Memory and Countermemory: A Feminst Framework for the Politics of Memory Following Political Violence

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 356 (University of Glasgow)
Candice Ortbals , Pepperdine University
Lori M Poloni-Staudinger , Politics and International Affairs, Northern Arizona University
This paper focuses on gendered memory as related to Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) terrorism in the Basque Country of Spain and applies a framework for a feminist analysis of political memory to the Basque case.  We propose a conceptualization of political memory as it relates to gender and terrorism, an under-theorized and examined area of international relations and gender research.  We theorize and investigate modes of memory that construct gender identities, analyzing whether/how women are empowered in the representation of memory and whether/how political memory related to terrorism is gendered while also examining the ways in which memory is politicized following terrorism and conflict.  The reasons why a new conceptualization of gendered memory is needed are three-fold.  First, memory is socially constructed and therefore transmits gender constructions. As such, it is necessary to find out who is constructing memory and how.  Secondly, memory is always contentious, and while feminists can create countermemory that challenges the patriarchal status quo, scholars cannot know what a feminist countermemory would look like without further investigation. Third, memory is meant to influence current and future generations, particularly important in post-conflict situations; thus, it is a potential mode of social change and gender transformation. Our data include fieldwork, interviews, newspaper articles, and secondary sources.  We use secondary cases where appropriate to illustrate the framework and provide a comparison point to our Basque case.
  • Contested Memory of Political Violence_Poloni_Ortbals.pdf (695.4 kB)