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Workshop 2

Corporealities of Violence in Southern Africa  2013

Social Anthropology & Centre of African Studies, Edinburgh, U.K.

4th-6th September 2013

This second workshop will focus on how human bodies are not only often the means and target of violence in a diversity of forms, and therefore transformed by it in a myriad of ways, but also how human corporealities are often at the centre of what often follows violence: including refugee displacements, and subsequent movements and ‘returns’; medicalization, documentation, and sometimes incarceration; as well as acts of burial, mourning, and commemoration; and forensic examinations and exhumations for (often elusive) processes of ‘transitional justice’, ‘reconciliation’ and ‘healing’.

Taking the transformations, interferences and flows of bodies and bodily substances animating violence and its consequences as its central problematic, it will seek to explore the convergences and discontinuities of different forms of individual and orchestrated violence, encompassing political and social violence alongside torture, intimate partner violence, rape and broader forms of structural or institutionalised violence.


Programme    (click here to download programme) 

 

Day 1: Wednesday 4th September 2013: Writing workshop day

9 – 9.30 Introduction& Welcome (Joost Fontein)

9.30 – 10.30 Editors panel ‘Getting published’ (Sara Dorman, Paul Nugent, Joost Fontein)

10.30 – 11.00 Coffee

11.00 -1.00pm Breakout session begins 

1pm  – 2pm Lunch

2 – 3.30pm Breakout session continues.

3.30 – 4pm Tea

4 – 5.30pm Keynote address: Nicky Rousseau: Another story of an African farm: the search for remains at Post Chalmers, Cradock.

5.30 onwards CAS BRAAI

 

Day 2: Thursday 5th September 2013: Research workshop

9 – 10.30am Keynote address : Paul Lane: Brutal murders, colonial skull-duggery and post-colonial neglect:  the case of the Mau Mau bones in the museum cupboard

10 .30– 11 Coffee

11 – 12.30 Panel 1: Post violence: traces, burials and human remains (co-organised with ERC research programme Corpses of Mass violence and Genocide)

Laura Major - The (un)lovely Bones: Exhuming and reburying human remains in Rwanda

Ina Jahn and Matthew Wilhem-Solomon - ‘Bones in the Wrong Soil’: Reburial, Belonging and Disinterred Cosmologies in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda.

Matthew Wilhem-Solomon – ‘We hear them dancing on the roof’: Spectral Structures and Violent traces in Inner-city Johannesburg

12.30 - 1.30pm Lunch

1.30 – 3.30 Panel 2: Post violence: spirits, ghosts and traumas

Leila Bright – Avenging Spirits of the Dead, accountability and Political Violence in Zimbabwe

Liz Ravalde – Pentecostal Bodies and Post-War Recovery: Rethinking “Local” vs. “Global” Debates in Uganda through Pentecostalism 

Frederica Guglielmo – Medicalising Violence: Technologies of diagnosis in post-genocide Rwanda

3.30 – 4 Tea

4 -5.30 Panel 3: Criminalities, security and public ordering

Bianca van Laun - Captured Bodies: Investigating the visual representation of the Paarl march and Poqo

Tessa Diphoorn   - “It’s all about the body”: Cultivating Force Capital to Claim Sovereign Power in Durban, South Africa

T. Nyamunda – From a popular to an absolutist, panoptic State: The makings and meanings of the 1997/8 protests and the government’s violent response in Harare, Zimbabwe

7pm – Workshop dinner


Day 3: Friday 6th September 2013: Research workshop

9 – 10.30am Keynote address: Steffen Jensen

10.30 - 11am Coffee

11am – 1pm Panel 4: Migration and gendered violence in South Africa

Kirsten Thomson – Exploring the tangibility and realness of the continuous experience of trauma on community health care workers in South Africa

Mara  Mattoscio - Victims or negotiators? Violence against women’s bodies in South African fiction and filmic adaptations

Nataly Woollett – Fragmentation and disconnection: linking HIV, gender based violence (GBV) and health in the South African context

1pm - 2pm Lunch

2pm - 3pm Summing up & close


Format: DAY 1 writing/publishing workshop: The first day of the conference will be a writing and publishing workshop. We will have a session led by journal editors focusing on writing and getting published. There after the participants will break out into smaller group sessions, according to their panels for the next day, each led by one our keynote speakers. Each participant must have read the papers of the other participants in their group/panel before hand. It is therefore important that participants will have circulated their papers to their group members and to their ‘keynote speaker’ in advance. Deadline for papers to be submitted for circulation: 1st August 2013

DAYS 2&3 Research workshop: Keynotes will have 90 min sessions, 45 min for the papers & 45 min discussions. Participants will have 20 minutes (maximum) to present their papers, the rest of their time will be for discussions.

