Photo of Kwibuka Flame memorial to genocide survivors

Sites of Reckoning Symposium: Memorials, Museums & Fractured Truth(s) in the Aftermaths of Mass Violence. March 5-6, 2020

Georgia State University, Downtown Atlanta
Symposium, March 5-6, 2020

Optional field trip to National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum, Montgomery, Alabama. March 7, 2020

Organizers

Georgia State University

Jennie Burnet, Associate Professor of Global Studies & Anthropology

Ruth Stanford, Associate Professor of Sculpture

Jelena Subotic, Professor of Political Science

New York University & Rutgers University-Newark

Natasha Zaretsky, Senior Lecturer, New York University and Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights

Memorials and museums commemorating victims of mass violence, war, and genocide have long served as important spaces for societies to grapple with trauma and loss. Indeed, historically, they have served as important sites for truth telling and accounting for past violence. However, over the past half-century, they have proliferated, taking on increasingly global forms that have also become vehicles for emotional transformation – sites of reckoning for citizens and states. This symposium seeks to highlight these patterns of memorialization by interrogating the ways local artistic, cultural, and aesthetic particularities are imbricated with transnational influences, as they appear through aesthetic, functional, and narrative formations.

This two-day symposium scheduled for March 5-6, 2020 at Georgia State University will bring together a distinguished group of U.S. and international scholars to consider memorials and museums as important sites for truth telling and accounting for past violence. It will also explore how these sites narrate violent histories in particular ways—privileging some truths over others—and with distinct intents. The ongoing controversies about removing Confederate statues across the US – and especially in the South – are obvious examples of these dilemmas. In addition, we have planned an optional field trip on Saturday, March 7, 2020 to visit The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration in Montgomery, Alabama.

Drawing on a multidisciplinary approach, this symposium will examine the social, political, historical, and economic factors engaged at memorial sites and museums as sites of reckoning with unquiet pasts. To this end, symposium participants will also come from a variety of academic disciplines (Anthropology, Art, Communication, Cultural Studies, Media Studies, Political Science, and others), and will also include artists and practitioners.

We have confirmed the keynote speaker, James E. Young, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor Emeritus and Founding Director, Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Professor Young is one of the world’s leading experts on memorial sites, and someone whose work has been pioneering in establishing this line of scholarly inquiry. Professor Young’s presentation will reflect on memorial art, loss, and the spaces in between by comparing memorial production processes at major memorial sites in New York, Berlin, and Norway.

We have also confirmed the following participants:

  • Nicola Brandt, Art.D., multi-media artist, Namibia
  • Jennie Burnet, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Global Studies & Anthropology, Georgia State University
  • Nitin Sawhney, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Media Studies, The New School
  • Ruth Stanford, M.F.A., Associate Professor of Sculpture, Georgia State University
  • Brent Steele, Ph.D. Worthmuth Presidential Chair and Professor of Political Science, University of Utah
  • Marita Sturken, Ph.D., Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University
  • Jelena Subotic, PH.D., Professor of Political Science, Georgia State University
  • Natasha Zaretsky, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, New York University and Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, Rutgers University

See the full call for papers here. Deadline for submitting abstracts is November 11, 2019.

Sponsored by: Georgia State University Global Studies Institute, College of the Arts, Welch School of Art & Design, Center for Human Rights & Democracy, Department of Political Science, Humanities Research Center, and the Atlanta Global Studies Center.

Symposium Schedule

Download Schedule (PDF)

Location: Georgia State University, Downtown Campus, Atlanta, Georgia

 

Saturday, March 7, 2020

We have arranged an optional field trip to the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration in Montgomery, Alabama on Saturday March 7. The cost of the field trip is $60.00 ($50 for GSU faculty, staff, and students), including transportation and admission fees. The schedule for the trip is as follows:

8:00 am Depart GSU Campus

10:30 am Arrive

10:30-11:30 am Memorial Site Visit

11:30-12:30 pm Lunch Break

12:30-2pm Museum Visit

2 pm Return to Atlanta

5 pm Arrive Atlanta

Register for the field trip

Hotel Accommodations

Ellis Hotel, Atlanta, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel / $158 per night (Plus tax and fee).

Contact Troy B. Kicklighter, Director of Rooms & Reservations: O. 678-651-2779 / F. 404-525-7872 E. TKicklighter@EllisHotel.com