La edición 50 (julio-diciembre de 2017) de la REVISTA DE ESTUDIOS COLOMBIANOS estará dedicada al estudio de la construcción de la memoria histórica en Colombia. La narrativa, construcción y participación de Colombia en los estudios de la memoria empieza en medio del conflicto armado y no, como suele ser, después de haberlo terminado, volviendo este caso único al nivel mundial. En el marco de la justicia transicional, “memoria histórica” es considerada un elemento central para cumplir con el deber de memoria del estado, la reconstrucción de la verdad histórica, la reparación simbólica de las víctimas y la reconciliación de la sociedad fragmentada. Se aceptarán artículos que traten de la teoría y/o las prácticas, expresiones y políticas de la memoria en los estudios colombianos. Las propuestas pueden plantearse en el marco de la justicia transicional, pero también por fuera del mismo. Serán bienvenidas propuestas e indagaciones desde diferentes perspectivas disciplinarias y acercamientos metodológicos y por supuesto, conversaciones interdisciplinarias (e incluso internacionales). Entre los posibles temas pueden figurar: los usos teóricos del concepto memoria, memoria como práctica cotidiana y/o práctica terapéutica de superación; memoria del conflicto y memorias paralelas; discursos oficiales, narrativas individuales, memorias transgeneracionales, testimonios orales y visuales; memorias del cuerpo, memoria e identidades culturales, los vehículos impresos, audiovisuales y auditivos de la memoria, los artefactos de la memoria, la relación entre la memoria histórica y la conciencia histórica; museos y monumentos, memoria y producción cultural, políticas de la memoria, memoria y las instituciones (salud, educación, militares) y otros temas relacionados

Por favor notar que los artículos que no sigan las normas editoriales (disponibles aquí) de la REC no serán considerados.

Los artículos y reseñas se recibirán hasta el 15 de marzo de 2017

Editora encargada:
Tatjana Louis,
Universidad de los Andes

Neue Publikation: Eine Woche in Macondo: Wo Emotionen für die Friedensforschung relevant werden

Von: Hendrikje Grunow

In: Friedensakademie Rheinland-Pfalz: Friedensakademie-Blog. 02.11.2016. Zum Artikel. An English translation is available here.

Deutscher Teaser: Es war, als habe Gott beschlossen, jede Fähigkeit des Staunens auf die Probe zu stellen, und halte Macondos Einwohner in einem fortgesetzten Hin und Her des Frohlockens und der Enttäuschung, zwischen Zweifel und Offenbarung, bis schließlich niemand mehr genau wissen konnte, wo die Grenzen der Wirklichkeit lagen. [1]

Seit die Kolumbianer*innen am 02. Oktober aufgerufen waren, in einem Referendum über die Annahme des Friedensabkommens zwischen der Regierung und den Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) abzustimmen, ist Macondo einmal mehr die realere Referenz für Kolumbien, wie dieses mittlerweile viral gewordene Zitat des kolumbianischen Literaturnobelpreisträgers García Márquez zeigt. Nur wer die Emotionen auf allen Seiten des Konflikts berücksichtigt, kann sich einer Erklärung darüber annähern, wieso eine knappe Mehrheit der Wähler*innen sich gegen den Vertrag aussprach.

English Teaser: Era como si Dios hubiera resuelto poner a prueba toda capacidad de asombro, y mantuviera a los habitantes de Macondo en un permanente vaivén entre el alborozo y el desencanto, la duda y la revelación, hasta el extremo de que nadie podía saber a ciencia cierta dónde estaban los límites de la realidad. Gabriel García Márquez

When on October 2nd Colombians were asked to vote for the Peace Agreement established between the government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), the ficticious Macondo once again became the more real reference for Colombia, as shown in the now viral quote from  A Hundred Years of Solitude by Colombian Nobel Price winner Gabriel García Márquez. Only when taking into account the emotions on the sides of all parties involved can we get closer to understanding why a tiny majority of voters pronounced themselves against the agreement.

