Colloque international : « Spectres of Justice : The Aesthetics of Dealing with Violent Pasts » — Université de Marburg, Allemagne, 28-30/05/2015

Conference Spectres of Justice Picture big

In the ever broadening field of transitional justice studies, the arts have received scant attention. Yet, it is frequently artists, authors and intellectuals who are to be found at the forefront of civil society efforts to come to terms with a troubled past. Be it in Serbia, Lebanon, Cambodia, Argentina or South Africa, literature, film, theatre, visual arts, music and popular culture are deeply marked by the violent conflicts of the past and the present. While individual pieces of work have been the subject of academic inquiry in a number of disciplines, the relations of cultural production to processes of transitional justice have hardly been explored.

On the one hand, artists, authors and filmmakers intervene in political debates on the past by creating spaces of potentiality and ambiguity which contrast with the judicial and documentary aspects of transitional justice and their focus on establishing consensual truths. On the other hand, narrative conventions and aesthetic forms shape the discourse of transitional justice and human rights as well as the implementation of specific instruments such as truth commissions or tribunals. By examining transitional justice as a cultural form and enquiring into the role of art and literature in phases of socio-political transition, this conference seeks to elucidate the interconnections and exchanges between these two spheres.

The conference aims to investigate specific cultural products and situate them in their respective social and historical context. It will consider how notions of truth, justice, reconciliation and memory are constructed in works of art and literature, by the authors and artists, and in the reception of these works and artists in the media. Finally it will explore how this wider discourse on and practice of transitional justice is in turn shaped by cultural production.

The confernce is organised by the research network Re-Configurations. History, Remembrance and Transformation Processes in the Middle East and North Africa at the CNMS, the Turning Points research groups (funded by DFG/Leipzig) and the Center for Conflict Studies.

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