Rechtskulturen Colloquium
Mon 19 Dec 2011 | 17:00–19:00

Domesticating the Word: Truth, endemic silence and the articulations of a violent past

Alejandro Castillejo Cuéllar (Rechtskulturen Fellow); Comments: Paul Bornkamm (Berlin), Christian Tomuschat (Berlin)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Juristische Fakultät, Room E 25, Unter den Linden 9, 10099 Berlin

"This talk explores the role that the articulation of a violent past, through different mechanisms, has in creating or reinforcing not only diverse forms of historical silence but also different ways of engaging the prospect of an imagined new society. In this sense, the paper mainly deals with these questions in a series of transitional scenarios (South Africa, Colombia, and to a lesser extent Peru) in which testimonies of war were part of larger truth-seeking process.
Despite their differences (historically and sociologically), there is an element that, it seems to me, they all share, a 'pattern that connects' them. In trying to grasp the multiple dimensions of violence, the collective languages instituted by State sponsored laws failed to render intelligible the structural dimensions of violence that are at the root of conflict itself. I call this blind spot structural or endemic silence: a violence that is rendered invisible, in spite of its immediacy, at the very moment of its enunciation in language.In identifying these tensions in concrete contexts is essential for grasping how individual people and broader communities interconnect with larger historical processes in order to recreate a future." (Alejandro Castillejo Cuéllar)

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