Call for Reviews: CROLAR Vol. 6(2): “Rethinking Latin American Memories: Trajectories of their Study and Construction”

Studies on memory in Latin America have been particularly associated with remembering the violent past of its recent history. Focus has been placed on the human rights violations perpetrated under the military dictatorships in the Southern Cone and on armed conflicts that took place in several countries of Central America and the Andean region. Intellectuals linked to this field of study, particularly those from the region, have played a dual role here: on one hand, that of committed citizens, witnesses of the period in question, and on the other, that of scholars founding a new area of study. In this way, memory studies in Latin America not only represent a field of scholarly investigation, but also a political space of activism in which the meanings of this past are being constructed, disputed, and (re)oriented. As a response to regional political developments during the 1980s and 1990s, explaining the dictatorial past dominated the field of memory studies, marking a milestone in Latin American scholarship and forging an obligatory reference from the Southern Cone’s experience that influenced the understanding of other local cases, including those in Europe (Capdepón, 2015, Elsemann, 2011, Assmann/Conrad, 2010, Crenzel, 2010: 19-20).

As a response to this reality, critical remarks emerged. Although memory has been an important tool for transitional justice processes, it also tends to be standardized to such an extent that a kind of cultural and editorial industry of “never ever” has been shaped, as stated by anthropologist Alejandro Castillejo (2007: 77). The situation is problematic not only because it could lead to ignoring the political causes of conflicts (Castillejo, 2009), but also because it trivializes struggles for human rights (Bilbija & Payne, 2011) and excludes different experiences and emotions of a particular historical context. Likewise, it is noteworthy that during these decades another type of study and different constructions of memory took place. It questioned a national “official history” that privileged a few while making the majority invisible: here, memory was a form in which the subaltern appropriated a more distant past (Achugar, 1996: 849-850).

Considering the previous point, this issue of CROLAR will seek to discuss the extent to which we are confronted with a thematic unification of “Latin American Memory” tied predominately to state terrorism and the civil wars that took place between the 1970s and the 1990s. Is this a necessity and prevailing interest in the various countries in question? Is it a reflection of the political orientation of some governments during the past decade? And what actors are studying and constructing the memories of the continent? A critical and analytical gaze at recent publications and debates in memory studies dealing with this region will aim to respond these inquiries.

This questioning regarding a unique Latin American memory is necessary because while memory is becoming a fundamental right and a vital condition to consolidate the democracies of the region, limiting ourselves to an academic perspective would reduce the potential of memory studies to reveal other historical, social, and cultural processes that remain hidden behind this political subject.

This issue of CROLAR, Rethinking Latin American Memories: Trajectories in their study and construction, edited by the Interdisciplinary Latin American Memory Research Network, aims to establish a dialogue not just among the various experiences in the region but also among distinct disciplines that have been involved in memory studies. This is in order to see how the field has been reinvented and what questions remain relevant today. Focus is placed on an interdisciplinary approach that is ideal to look at the concerns of the scholars involved and to interlink views on common elements. In this way, we intend to respond to questions regarding the homogenization of studies and constructions of memory in the region, as well as to identify, on a methodological level, the categories and levels of analyses used: what validity does the nation hold and what is the presence of transnational and local processes? Should we use the term collective memory, historical memory, social memory, or what other concept would be helpful to approach the cases in question? And what does all of this imply?

