This book brings together a variety of perspectives to explore the role of literature in the aftermath of political conflict, studying the ways in which writers approach violent conflict and the equally important subject of peace. Essays put insights from Peace and Conflict Studies into dialog with the unique ways in which literature attempts to understand the past, and to reimagine both the present and the future, exploring concepts like truth and reconciliation, post-traumatic memory, historical reckoning, therapeutic storytelling, transitional justice, archival memory, and questions about victimhood and reparation. Drawing on a range of literary texts and addressing a variety of post-conflict societies, this volume charts and explores the ways in which literature attempts to depict and make sense of this new philosophical terrain. As such, it aims to offer a self-conscious examination of literature, and the discipline of literary studies, considering the ability of both to interrogate and explore the legacies of political and civil conflict around the world. The book focuses on the experience of post-Apartheid South Africa, post-Troubles Northern Ireland, and post-dictatorship Latin America. The recent history of these regions, and in particular their acute experience of ethno-religious and civil conflict, make them highly productive contexts in which to begin examining the role of literature in the aftermath of social trauma. Rather than a definitive account of the subject, the collection defines a new field for literary studies, and opens it up to scholars working in other regional and national contexts. To this end, the book includes essays on post-1989 Germany, post-9/11 United States, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sierra Leone, and narratives of asylum seeker/refugee communities. This volume’s comparative frame draws on well-established precedents for thinking about the cultural politics of these regions, making it a valuable resource for scholars of
Table of Contents
Introduction: Post Conflict Literature? Chris Andrews and Matt McGuire Part I. South Africa 1. Truth, Power, and the Role of Literature in Post-Apartheid South Dorothy Driver 2. Confession, Testimony, and the Construction of the Subject in Damon Galgut’s "An African Sermon" and Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden Michelle Kelly 3. Problematizing Truth and Justice: J.M. Coetzee’s Post-apartheid Texts Sue Kossew 4. Culture and Human Rights in Post Conflict South Africa Paul Gready 5. Archiving Mandela: Curating Memory and Visual Auto/biography in the New South Africa Kai Easton 6. From Lyric to Lyric: South African Poetry after Apartheid Jarad Zimbler 7. Haunted Imaginaries: Transition in Nadine Gordimer’s South Africa Tony Simoes da Silva Part II. Northern Ireland 8. Hope, History and Rhyme: Poetry and the Legacy of the Troubles Matt McGuire 9. Representing Memory from Conflict: The Prisons Memory Archive Cahal McLaughlin 10. Egg and Sky: A Phenomenological Reading of Deirdre Madden's One by One in the Darkness Richard Rankin Russell 11. Metaphors and Metonyms: Culture and Education in the Good Friday Agreement Eamonn Hughes 12. Affective States: The Cultural Politics of Optimism in Northern Irish Fiction Caroline Magennis 13. "Absent and yet somehow present": "the Disappeared" in Contemporary Northern Irish Photography and Writing Stefanie Lehner Part III. South America 14. Incomprehensible Crimes, Literature, and the Definition of Enforced Disappearance Claret Vargas 15. Rodrigo Rey Rosa and the Perils of Truth Recovery Chris Andrews 16. The Brazilian Dictatorship and the Amazon: Persistence of a Colonial Model Idelber Avelar 17. From Private to Public Witnessing: Transitional Justice and the Revision of Official Memory of the Dirty War in Argentina Michael Humphrey and Estela Valverde 18. Allegories of Impuni
Chris Andrews is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Sydney, Australia.
Matt McGuire is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Sydney, Australia.