After completion of this course, the student:|
A) will be acquainted with the classics and state of the arts literature in the field of transitional justice, political activism, feminist and postcolonial theory;
B) will have built a canon of exemplary artistic works in the field of art and activism;
C) will have been trained to analyze the aesthetical in terms of both the iconic/artistic and the political;
D) will be able to present the acquired knowledge in an academically sufficient manner in both written and oral form.
In recent periods of political transition, coming to terms with the legacies of repression has typically involved establishing a tribunal and/or a truth commission. As Shoshana Felman has pointed out in The Juridical Unconscious (2002), her seminal work on trials and traumas, it is only in the second half of the twentieth century that a transnational shift to conceive of justice not simply as punishment but as a marked symbolic exit from the injuries of traumatic history can be observed. According to Felman, justice has gradually come to mean liberation from violence itself. Nevertheless, trials and truth commissions risk reenacting the traumas they try to end in subtle and invisible ways. Drawing from Felman and other feminist theories concerning the conceptualization of revolution and revolt, this course explores how the arts have the medium-specific potential to transcend the mandates of tribunals and truth commissions as instruments of transitional justice. We will address art’s particular ability to perform and work through destabilizing encounters. Students will be trained to demonstrate that art is able to unveil the differences within the categories of victims and perpetrators and has the capacity to function as the producer of differentiated theories of change. Crucial to this process of re-signification is the realization that current global power relations are intrinsically linked with multidirectional histories of oppression and violence. Although we can not break with this heritage, art can help us to draw new perspectives for the future.|
The course trains students to combine theory and activism. Feminist and postcolonial theory will be applied to cultural and political activism in such a way that academy (research), culture (festivals, expositions, installations, performances), and politics (NGOs) may benefit from the knowledge produced in this course.
Open to students enrolled in the RMA Gender Sudies and GEMMA; students from Musicology, CLS and MAPS should check with the course coordinator before enrolling.