With this goal in mind, we propose a collection of reviews of publications and interventions that addresses the subject of memory from and about Latin America along the following lines. First of all, for the section Review Articles, we invite reviewers to write critical essays that compile and analyze between three and five publications (books, articles, blogs) framed around current debates. Second, for the section Focus, we propose to examine the currency and innovation in recent publications from 2015/2016 dealing with the subject of violent past in recent history. At the same time, we would also like to call reviews concerning books that explore new possibilities for memory studies to reveal other processes and links to the past. Third, we invite scholars to revisit classics in a brief essay that looks at the work of a pioneering writer of memory studies in the region, examining them in terms of their continued relevance and diffusion. Finally, since the construction of memories often surpasses the academic realm, becoming a prolific theme in literature, sculpture, film, drama, and other forms of cultural expression, this issue will dedicate a fourth section to reviews of works in other creative media that construct and/or study memory in Latin America.

Reviews and review articles must be submitted before 30.01.2017. They can be written in Spanish, English, Portuguese or German. Ideally, the review should be in a differentlanguage than the reviewed publication or project. The formal requirements for reviews can be found at

We are looking forward to reading from you! If you are interested in writing a review or have any other suggestions or questions, please contact the editors of the volume:  Andrea Cagua Martínez (, Mónika Contreras Saiz ( & Leonardo Pascuti: (


Achugar, Hugo, (1996): “Repensando la heterogeneidad latinoamericana: a propósito de lugares, paisajes y territorios”, Revista Iberoamericana, Vol. LXII, nos. 176-177, pp. 845–861.

Assmann, Aleida, CONRAD Sebastian (eds.) (2010): Memory in a Global Age: Discourses, practices and trajectories, Houndsmills, Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies.

Bilbija, Ksenija, PAYNE, Leigh A. (eds.) (2011): Accounting for Violence: Marketing Memory in Latin America, Durham [NC]: Duke University Press.

Capedón, Ulrike (2015): Vom Fall Pinochet zu den Verschwundenen des Spanischen Bürgerkrieges. Die Auseinandersetzung mit Diktatur und Menschenrechtsverletzungen in Spanien und Chile, Bielefeld, Transcript Verlag.

Crenzel, Emilio (2010): “Políticas de la memoria en Argentina. La historia del informe nunca más.” Papeles del CEIC # 61, pp. 1 – 31.

Castillejo Cuéllar, Alejandro (2007), “La globalización del testimonio: Historias, silencios endémicos y los usos de la palabra”, Antípoda, No.4, pp. 76 – 99.

Castillejo Cuéllar, Alejandro (2009): Los archivos del dolor. Ensayos sobre la violencia y el recuerdo en la Sudáfrica Contemporánea. Bogotá: Universidad de los Andes, Centro de Estudios Sociales – CESO.

Elsemann, Nina (2011), Umkämpfte Erinnerungen. Die Bedeutung lateinamerikanischer Erfahrungen für die spanische Geschichtspolitik nach Franco, Frankfurt a. M., Campus Verlag.

Neue Publikation: Die Funktion der Erinnerung. Das ethnische Gedächtnis – eine Waffe im Kampf der Mapuche

Von: Mónika Contreras Saiz

In: Zeitschrift der Informationsstelle Lateinamerika, N. 399, Okt. 2016, S. 4– 6. Kurzversion des Artikels „Función de la memoria étnica: entre saber y poder. “El caso de los mapuche del sur de Chile”, gekürzt, übersetzt und bearbeitet von Eduard Fritsch. Link zur Ausgabe.

Resumen: El artículo trata algunos mecanismos de construcción y transmisión de
memoria colectiva empleados por los ancestros del grupo indígena mapuche
en su resistencia en contra de la expansión del Estado. Desde un análisis
histórico, se propone ampliar la mirada hacia los escenarios en los que se
le otorga un uso político a la memoria en situaciones de conflicto.

Conference Report: “Thinking the Latin American Memory Complex”


Authors: Fabiola Arellano & Hendrikje Grunow [Originally posted on HSozKult]

The third workshop of the Interdisciplinary Network for the Study of Memory in Latin America took place on July 28 and 29, 2016 at the University of Constance, Germany. Under the headline „Thinking the Latin American Memory Complex“, network members came together to discuss aspects of their current research projects in relation to the group’s general focus. The panels were organized into possible facets of the Latin American Memory Complex, comprising topics ranging from historical consciousness and memory media to relations between individual and collective realms of memory and the challenges for public policies surrounding questions of reparation and representation.

