring the lines between 'protagonist' and 'author' or 'director', creating uneasy connections and disconnections between creator and narrator which expose the difficulties and contradictions implicit in the act of recreating one's trauma for an audience. Each testimony also further blurs the line between testimonial witness and narrator in its inclusion of multiple voices, frustrating any reading that would infer the presence of a single, straightforward eye-witness narrator and instead creating collective, polyphonic recreations of various memories of the Argentine past. Finally, I will also explore the presence of so-called 'playful' memory within these testimonies, focussing in on the ways in which each might be considered to 'play' with memory and our traditional understanding of testimony, with particular reference to Marianne Hirsch's concept of postmemory and the changing landscape of memory discourse in Argentina today.


Mireya Toribio Medina, University of Birmingham 

Batera Kantari: A glance at the aftermath of violence in the Basque Country in the cultural response to the Alsasua Affair 

The path towards peaceful coexistence that is currently being walked in the Basque Country and Spain, is historically and socially situated in the context of a territory where violence has been a thread woven through recent history. From the coup d'état of 1939, through a civil war (1936-1939) and a lengthy dictatorship (1939 1975), followed by a particular transition to democracy and an extended record of terrorist violence by several organisations though primarily by ETA (1959-2011). The country is currently in the process of coming to terms with past violence, especially the most recent forms. In dealing with both violence and managing its consequences, different tools or resources such as policing, anti-terrorist legislation and memorialisation are intertwined. In these responses, there have been both successes and excesses. In 2016, five years since ETA's definitive ceasefire, eight local youths from the Navarrese town of Alsasua were prosecuted for terrorist offences in one of the most high-profile terrorism trials ever seen in the country following a bar fight with two plainclothes policemen and their partners. The terrorism accusation made by one of Spain's primary terrorism victims' associations and the public prosecutor and spread by the main news outlets was based on the defendants' alleged pro-Basque independence ideology and the subsequent association of their actions with ETA's goals. These proceedings, which have been described as an excess by several legal experts, drew a large response from different sectors of society in the form of demonstrations, legal opinion articles, and artistic production. This paper, which is framed within the broader project of my PhD thesis, looks at that response to inquire into the influence of collective memory on legal proceedings and its potential implications. Specifically, by focusing on the musical pieces produced as part of this response, I aim to explore questions such as: How do they refer to memories of past violence? How, if at all, do they refer to the path towards reconciliation? Do they address change?


Dr Kostas Arvanitis, University of Manchester

Ethics of care in collecting spontaneous memorials after terrorist attacks 

Spontaneous memorials that appear after terrorist attacks present a number of challenges for museums and other cultural organisations involved in collecting and documenting them. This paper examines some of the ethical issues that arise in the early stages of collecting and documenting spontaneous memorials. The paper is based on an analysis of two case studies of spontaneous memorial collections: the Manchester Together Archive, a collection of over 10,000 items collected by the Manchester Art Gallery from the spontaneous memorials in Manchester (UK) after the Arena attack (22 May 2017) that killed twenty-three people (including the attacker) and injured hundreds; and the One Orlando Collection, which consists of more than 6,000 items that the Orange County Regional History Center collected after the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando (USA) (12 June 2016) that left forty-nine people dead and sixty-eight people injured. The paper draws on ethics of care to discuss how museum professionals consider and respond to the needs of affected communities when they are presented with the task of collecting and documenting spontaneous memorials. Specifically, it focuses on issues that arise in the first weeks and months of the spontaneous memorials' transitioning into museum collections, and how ethics of care can help explain and guide museum professionals' actions and decisions. The paper argues that collections of spontaneous memorials are part of the ritual of 'care-giving' (Tronto 1993) and should be understood through the lens of extending the life of the spontaneous memorials, rather than creating a record of them. It suggests that the lack of personal and institutional experience in disaster collecting is often mitigated by a fall back to personal ethics, professional competence and sense of social responsibility, which in turn produces (and can be explained by) the adoption of an ethics of care approach. Ultimately, this examination aims to offer some broader conclusions about how ethical issues in managing the formation and use of spontaneous memorials require appropriate institutional policy and practice. 

Professor of Politics and International Studies
,
University of Warwick
Dr.
,
University College London)
PhD Candidate
,
University of Birmingham
Doctoral Researcher
,
University of Birmingham
Senior Lecturer
,
The University Of Manchester
Ms Yordanka Dimcheva
Ph. D. Candidate
,
University of Birmingham
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