Alejandro Castillejo-Cuéllar

Associate Professor and Director of the Critical Studies Program on Political Transitions, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. He also takes part of the international projects "Building Inclusive Societies with Young People in 5 Post-Conflict Countries" funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (England) and "Desapariciones. Estudio en perspectiva transnacional de una categoría para gestionar, habitar y analizar la catástrofe social y la pérdida (Ministry of Economy, Spain). He is currently working on the book "After the Traces of the Body : Ethno-phonies, In(materialities), and the Sensory Life of the Missing in Colombia".

Narrative, spatiality and the itinerant certification of collective pain in Colombia’s search for the missing

In this presentation I would like to explore the ways in which the narratives of violence in Colombia, particularly in the context of the legal process that administered the demobilization of former paramilitaries, emerged through the connection between a series of procedures that sought to territorialize and localize the social experience of injury and harm. The text draws partly from my work as an ethnographer of transitional scenarios (understood broadly as technologies of change) and is part of a larger effort to understand the different and contentious registers in which collective pain dwells socially and the multiplicity of languages (technological, aesthetical, subjective, etc.) that a society has at hand in order to apprehend it. This text is also part of a book in progress “after the traces of the Body : Ethnophonies, In(materialities), and the Sensory Life of the Missing in Colombia”.

Elisa von Joeden-Forgey

Elisa von Joeden-Forgey is the Dr. Marsha Raticoff Grossman Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University in New Jersey, Director of the graduate Genocide Prevention Certificate Program, and President of Genocide Watch. She is also on the editorial board of Genocide Studies International and former First Vice President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. She earned her BA in History from Columbia University and a PhD degree in modern German and African history from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2010 and 2011 Dr. von Joeden-Forgey was a workshop coordinator for the Raphael Lemkin Program in Genocide Prevention hosted by the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation in Krakow and Oswiecim, Poland. Her current research on race, gender and genocide has appeared in the Journal of Genocide Studies and Prevention, the Oxford Handbook on Genocide, New Directions in Genocide Research, Genocide : A Bibliographic Review, Hidden Genocide : Power, Knowledge and Memory, and the recent collected volumes Reconstructing Atrocity Prevention, Economic Aspects of Genocide, Mass Killing, and Their Prevention, and Women and Genocide : Survivors, Victims, Perpetrators. She is currently completing a book on gender and the prevention of genocide that will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Human Security from the Grassroots : Power, History, & the Dialogic Imagination (or A New Approach to Genocide Prevention)

In this presentation I will examine some of the prevalent assumptions about genocide prevention in the world today with reference to the genealogies of praxis that undergird them, specifically the contradictions within nineteenth and twentieth-century forms of humanitarianism, and how these assumptions have led us to a situation of political deadlock in which we are left without models of agency as mass atrocity unfolds around us. As a response to the political deadlock, I will suggest a dialogic approach to human security and long-term genocide prevention that engages concepts drawn from the fields of peacemaking, radical public health, reproductive justice, and critical pedagogy.

Bertrand Taithe

Bertrand Taithe is professor of Cultural History at the University of Manchester. He directs the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the same university. He has written extensively on the history of medicine and war, humanitarianism and charity. He is currently completing a monograph entitled : the Humanitarians a History.

Unreliable Witnesses ? Humanitarian evidence and narratives.
This paper wishes to examine how humanitarians have engaged with the concept of genocide and, on occasion announced or denounced genocides. Working on the examples of Biafra, Cambodia under Vietnamese occupation (1979-1989) in particular this paper examines how humanitarians have invested in the concept of genocide to found their own legal and historical relevance and legitimacy. Taking two examples of ’not quite genocides’ enables us to explore how humanitarians worked from the incomplete evidence of field work to attempt to establish a meaningful picture of events taking place in difficult to reach war zones. As the only witnesses humanitarians have played a key part as mediators of atrocities - yet their evidence sometimes fail to reach legal or historical standards of truth. Other case studies with which the paper will conclude (Bosnia and Rwanda) showed that as NGOs matured in the 1990s so did their understanding of the historical significance of denouncing genocide.