Instructor: Pilar Riaño-Alcalá
In the aftermath of state repression, war, displacement or disaster, how do people reconstruct their social worlds? What are the ways in which memory is used and mobilized by various social groups to confront oppression and the serious violations of their human rights? In what ways and by what expressive practices and social tensions, social groups, communities and societies make sense of their memories of the past and engage in actions towards change?
Through critical reading, presentations, activities and debates, we will examine these questions focusing on the relationship between memory and social reconstruction. Students will explore the complex tensions, agents and social disputes on memory in societies undergoing crisis, recovering from disaster, in transitional periods or in communities seeking to come to terms with systemic state repression, abuse and the breakdown of their social worlds. Social reconstruction can take many forms including international led programmatic interventions, national relief or reconciliation efforts, organized social resistance, local level initiatives and micro practices of social repair.
In this seminar, we will pay particular attention to local level and survivors processes and actions towards social reconstruction. We will approach memory as cultural practice, as a complex and expressive social field shaped by power relations and in which various social agents struggle for recognition in unequal fields of power. Memory, therefore, will be understood as a field in tension, where gender, race or class inequalities and social exclusions are constructed, reinforced or challenged and transformed. For this end, the seminar is organized around key debates and significant themes in examining the relationships between memory[ies] and social reconstruction.