 

Locations & Rooms:

Most of the events will take place in the McEwan Hall Reception Room (booked for 4th, 5th and 6th September between 08:30-17:30) – See no. 35 on map on next page

See:

http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/registry/timetabling/bookable-rooms/bookable-rooms?rid=1.300&fid=01&bid=113&cw_xml=Room_info.cfm

 

For the breakout sessions: 3 small meeting rooms (rms 3, 4 and 5, on those floors) have been booked in the CMB, 15a George Square (no. 38 on map on next page)

Accommodation: most delegates will be staying at the Kenneth Mackenzie, on Richmond Place (between no. 27 & 29 on map on next page)

See: http://www.edinburghfirst.co.uk/for-accommodation/kenneth-mackenzie

 

Braai: The braai on Wednesday (4th) evening will take place in the garden at 21 George Square, which can be accessed from the lane behind George Square. Bring your own booze, and anything else you particularly fancy.

Dinner on Thursday (5th) will be at 7.30pm, at the Nile Valley Cafe, (again bring your own booze).

see: https://plus.google.com/112387781755065606620/about?gl=uk&hl=en

 

 

 

Keynote abstracts

 

Paul J. Lane (Professor of Global Archaeology, Department of Archaeology & Ancient History, Uppsala University, Sweden. e-mail: paul.lane@arkeologi.uu.se)

Brutal murders, colonial skull-duggery and post-colonial neglect: the case of the Mau Mau bones in the museum cupboard

The National Museums of Kenya (NMK) holds a reference collection of human skeletal material that includes the remains of just over 480 individuals. The collection is currently housed in the Osteology Department at the Nairobi Museum, which is also the headquarters of NMK. Additional human remains from excavated archaeological sites are also held by the Archaeology Department elsewhere in the Nairobi Museum. As is common with excavated skeletons, these latter examples are of varying completeness. However, this is also true of the reference collection and in fact none of the reference specimens are actually complete (i.e. comprised of the full range of cranial and post-cranial elements). Skulls, several of which are missing their lower mandibles, form the most common component of the reference collection. Post-cranial elements are far less numerous. Despite such limitations, the collection is far more comprehensive than those that exist elsewhere in the region, such as in the national museums of Tanzania and Uganda, and as such is a valuable resource for scholars from a variety of disciplines including archaeology and biological anthropology. Accompanying documentation indicates that the majority of the human remains derive from just two closely related ethnic groups, the Kikuyu and Embu. From this documentary evidence most of specimens can be linked to particular settlements, and in several cases the causes of death, many of them the result of violence, and/or the sex, age, and even name of the individual is recorded. Most critical and disturbing of all is that the evidence indicates the majority of these specimens were obtained on behalf of the Corydon Museum (the precursor on NMK) by the then Director, Louis Leakey, from the government pathologist after post-mortem examinations conducted as part of investigations into possible murders that took place during the Mau Mau campaigns against British colonial rule. The manner in which this reference collection was built up, especially the questionable legitimacy of Leakey’s actions and the lack of any evidence that informed consent was given by the relatives of the deceased, raise a series of ethical issues. As does the fact that many of the individuals whose remains now make up the reference collection can be identified by name and almost certainly have close family members who are still alive today. Because the circumstances under which the reference collection was obtained by the museum, the latter have no knowledge of the whereabouts of the bodies of their kinsmen and women. Repatriation of the remains would seem to be the most obvious ethical choice today. Yet, NMK is the leading research institution in Kenya and the collection is an important academic resource. It seems likely that the museum would be able to find a substitute reference collection (both for reasons of availability and potential cost of establishing one). Repatriation of the remains would thus deprive the museum and the local research community of materials that can aid their work as scientists and scholars. This paper aims to examine these ethical issues as well as describing in more detail what is known about the circumstances behind the creation of this reference collection. The paper will conclude with an examination of the arguments that can be made for and against the repatriation and reburial of these human remains as a way of stimulating further debate on the topic at the workshop.