The first panel focused on the concept of historical consciousness and its Latin American specifics. LEONARDO PASCUTI (Eichstätt-Ingolstadt) discussed the linkages between the report of the unofficial Truth Commission Nunca Mais and discourses about the Holocaust in Brazil. In his presentation, he highlighted similarities between Holocaust discourses in Germany during the 1960s and narratives evolving around the military dictatorship in Brazil during the 1980s. A question that arose after his presentation was about society’s perception of these semantic connections. Do “normal” people create discursive links between the Holocaust and the military dictatorship in Brazil? Or is this a concern limited to professional historians? As Pascuti explained, Brazilian society normally links the Holocaust with violence more in general, and not specifically with the past military dictatorship.

MÓNIKA CONTRERAS SAIZ (Berlin) began by defining the concept of historical consciousness in the Latin American context as the result of the relationship a person establishes between her own life and an acquired knowledge of the past. In relation to her current field of study, history-based soap operas from Chile and Colombia, she posed questions about the relationship between individual and collective historical consciousness, and how much of the collective is represented within the individual one. Furthermore, she raised questions about the relationship between extensive historical knowledge on the one side and the development of historical consciousness on the other. In the discussion, the question arose how conscious historical consciousness had to be. It was pointed out that the differentiation between awareness and consciousness should be taken into account.

TATJANA LOUIS (Bogotá) reflected about schoolbooks in Colombia and their potential to build up historical consciousness. She argued that schoolbooks create links between past interpretations and future expectations. With regard to the current situation, Louis argued that challenging traditional perspectives of the past offers various possibilities for the construction of identity concepts through history. In order to illustrate this, she presented some examples. She underlined that the Colombian educational system claimed to be democratic by presenting different visions of the past rather than trying to impose a uniform narrative. After questions surrounding the educational system and educational policies in Colombia, which revealed that it is not the state, but the publishing houses themselves who are in charge of the edition of schoolbooks, it became clear that this field of investigation is still a new one. The connection between identity, historical consciousness and schoolbooks is an issue to further investigate.

HENDRIKJE GRUNOW’s (Constance) presentation had a more theoretical focus. After outlining eurocentric biases in conceptualizing historical consciousness, she developed a framework to think about affective connections to the past as forms of being conscious of history. To do so, she connected anthropological works investigating shamanism with approaches form affect theory. Furthermore, she raised questions about the investigation of affects when these are considered unspoken and sensual phenomena. Two main questions from the audience accompanied the discussion. First, the perception of time and temporality in the affective conception of the past was discussed. The second questions assessed the role of neuroscience in studies about affect, considering that the presented talk theorized the issue from the perspective of the humanities only.

In the second panel, Lena Voigtländer and Andrés Montoya presented two case studies related to the topic of memory and its representation. LENA VOIGTLÄNDER (Bonn) reflected on visual representations of postmemory by the Post-generation (those born during or after the violent event). Focusing on the ruptures and continuities of form and content in documentary films, she reexamined the concept of postmemory, hinting at the challenges faced by the second generation when trying to resume the first generation’s social or political projects. In the conclusion, she raised the question of the authority of memory.

ANDRÉS MONTOYA’s (Bogotá) presentation explored the role of memorials that commemorate the victims of the internal armed conflict in small localities in Colombia, and the problems evolving around these sites, considering that violence is still faced on a daily basis. On the one hand, Montoya stressed the importance of memorials for the families: Since they still didn’t know the whereabouts of their loved ones, they appropriated the memorials as sites of sorrow and mourning. On the other hand, these sites were places in which violence and retaliative actions continued to take place. In order to maintain “peace”, the organizers also promote cultural activities to divert attention from more politically sensitive events. The audience discussed how different memories live together and interact in these spaces in reference to both presentations. Considering that perpetrators cannot be mentioned in some of these sites, the question arose to what degree victims actually think of them to be symbolic reparations in terms of truth and justice.

