El Siluetazo art demonstration in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina displays silhouettes of disappeared loved ones protesting state terror (21 Sept 1983)
The Atlas of Trauma Heritage, a partial accounting of sites of memory dedicated to marginalized or hidden violence (Wendel, 2021)
Holocaust victims' ashes collected from the Majdanek concentration camp near Lubin, Poland (memorial est. 1944) situated under a new memorial dome (est. 1970s) next to the preserved camp watchtower (Wikicommons, 2007)
Kids ride by the patch of pavement where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014 in Ferguson, MO. The section of the road was retrieved by Brown's family. Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu for The Washington Post (2018).
Rwanda's Genocide Memorial Commission conserves victims' remains at the Murambi Technical School, the site of a genocide massacre (Ibarra, 1996)
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
6 pm - 7:30 pm
Hayes Hall 403
AIA continuing education credits pending (1 LU)
After the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, killing sites were preserved as memorials to maintain evidence of crimes for public viewing. Rather than be seen as exceptional, those engagements in memory justice activism comprise part of a larger “era of trauma heritage” emerging largely from the Global South in the late 20th century and continuing today. Trauma heritage refers to spatialized memories of violence that have been systematically marginalized or hidden. These are sites of truth-telling that aim to enact change in the contexts of impunity and gross negligence that they resist. But they are inordinately difficult to see, both for those who are close and at a distance. Reflecting from Rwanda, this talk will engage the tensions inherent to trauma heritage and their potential as sites of repair.
Delia Duong Ba Wendel (she/ her) is the Spaulding Assistant Professor in Urban Studies and International Development at MIT. Her interdisciplinary work explores peacebuilding after protracted violence. She holds a PhD in Urban Studies and Planning (Harvard), Master’s degrees in Cultural Geography (University College London) and Architectural History and Theory (Harvard GSD), and a professional degree in Architecture (Rice University). Previously, she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Humanities Center, taught in the Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning departments at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and was an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Edinburgh. Current research builds from ten years of work in Rwanda and informs two book manuscripts in progress. Rwanda’s Genocide Heritage (forthcoming, Duke University Press) explores memory justice initiatives in Rwanda in the context of state control and human rights practices in the Global South. The Ethics of Stability analyzes post-genocide peacebuilding as a socio-spatial endeavor; one that is defined and challenged in the design of homes, settlements, and civic space. At MIT, Wendel directs the Planning for Peace collective and the CAST and Mellon Foundation funded “Memory Atlas for Repair” project.