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Spectres of Justice: The Aesthetics of Dealing with Violent Pasts (28-30 May 2015)

International Conference of the Research Network

Re-Configurations. History, Rememberance and Transformation Processes in the Middle East & North Africa


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.

Conference Spectres of Justice Picture big


Please see here for the programme.

Please note the guided tour on 28 May at 14.00h at the conference venue by Timothy Williams:

'Entering the Tiger  Zone - how normal people became Khmer Rouge'
A photographic-academic exhibition on cadres of the Khmer Rouge by Daniel Welschenbach and Timothy Williams



The confernce is open to external participants. For registration please send an email to the conference address stating your name and your institution: cnms-soj@Staff.Uni-Marburg.de.

Travel & Accomodation

Venue: the conference will take place in the historcial Town Hall at the Market Square in the centre of town. Click here to view a map.

Airport: the closest airport is Frankfurt (FRA), an easy to reach hub in Europe.

Train: trains runs frequently from Frankfurt Central Station or other German cities to Marburg, the journey takes about 1h. Please visit the Deutsche Bahn English website for more information.

Accomodation: for an overview see the Marburg Tourist Information


Re-Configurations Network

This conference is part of the activities of the Re-Configurations research network at the University of Marburg. The network—“Re-Configurations: History, Remembrance and Transformation Processes in the Middle East and North Africa”—was founded by the University of Marburg in the spring of 2013 with funding from the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF). Its founding was triggered by the developments in the MENA region commonly subsumed under the term “Arab Spring” which highlighted the need for a partial re-assessment of scholarship on MENA countries, for developing new perspectives, and deepening our understanding of the events unfolding in the region, their underlying reasons, historic roots, and future perspectives. In order to systematically analyse these ongoing transformations in the region we have identified four research fields: History from below, Re-configurations of cultural memory, Political transformations and transitional justice, Transregional entanglements.

Please see here for more details Website Re-Configurations


Organising Committee

Dr. Jamal Bahmad, Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bonacker (Sociology), Prof. Dr. Susanne Buckley-Zistel (Peace and Conflict Studies), Prof. Dr. Malte Hagener (Film and Media Studies), Dr. Felix Lang, Prof. Dr. Anika Oettler, Prof. Dr. Rachid Ouaissa (Politics), Prof. Dr. Friederike Pannewick (Arabic Literature and Culture), Dr. Dominik Pfeiffer, Dr. Achim Rohde, Mariam Salehi, Alena Strohmaier.

Contact: cnms-soj@Staff.Uni-Marburg.de

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Zuletzt aktualisiert: 04.08.2015 · Roessne2

Zentrum für Konfliktforschung

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