Rechtskulturen Workshop
Tue 15 May 2012 – Thu 17 May 2012

Ethnographic Approaches to Transitional Scenarios: Perspectives from the Global South

Convener: Alejandro Castillejo Cuéllar (Rechtskulturen Fellow 2011-2012)

Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Wallotstr. 19, 14193 Berlin

15 - 17 May 2012

Organized by Rechtskulturen: Confrontations beyond Comparison, and in collaboration with the Africa and latin america Initiative

Convener: Alejandro Castillejo-Cuellar

Rechtskulturen Fellow, Humboldt University/Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin

Associate Professor, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

acastill (at)

This workshop focuses critically on the interplay between expert knowledges, social spaces and particular social and historical contexts as a way to problematize discourses of transitions in which the meanings of society, of change, and of an imagined new future, are mediated, elaborated and socially contested. The analysis of transitional scenarios could benefit from a perspective that pays attention not only to the existential fractures of the life-world in the advent of violence, and its “afterlife”, but also to engage global discourses of reconciliation and forgiveness implemented in different contexts. The workshop will gather scholars working on South Africa, Argentina, Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Germany and Israel.

De-colonizing Transitional Justice: Perspectives from the Global South
Alejandro Castillejo-Cuéllar, Rechtskulturen-Fellow and Associate Professor at the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Presentation 1
The GendeRace of Bureaucratic Torture: Writing Against Identity Politics
Smadar Lavie, University of Minnesota and University College Cork, Ireland
Comments: Heidi Grunebaum, Cape Town

Presentation 2
Downward Mobility, Stories of Suffering and the Ideals of the Argentina Middle Class
Sergio E. Visacovsky, Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social (IDES), Buenos Aires, Argentina
Comments: Mauricio Gaborit

Presentation 3
Forgetting or Remembering? The Role of Historical Memory in Rebuilding Social Fabric in Post-war El Salvador
Mauricio Gaborit, Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas”, El Salvador
Comments: Gabriel Gatti

Presentation 4
Psychology and State Terrorism
Jorge Mario Flores, Universidad Autónoma del Estado Morelos and Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación, Intervención y Atención Psicosocial, México
Comments: Jochen Kemner, Universität Bielefeld

Presentation 5
Crossing over, or from South Africa to Palestine/Israel and back again: The limits and possibilities of first-person narratives for theorising complicit subjectivities
Heidi Grunebaum, Center for Humanities Research, University of Western Cape, South Africa
Comments: Ibrahim Abdullah

Presentation 6
Suffering Traveling Through Time and Space: On Victims and their Transnationalized Images
Gabriel Gatti, Universidad del País Vasco
Comments: Sergio E. Visacovsky

Presentation 7
Is the “Transitional” in Transitional Societies a Neo-Liberal Construct?
Ibrahim Abdullah, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone Comments: Yazier Henri

Presentation 8
What Lessons Can be Learned in Africa from Indigenous/Minority vs. State Relations in Latin America?
Jochen Kemner, Universität Bielefeld
Comments: Jorge Mario Flores

Presentation 9
The Ethics and Morality of Witnessing: On the Politics of Antjie Krog (Samuel), Country of My Skull
Yazier Henry, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan Comments: Smadar Lavie

The Geopolitics of Scientific Cooperation
Barbara Göbel, Director, Ibero-American Institute, Berlin

Final Comments
Estela Schindel, Universität Konstanz

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