Spatialities of Exception, Violence, and Memory

Spatialities of Exception, Violence, and Memory

Research Group "Narratives of Terror and Disappearance", Universität Konstanz - European Research Council; Research Groups “Philosophy after the Holocaust” and “The politics of memory in contemporary Spain”, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales/Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales
Vom - Bis
01.02.2012 - 03.02.2012
Dr. Estela Schindel

In the last decades we have witnessed an increased academic interest in questions related to trauma and memory, as well as the social, political and philosophical implications of the systematic massacres of the twentieth century. This research field has more recently started to established a dialogue with the problematic of space: The wide international reception of Pierre Nora’s notion of 'lieux de mémoire' –even though it’s difficult to extrapolate to extra-European contexts and tends to an essentialistic approach to national places- is itself testimony to a widespread interest in crossing these two analytical dimensions. At the same time, in the context of the so called “spatial turn”, geographers, space theorists, and architects are working more and more towards characterizing contemporary cartographies and topographies of exclusion, exception and State violence, while paying more attention to the spatial manifestations of trauma and memory. The task of creating bridges between both theoretical movements opens up a new highly relevant research field. The main goal of this conference is to offer a frame for the collective development of this thought, reflecting on the necessary links between the critical space theory and the comprehension of the exception regimes and their trauma and traces.

What kind of spatialities do authoritarian regimes generate and what are their effects on the daily experience of space? What consequences does the notion of camp, as nomos of the modern politics (Agamben), have on our conception and experience of space? What are the localizations and effects of the archipelagos of exception (Weizman) upon contemporary geographies and how can we account for them? How are the spaces related to terror and exception represented and imagined in the cultural productions during and after terror regimes? What traces do State crimes leave on space and how can the so called post-traumatic architecture or the forensic architecture adequately inform of them? What kind of spatial practices are produced around the sites related to disappearances or state terrorism? And what spaces of resistance, justice or hope (Harvey) arise among these new cartographies of violence?

The conference will gather together scholars from Argentina, the Basque Country, Colombia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Mexico, Israel, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the USA. It will be transmited live by videostreaming.

Information and Registration:

Scientific Committee:
Reyes Mate – Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
Kirsten Mahlke - University of Konstanz/European Research Council
Francisco Ferrándiz - Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Concept and Coordination:
MA Pamela Colombo (
Dr. Estela Schindel (

Supported by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Acción Complementaria FFI2011-14371-E ) and the European Research Council (ERC), with the kind support of the Max Planck Research Prize/Geschichte+Gedächtnis (University of Konstanz)


Wednesday, February 1st
Residencia de Estudiantes (C/Pinar 21, Madrid)

19.00 – 21.00
Inaugural Lecture
Chair: Reyes Mate (CCHS-CSIC)

Aleida Assmann (Universität Konstanz): The transformative power of memory
Jay Winter (University of Yale): Faces, voices, and the shadow of catastrophe

Thursday, February 2nd
Centre of Human and Social Science (CSIC)
Calle Albasanz, 26-28. 28037, Madrid.

9.30 – 10.00 Registration

10.00 – 11.00
Welcoming: José Antonio Zamora (CCHS-CSIC)
Opening: Pamela Colombo (CCHS-CSIC) and Estela Schindel (ERC – Universität Konstanz)
Introduction: Kirsten Mahlke (Universität Konstanz): Approaches to terror spaces

11.00 –11. 30 Coffee break

11. 30 – 13.30
Panel I - The traces of annihilation in landscapes: inscriptions and absences

James Tyner (Geography. Kent University, USA): Violent erasures and erasing violence: Making the Cambodian genocide visible
Zuzanna Dziuban (Adam Mickiewicz University): Landscapes of
Traumatic Memory in Contemporary Poland: The Politics of Framing

13.30 – 15.00 Lunch

15.00 - 17.00
Panel II - Actors, territories and spaces in process of political violence

Gabriel Gatti (Universidad del País Vasco): The overwhelming spatiality of the victim. Notes to countercurrent thinking of a weak identity
Alejandro Castillejo Cuéllar (Universidad de los Andes): Towards the body traces: space, confession and the places of law
Francisco Ferrándiz (CCHS – CSIC): Mass graves, landscapes of terror

17.00 – 17.30 Coffee Break

17.30 – 19.00
Eyal Weizman (Goldsmiths, University of London): Violent surfaces: the texture of the laws of war

Friday, February 3rd
Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales (CSIC)

10.00 – 11.30
Panel III – Spatial representations of disappearance and exception

Juan Mayorga (CCHS-CSIC): Theatrical representations of spaces of exception
Mariana Eva Pérez (Universität Konstanz): The ‘family’ home in the dramaturgy about the disappearance of children in Argentina

11.30 – 12.00 Coffee break

12.00 – 13.30
Panel IV – Space and monstrosity

Silvana Mandolessi (Constance University): Haunted houses, horror literature and the space of memory in Argentine Postdictatorship literature
Meltem Ahıska (University of Istanbul): Monumentality, monstrosity, and counter-memory: A case study from Turkey

13.30 – 15.00 Lunch

15.00 – 17.30
Panel V – Spaces of exception: power and resistances

David Harvey (City University of New York): Memory, that powerful political force (videorecorded contribution)
Stavros Stavrides (National Technical University of Athens): Emancipating spatial practices in struggle against the urban "state of exception": Towards the "city of thresholds"?
Pilar Calveiro (Universidad Autónoma de Puebla): Spaces of exception

17.30-18.00 Coffee break

18.00 -19.00 Final discussion

The conference will be transmited live per videostreaming: or


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Land Veranstaltung
Sprach(en) der Veranstaltung
Englisch, Spanisch
Sprache der Ankündigung