The perpetrator is among the myriad subjects constituted within the history of colonial and Eurocentric nation-state formation. The nation-building process constitutes perpetrators, alongside citizens, enemies, refugees, natives, and others. The construction of the perpetrator-ruler is inseparable from the specific histories that produce the pre-perpetrator subjects who struggle to attain rule within a new state.
How does the biography of the postcolonial nation-state appear to peoples who live in its neocolonized margins in the present? ‘Postcolonial condition’ has mostly been examined by scholars from global metropoles, from within postcolonial-national centers, or in diaspora. The spatial and political location of this critical scholarship is structured by the disjunctive as well as the dialogic arc posited between the former colonizers and the formerly colonized-now multiply situated subjects. While this location produces invaluable insights into the unacknowledged forms of experience and knowledge within the postcolony, as well as re-inscribes the constitutive heterogeneity of the postcolonial publics,
In his work, “I was not there”, Raul Hilberg (1988), writes about the dilemma facing Holocaust historians: “I have had to reconstruct the process of destruction in my mind combining the documents into paragraphs, the paragraphs into chapters, the chapters into book… I had no anxieties about artistic failure. Now, I have been told that I have indeed succeeded. And that is a cause of some worry…” This paper is an attempt to deal with that “worry”- the inability of social sciences to fully
Transactions in counter-memory amplify the bodily history of unknown graves and death-bound subjects (JanMohamed, 2005) in contemporary Kashmir. The talk explores networks of individual and communitarian remembrances and sensory memory, honoring the transformative, decolonial scope of the task performed by Atta Mohammad of Baramulla District. In June 2008, Mohammad, then 68, testified to his work as a gravedigger and caretaker of unknown graves at Chehal Bimyar and to burying 203 bodies on a hillside adjacent to the Jhelum river between 2002-2006.
In the ‘minefields’ of partitioned landscapes, contemplating one’s fieldwork, unless retroactively, is a luxury—for leaving the ‘minefield’ alive is, literally, one of the supreme research objectives. Ironically, while fieldwork within historic Palestine minimizes the proximity between life and death, the work in cemeteries—as morbid as it could be—instigates two songs of life: hope and freedom. This talk narrates some of the empirical serendipities of my project, The Palestinian Living Cemetery, through which ‘hope’ and ‘freedom’ are qualified anew.