 

 

Steffen Jensen, Senior researcherDignity – Danish Institute against torture  sje@dignityinstitute.dk

 

Corporealities of violence: rape and the stabilization of bodies in South Africa

 

In this paper I will explore the extent to which and how the corporeality of bodies are destabilized as a result of violence and what the effects of such destabilization might be. What kind of new corporealities are called forth as a result of violence and what effects might we imagine in terms of reterritorializing the body in law, in politics, in social science to mention but a few fields? To answer these questions, I will revisit ethnographic material from Cape Town on rape and more specifically gang rape. In this analysis I attempt to follow different implicated actors from the rape survivor and the perpetrators to the legal and political systems that are charged with or take it upon them act of the violence. Rather than arriving at definitions of how we should understand these categories, I argue that all categories are radically unsettled through the violence and as a consequence bodies as intelligible corporal entities shimmer in and out of focus. Hence, while the rape obviously radically deterritorializes the female body, it also recasts the male body and the body of the state and community in unpredictable and unsettling ways.

 

 

Nicky Rousseau, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of arts, University of the Western Cape, SA. Email: nrousseau@uwc.ac.za

 

Another story of an African farm: the search for remains at Post Chalmers, Cradock.

Between 2007 and 2009, the Missing Persons’ Task Team (MPTT) worked on an investigation that sought to locate the remains of five anti-apartheid activists who had been ‘disappeared’ and killed by apartheid security police in two separate operations in 1982 and 1985.  The MPTT is an official body, based in a unit established by the South African government as part of its obligations as a signatory to the International Criminal Court, but which also has responsibility for investigations arising from the work of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This particular investigation centred on the grounds of - among its many incarnations - a farm, Post Chalmers, where security police claimed to have killed the five men, burnt their bodies and thrown the remains into the Fish River.  Post Chalmers is situated just outside Cradock, a rural town in the Karoo, which came into being following the conquest of the Ndlambe and Gqunukhwebe Xhosa in 1812, around 20 000 of whom were driven west of the Fish River by colonial and settler forces deploying a scorched earth policy. In the aftermath, a court and prison established on a stretch of land near the Fish River grew into the town of Cradock. Post Chalmers and Cradock thus constitute a space saturated with sedimented histories of corporeal violence. 

The paper is primarily centred on the location and retrieval of the human remains in 2007, although it considers both the colonial spectres of violence that never seem too far away in the Eastern Cape as well as the subsequent lives of the retrieved human remains as they travelled through Pretoria, Cape Town, and Pretoria again, to their final  ‘homecoming’ and reburial in the township of Zwide in Port Elizabeth, the city from which all five had been abducted. 

A common practice of the MPTT is to have a pre- or test dig before formal exhumation. In the spirit of this practice, this keynote turns in the final part to the politics of knowledge.  As a way of floating some of the themes that may be pertinent to the workshop, it asks us to consider what this account, concerned as it is with the corporeality of violence, may offer, and what it may occlude. 


 

Writing workshop break out groups

 

Group 1: Led by Paul Lane

Laura Major - The (un)lovely Bones: Exhuming and reburying human remains in Rwanda

Ina Jahn and Matthew Wilhem-Solomon - ‘Bones in the Wrong Soil’: Reburial, Belonging and Disinterred Cosmologies in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda.

Matthew Wilhem-Solomon – ‘We hear them dancing on the roof’: Death, Violence and the Urban Form’

 

Group 2: led by Nicky Rousseau

Leila Bright – Avenging Spirits of the Dead, accountability and Political Violence in Zimbabwe

Liz Ravalde – Pentecostal Bodies and Post-War Recovery: Rethinking “Local” vs. “Global” Debates in Uganda through Pentecostalism

Frederica Guglielmo – Medicalising Violence: Technologies of diagnosis in post-genocide Rwanda

 

Group 3: led by Steffen Jensen

Bianca van Laun -  Captured Bodies: Investigating the visual representation of the Paarl march and Poqo

Tessa Diphoorn   - “It’s all about the body”: Cultivating Force Capital to Claim Sovereign Power in Durban, South Africa

T.Nyamunda – From a popular to an absolutist, panoptic State: The makings and meanings of the 1997/8 protests and the government’s violent response in Harare, Zimbabwe

 

Group 4: led by Emily Venables & Jo Veary

Kirsten Thomson – Exploring the tangibility and realness of the continuous experience of trauma on community health care workers in South Africa

Mara  Mattoscio - Victims or negotiators? Violence against women’s bodies in South African fiction and filmic adaptations

Nataly Woollett– Fragmentation and disconnection: linking HIV, gender based violence (GBV) and health in the South African context

 

 


   



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