The third panel united two perspectives on the relations between individual memory and memory communities. ADRIANA VERA (Bogotá) presented some aspects of her ongoing ethnographic fieldwork in the Western Amazonian locality “La Macarena”, Colombia. She reflected on the fact that a lot of communities get attention (positive and negative) in the national narration only as long as they have implications with the political violence. As she underlined, localities like La Macarena expose the necessity to find a place for different memories; otherwise the parallel local memories that coexisted during the violence could be displaced or besieged by the greater narrative.

CAROLINA PIZARRO (Constance) described her research project in which she analyzes the genre of testimonio in the Southern Cone and its role not only in the literary, but also in the historical sciences. After giving an overview of the genesis and categories of the genre testimonio, she strongly emphasized its importance in the fabrication of history. Her perspective was based mostly on cases of imprisonment and torture in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay during the respective military dictatorships. The discussion of these two presentations focused on questions of feasibility in endeavors of representation. While in the Colombian case, the concrete locations still have to deal with insurgent and institutional violence, the debate surrounding testimonio as a medium to construct historical narratives is often faced with the problem of supersaturation on the receiving side.

In the final panel, four presentations on public policies related to memory and forgetting were united. ANDREA CAGUA (Eichstätt-Ingolstadt) addressed the “Forgetting Paradox”: How can one erase something from collective memory without at the same time actively thinking about it? Under the premise that memories are first and foremost ephemeral phenomena, how can one conceive oblivion as a traceable social phenomenon? And how can one investigate this, when it is something that isn’t there, or has been rendered invisible in the present? Cagua proposed approaches to the sources with examples such as documentary film, amnesties, and oral tradition.

ANTJE GUNSENHEIMER (Bonn) analyzed processes of negotiation and integration of ethnic minority histories within a national master narrative. Her case study about the Yaqui museum in Sonora, Mexico, revealed conflicts not only about sovereignty in representation but also about the conditions of acceptance of citizenship and belonging within the Mexican state. While the museum organizers tried to include Yaqui history in accordance to national historical events and interpret their work in integrative terms, Yaqui authorities see it as an effort of appropriation, paternalism and abuse, and are thinking about elaborating their own museum with the help of international donors.

Memorial Museums are symbolic means for reparation in the context of transitional justice in post-conflict societies, as FABIOLA ARELLANO (Munich) pointed out in her talk. Their main goal, then, is to recognize, dignify and commemorate the victims. Arellano illustrated the different ways of representation of victims in memorial museums, especially in Santiago (Chile) and Lima (Peru). A comparative approach allowed her a deeper analysis of what might be the intentions behind the respective exhibition conceptions, and whether or not these intentions correspond with the postulated goals.

NINEL PLEITEZ (San Salvador) finalized the workshop with a practical perspective. As curator of the Museum of Anthropology in El Salvador, she reflected on her next curatorial project about a theme which, despite of its relevancy, is only tackled tangentially at the museum: the Salvadoran civil war. Methodologically she proposed a bottom-up approach in which testimonies play an important role. Since the museum is very object-oriented, she is currently trying to figure out how to represent oral testimonies, how to materialize them, or how to exhibit them without recurrence to objects. The audience debated the importance of participative methods in this kind of projects in order to avoid the exoticization of an ethnic group or a lack of legitimation among the represented. Also, the difficulty of representation in cases without material object was discussed, for example in relation to women that had been sexually violated during the conflicts.

During the final discussion Hendrikje Grunow gave a brief summary of the topics discussed during the day. She pointed out core questions of the research network: What is historical consciousness, and what are its Latin American specifics? How does memory work through media, and what are the connections between these workings and the development of historical consciousness? How do individual and collective realms relate to each other in Latin American memories? What are the political challenges of memory work in Latin America?

