After the Violence: Memory The 45th Wisconsin Workshop Sponsors

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After the Violence: Memory
The 45th Wisconsin Workshop


Department of German and Center for German and European Studies


Department of Slavic Languages, Department of French and Italian, Center for European Studies, European Union Center of Excellence, Center for Interdisciplinary French Studies, Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies, Harvey Goldberg Center, Alice D. Mortenson Fund (Department of History), Global Legal Studies, Division of International Studies, Letters & Science Anonymous Fund

What does it mean to think about societies marked by past structures of violence and exclusion? What happens to people so steeped in oppression that personal and social traumas are inscribed in their community relations even when the violence ends? Are there models of reconciliation that can overcome the asymmetry of perpetrators and victims? Is this binary itself adequate for capturing the complexities of complicity and guilt? “After the Violence” seeks to explore the work of memory and the ethics of healing in societies that have experienced political and social rupture. Europe in the twentieth century witnessed genocides, ethnic cleansing, forced population expulsions, shifting national borders, and other massive disruptions. Scholarly discourse continues to generate approaches and models that accompany the process of remembering and forgetting dramatic pasts in literary and cinematic representations, monuments and museums, school curricula and history books. Especially in post authoritarian societies that have experienced difficult national histories of state-perpetrated violence, such discourse needs to account for memorial cultures and how the past is remembered and forgotten, confronted or repressed, or how it keeps haunting the present. This means going beyond a narrow focus on contestation, “resistance” to dominant discourse, and power relations in the public sphere to include trans-generational encounters, performances, rituals, and practices of remembrance and reconciliation. The conference sessions will focus on models and transformations of memory work globally: after the Holocaust and the fall of the Berlin Wall, after Stalinism in post-Soviet Russia and Eastern Europe, after the Vichy collaboration and Algerian War in France, after the Civil War in Spain, the military dictatorship in Argentina, and apartheid in South Africa.

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