Conference Number 5: Washington, D.C.

November 21, 2009

The American Studies Association (ASA) Conference was held this year in Washington, D.C. (Nov. 5th – 8th, 2009), and I had the pleasure of presenting on a panel entitled, “The Courts of Public Memory: Trauma, Nation, and Reconciliation.”

The panel was chaired by scholar Lisa Yoneyama, and the papers were:

Robert Eap, University of Southern California (CA)
Rethinking Impunity: A Critique of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Naomi Angel, New York University (NY)
Memory, Nation, and Social Transformation in the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Zenia Kish, New York University (NY)
Remembering Ukraine’s Famine-Terror of 1932–1933: Post-Soviet Memory as National Politics

Julie Thi Underhill, University of California, Berkeley (CA)
Elusive Justice: Democratic Kampuchea’s Cultural Genocide of the Muslim Cham

Before attending the conference, I was worried that I was suffering from ‘conference-burnout,’ so instead of rushing around and trying to take in too much, I decided to attend only a few panels and focus on learning from my fellow-panelists. It was great to draw connections between questions of social and criminal justice and the politics of memory across diverse geographical and temporal sites, and to continue this conversation after the panel. I was inspired by the work of my fellow panelists, and thrilled to meet Professor Yoneyama.

2009 has been a ridiculous year for conferences. I presented at five this year, and although each provided a unique and valuable experience, I’ve decided that maybe one or two would be far more manageable in the future! For now, it’s time to focus on my dissertation proposal…

For a brief recap of the other conferences:

Conference #1: American Comparative Literature Association, Cambridge.

Conference #2: Canadian Communication Association, Ottawa.

Conference #3: Encuentro (Hemispheric Institute Conference), Bogota.

Conference #4: Eleventh Berlin Roundtables: The Politics of Memory, Berlin.

Above image (from left to right): Julie, Naomi, Robert and Zenia

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