Tatjana Louis and Mónika Contreras pointed out the necessity to discuss different concepts of Memoria Histórica on that occasion, to which Lena Voigtländer added that different levels had to be taken into account, such as state-based or community-based work, and the relationship with donors and supporters. A brief discussion about the newness of these actors between Arellano, Grunow, Contreras, Voigtländer and Louis made clear the importance of precise categories: rather than representing new actors, the analysis of the work of these communities is of a new urgency. Voigtländer furthermore proposed to label the actors as visible and invisible, rather than in terms of a new-old dichotomy.

Another aspect that surged in the discussion was the question of change. Contreras argued for an individual and therefore changing conception of historical consciousness, while Grunow pointed out the historicity of the unchanging. Voigtländer remarked on the distinct levels of consciousness as on the one side located within the individual body, and on the other hand sparking a need to act, or change a situation. She also hinted to the differences in the conception of consciousness when adding a “political”, “social”, or “historical” to it, leaving room for further differentiations.

Louis took up on this distinction to underline the difference between consciousness and awareness, to which Voigtländer added the differentiation between consciousness as a product and conscientization as a process. She furthermore underlined the importance of the individual’s readiness to receive any form of consciousness. Grunow criticized this, explaining that an individual didn’t have to be ready for a memory sparked by affect, as with a smell that reminded one of something. She wondered why this would not count as historical consciousness. Louis reconciled these perspectives by indicating the possibility of being conscious without reaching a state of consciousness.

Finally, Arellano and Montoya raised the question of how different cognitive and emotional processes interpolate in the creation of knowledge. It became clear that there are still many challenges and potentials in researching memory in Latin America, despite it being such a prominent topic. The group agreed to tackle these in future projects and meetings. Seguir leyendo “Conference Report: “Thinking the Latin American Memory Complex””

Nueva publicación: El rol e impacto de la Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación en la agenda transicional peruana

Por: Fabiola Arellano Cruz

En: Berta-Csikós-Jancsó-Katona-Lénárt-Prefort (Eds.): Transiciones. De la
dictadura a la democracia. (Szeged: Americana eBooks, 2016), S. 67–79. Se puede conseguir aquí.

Resumen: La Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación constituyó la herramienta más importante en la agenda transicional peruana posconflicto, aunque ni su constitución, ni las conclusiones a las que llegó, fueron ajenas a controversias. Teniendo en cuenta esto, el artículo recalca algunos de los impactos que tuvo la Comisión de la Verdad durante el proceso de transición, en la actualidad y en la construcción de la memoria histórica.

Nueva publicación: Telenovelas y memoria histórica: representaciones y percepciones de la historia reciente en Chile y Colombia

Por: Mónika Contreras Saiz

En: Berta-Csikós-Jancsó-Katona-Lénárt-Prefort (Eds.): Transiciones. De la
dictadura a la democracia. (Szeged: Americana eBooks, 2016), S. 636 – 649. Encuéntrelo aquí.

Resumen. En la última década en Chile y en Colombia salieron al aire un
conjunto de telenovelas que trataban temas políticamente controvertidos y
sensibles de la historia reciente de ambos países. El artículo presenta a
grandes rasgos las representaciones centrales que estas producciones
transmiten del pasado, analiza el papel que en ello juegan los canales de
televisión e indaga por la recepción de las telenovelas y su rol en la
formación de la conciencia histórica a nivel individual y colectivo.

Abstract. During the last decade, in Chile and Colombia four soap operas
were aired that dealt with politicized, controversial, and sensitive
topics in the recent history of both countries. The article presents a
general overview of the representations of the past that these productions
transmitted, it analyzes what role television channels played in the
process, and explores how these telenovelas were perceived and contributed
to the formation of an individual and collective historical consciousness.