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Seminario di Dipartimento (SeRiC): Glocal Spaces Lost in Translation: an Ethnographic Reading of Communal Genocide Monuments in Cambodia

21/11/2016 dalle 15:00 alle 17:00

Dove Sala Rossa, via Azzo Gardino 23

Partecipanti Carol A. Kidron - Department of Anthropology, University of Haifa

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As part of the contemporary conceptualization of memorialization of difficult pasts as a human right and global imperative, recent decades have witnessed the circulation of Euro-western commemorative forms in non-Western post-genocide societies. Be it genocide museum exhibits or commemorative monuments, architects and museologists have attempted to syncretically weave local culturally particular symbolic motifs with Euro-Western aesthetic commemorative forms. The outcome often appears at first glance to represent a hybrid product of glocalization in the global commemorative landscape, effectively translating particular local conceptions of loss, mourning and collective memory into a universally shared semiotics and mnemonic aesthetics. However, echoing the challenge of other forms of cultural translation, Euro-Western commemorative forms of representation may be incongruent with culturally particular worldviews and the way in which local ethos objectify (or resist objectifying) the past. The scholarship on genocide commemoration, primarily in the fields of culture studies or museology, has explored the crisis of representation, the re-presentation of absence or national hegemonic politics of memory. This lecture will suggest that in contrast, anthropological perspectives may isolate the limits of translation pointing to local ethos that may have been lost in translation. Moving beyond questions of design, ethnographic research may also evaluate local responses to commemorative sites in order to determine if and how these ‘traveling’ models of global of commemoration have been effectively grounded in the local cultural terrain. This lecture will present ethnographic data on communal sites of genocide in Cambodia. Moving off the beaten track, commemorative ‘stupas’ located in village Wats (Buddhist compounds) will be discussed as potentially incongruent hybrid cultural products of glocal memorialization.

Bio
Carol A. Kidron is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Haifa, Israel. Kidron has undertaken comparative ethnographic work with Holocaust descendants in Israel and children of Cambodian genocide survivors in Cambodia and Canada. She has focused on the interface between private and public Holocaust and Genocide memory work in Israel, Canada and Cambodia, aiming primarily to re-conceptualize trauma descendant lived memory of difficult pasts as silent intersubjective embodied and emotive presence. Kidron has examined ways in which universalizing epistemological frames (psychological illness construct of PTSD, Genocide Studies, Culture Studies (trauma theory) Human Rights and the more recent moral anthropology) discursively elide the private and familial experience of presence while facilitating the public appropriation and translation of private memory into either public niches of domesticated representation of lived memory or ‘dead’ forms of politicized absence. Beyond her interest in personal and collective Holocaust and Genocide commemoration, Kidron's more recent research examines the glocalization of discourses on justice and reconciliation, victimhood, and memory in post-conflict societies. Her present field work in Cambodia explores processes of localization and friction in local-global encounters and the multi-layered responses to hegemonically imposed memorialization, organic forms of genocide commemoration and atrocity tourism.  Kidron’s publications include: "Surviving a Distant Past" (Ethos 2003), “Toward an Ethnography of Silence: The Lived Presence of the Past in the Everyday Life of Holocaust Trauma Survivors and Their Descendants in Israel” (Current Anthropology 2009), "Embracing the Lived Memory of Genocide" (American Ethnologist, 2010), “Alterity and the Particular Limits of Universalism: Comparing Jewish-Israeli Holocaust and Canadian-Cambodian Genocide Legacies” (Current Anthropology, 2012) and "Being There Together: Dark Family Tourism and the Emotive Experience of Co-presence in the Holocaust Past" (Annals of Tourism Research 2013).