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Accepted Paper:

Paradoxes of Humanitarian Recognition: Eritrean Refugees, Memory Politics and the After-ness of Violence  
Fiori Berhane (University of Southern California)

Paper short abstract:

Moving beyond the temporalities that contain violence as a singular event in transitional justice mechanisms, this paper looks to the communicative and performative acts that Eritrean refugees engage in to memorialize violence that is diffuse both spatially and temporally.

Paper long abstract:

The 2018 rapprochement between Eritrea and Ethiopia marked the ostensible end of a state of no war, no peace which had characterized the neighboring countries for the past nearly twenty years. On the one hand, for Eritrean refugees, the peace deal was greeted with cautious hope. On the other hand, for European powers, the rapprochement signified a possible end to the significant refugee flows from Eritrea. International observers were also cautiously optimistic at the possibility of democratization in Eritrea, writing about a long-awaited and peaceful transition from autocratic rule. Yet, four years after the Peace deal, Ethiopian and Eritrean forces are at war in Tigray, Eritrean refugees are blocked in transit camps in Libya, and political justice seems increasingly out of reach. Based on 19 months of ethnographic research in Italy with Eritrean refugees, this paper interrogates the multiple, unassimilated pasts of mass and political violence in Eritrea and its diaspora with an attention to the narrative and discursive strategies Eritrean refugees use to conceptualize a time 'after' violence. A time after violence is used here to denote the diffuse temporal and spatial dimensions of political violence, the efforts of institutional actors to displace violence temporally and spatially-- to prematurely mark the end of violence-- and the communicative and performative acts refugees deploy to imagine peaceful futures and re-establish social bonds within an authoritarian context that follows them into diaspora (Bozzini 2015).

Panel P016b
Proposed Title: Promises, Performativity, and Precarious Futures after Mass Violence II
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -