Jan-Georg Deutsch (Oxford University)
- Series C: Critical Perspective on Education and Heritage
- GR 358
- Start time:
- 11 September, 2008 at 16:00 (UTC+0)
- Session slots:
Author:Linda Devereux (University of Canberra)
Paper long abstract:
A complex range of historical and socio-political actions contributed to events in DRC during the years that I lived there, the late 50s and early 60s. My memories are sketchy, partial and those of a child. In this presentation, I examine newspaper clippings, many of which include images of my family. These clippings were collected by my grandmother and given to me shortly before she died. The images tell part of a story, and position those captured on film in particular ways. What roles can they play in ‘re’presenting history; both the personal and the political? Using the visual images as a stimulus, this presentation will examine the personal and socio-cultural forces that have affected how one family story might or might not be told.
Author:Rachel Ibreck (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Paper long abstract:
The memory of the 1994 genocide marks Rwanda’s politics, its social relations and its landscape, yet it has so far received remarkably little critical attention. This paper uncovers the politics of the genocide memorialisation, examining its meaning in the present and implications for the future. The few existing studies of commemoration in Rwanda suggest that it is employed by the government to construct political legitimacy or to promote national unity—these studies tend to be loosely informed by an established conception of memorials as instruments of the state. In contrast, this paper draws on a rich literature on the politics of memory, and argues that while public remembrance is often harnessed to nationalist agendas; it is ordinarily a site of contestation over the meaning of the past and a practice of mourning, with a unique role in expressing and affirming our moral responsibility to others. Because the sources of public remembrances are diverse, we need to look at particular examples in depth and context, identifying the agencies involved; exploring their aims and attitudes and detailing the symbols and rituals they produce. This paper focuses on the role of genocide survivors in the construction of public memory, highlighting their dedication and influence. It reveals that their demands for accountability and for the restoration of the human dignity of the victims of genocide are a vital dimension of the politics of memorialisation in Rwanda.
Author:Meera Venkatachalam (University of Mumbai)
Paper long abstract:
Societies of the ‘Slave Coast’ of West Africa owed their post-seventeenth century prosperity to their participation in the trans-Atlantic slave-trade, while their domestic economies relied heavily on internal slavery. Along this stretch of the coast, a number of social institutions engage with aspects of the legacy of slavery and the slave-trade. On the Upper Slave Coast, the southern Ewe and Mina have developed several religious cults which deal with the aftermath of slavery, enabling them to engage with their guilt at having incorporated slaves into their society, while simultaneously mourning the demise of the slaving past, which coincided with an economic golden age. The Adja, Heuda and Gen of the Middle Slave Coast were raided frequently by their more powerful neighbours for slaves. As a result, they developed great insecurities, which they articulated through the creation of ritual objects that stood for their suffering; raiding and enslavement were constant concerns. The Fon of the Lower Slave Coast appear to be troubled by their role in the expulsion of slaves from West Africa, making ritual provisions in the form of prayer, for people they sold into slavery in almost an act of repentance. The focus of this paper will be to explain why the ghosts of slavery assume different manifestations along the ‘Slave Coast’, and how and why societies have developed different emotions – from guilt and celebration, to fear and repentance - in relation to their agency in the slaving-era.