Gender, Transitional Justice and Memorial Arts : Global Perspectives on Commemoration and Mobilization book cover
1st Edition

Gender, Transitional Justice and Memorial Arts
Global Perspectives on Commemoration and Mobilization

ISBN 9781032005072
Published May 18, 2021 by Routledge
290 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book examines the role of post-conflict memorial arts in bringing about gender justice in transitional societies.

Art and post-violence memorialisation are currently widely debated. Scholars of human rights and of commemorative arts discuss the aesthetics and politics not only of sites of commemoration, but of literature, poetry, visual arts and increasingly, film and comics. Art, memory and activism are also increasingly intertwined. But within the literature around post-conflict transitional justice and critical human rights studies, there is little questioning about what memorial arts do for gender justice, how women and men are included and represented, and how this intertwines with other questions of identity and representation, such as race and ethnicity. The book brings together research from scholars around the world who are interested in the gendered dimensions of memory-making in transitional societies. Addressing a global range of cases, including genocide, authoritarianism, civil war, electoral violence and apartheid, they consider not only the gendered commemoration of past violence, but also the possibility of producing counter-narratives that unsettle and challenge established stereotypes.

Aimed at those interested in the fields of transitional justice, memory studies, post-conflict peacebuilding, human rights and gender studies, this book will appeal to academics, researchers and practitioners.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Feminist Understandings of Memorial Arts and Symbolic Reparations

Jelke Boesten and Helen Scanlon

Part I Sites of Commemoration

2. A Feminist Reading of Sites of Commemoration in Peru

Jelke Boesten

3. Gender, Genocide and Memorialisation in Namibia

Penahole Brock and Ester Muinjangue

4. Gender and Memory: Lessons from the Gukurahundi Massacre in Zimbabwe

Nompilo Ndlovu

5. Memory Politics and the Emergence of a Women’s Sphere to Counter Historical Violence in Korea

Seong Nae Kim

6. Calling everything into question: the place of black women in post-1994 South African commemoration

Yvette Hutchison

Part II Arts and Symbolic Reparation

7. Genocide & Epistemicide: Symbolic and Restorative Justice Beyond South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission

June Bam-Hutchison

8. Do Symbolic Reparations in Brazil Help Women to Escape from Silence and to Transform Their Lives?

Lucia Elena Arantes Ferreira Bastos and Inês Virgínia Prado Soares

9. Fabricating Reconciliation in Canada

Rachel Kerr

10. Women Awake: Gender and Commemoration in Contemporary Ireland

Michelle LeBaron

11. Touching Pain: The Matrixial Experience of Trauma in Works by Doris Salcedo

Margarita Saona

Part III Transformative Gender Justice?

12. Memories of Violence Against Women and Girls across borders: Transformative gender justice through the arts among Brazilian women migrants in London

Cathy McIlwaine

13. Theatre for Transformative Gender Justice: A Comparison of Three Peruvian Plays on Rape during Political Violence

Alexandra Hibbett

14. "The Past is in the Present and Noone Seems Responsible for Putting it There": Gender, Memory And Mobilisation In Post-Apartheid South Africa

Helen Scanlon


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Jelke Boesten is Professor  in Gender and Development, Department of International Development (DID), King's College London.

Helen Scanlon is the convenor of the Justice and Transformation programme in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa.


"Congratulations to the authors -As a feminist practitioner of transitional justice, I am excited about the contribution that Gender, Transitional Justice and Memorial Arts will make to the evolution of ‘memory’ a neglected area in this field as a tool for transformative justice. The book provides a feminist critique of commemorative practices through cases studies on sites of commemoration, symbolic reparations from a gendered perspective. The book catalogues the comparative struggles of feminists to combat impunity for femicide in Latin America beginning with the murder of Mexican poet Susanna Chavez Castillo-we then journey to Sub-saharan Africa where the murder of the young student Uyinene Mrwetyana set alight protests all over the country. The book also highlights the forgotten plight and struggles of the Comfort Women in South Korea for both recognition and reparations from the Japanese government. The authors find inspiration in feminist collective activism against gendered violence drawing upon injustices of the past and point to how contemporary struggles for women’s rights and autonomy are must be rooted in intersectionality against postcolonial inequalities and heteronormativity that impact marginalised group including LGBTQ communities, ethnic minorities and indigenous people."

Yasmin Sooka is a leading international expert in the field of Transitional Justice and currently Chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. She is a Former Commissioner of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone