Crossroads of Memories – Harvard ACLA

April 6, 2009

harvard1I recently had the pleasure of attending the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) conference at Harvard. I presented my paper – Truth, History and Nation in the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission – as part of the Crossroads of Memories panel and received some great feedback. People were interested in the issues of memory, transitional justice and nation-building that are illuminated by the Canadian TRC. It was also great to see the ways in which the politics of memory were being taken up by a diverse range of scholars with very different subjects of study. Laila Amine, of Indiana University, did a wonderful job of organizing the panel.

One of the issues raised in response to my paper was that of ownership. In a truth commission how are issues of ownership and authority over these personal narratives explored? I found this particular question quite interesting in the Canadian context, particularly as issues of ownership continue to complicate Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal relationships.

The other speakers on the Crossroads of Memory panel spoke about topics as diverse as Zora Hurston Neal’s archival footage, convergence between novel and museum in “The Museum of Innocence,” and the ways in which body and memory are explored in Duras’ “Hiroshima Mon Amour.”

For those interested, here’s the full panel schedule:

Friday, March 27, 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Alice M. Craven, American University of Paris – “Volunteer Slavery, Cultural Tourism and the Mystique of Immigration in Bouchareb’s Little Senegal

Kelley Wagers, Penn State Worthington Scranton – “Out upon the rim bones of nothing: Hurston’s Historical Visions”

Wendy W. Walters, Emerson College – “Local Archives and the Global Accumulation of Time in Elizabeth Alexander’s Amistad Poems”

Evren Akaltun, SUNY Stony Brook – “Personal and Collective Nostalgia in Orhan Pamuk’s The Museum of Innocence

Saturday, March 28, 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Inez K. Hedges, Northeastern University – “Performative Memory: the Nakba and the Imagining of Palestinian Nationhood”

Lindsey Puente, UC Irvine – “National Heroes: The Cimarron in Caribbean Culture”

Caroline Beschea-Fache, Davidson College – “Mémoires d’Immigrées: Yasmina Benguigui as Memory Entrepreneuse”

Chialan S. Wang, University of Southern California – “Exiled from memories: reading the impossible national identity in Zhu Tienhsin’s The Old Capital

Naomi Angel, NYU – “Truth, History and Nation in the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission”

Sunday, March 29, 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Vivian N. Halloran, Indiana U Bloomington – “Recipes as Memory Work: Slave Food”

Laila Amine, Indiana U Bloomington – “Generational Memories and Leila Sebbar’s works”

Kristin E. Reed, Indiana University Bloomington – “Calendar Customs: Landscape and Memory in Heaney Elegies”

Dana Mihailescu, Brandeis U – “Shoah, Gender, and Memory: The Stakes of Affect in Miriam Katin’s We Are on Our Own”

Yu-Min Chen, Indiana U Bloomington – “The unattainable identity: body and memory in Marguerite Duras’ Hiroshima Mon Amour

3 Responses to “Crossroads of Memories – Harvard ACLA”


  1. […] Conference #1: American Comparative Literature Association, Cambridge. […]


  2. […] few years ago, when the commission was still in its early days, I gave a talk at the American Comparative Literature Association Conference at Harvard University. During the Q and A, a member of the audience, a scholar writing about the TRC in Sierra Leone, […]

  3. Rolando Says:

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