How to make sense of an atrocity in an environment of repressive silence? What kind of memory work needs to be done to overcome imposed forgetting? This presentation aims to address these questions by analyzing the long-term legacy of political violence that travels across time and space. By unravelling the meaning of the Holodomor, one of the biggest – yet unacknowledged – atrocities in the history of the Soviet Union, this talk traces the lasting effects of the denial of mass atrocity and documents the struggles of mnemonic activists to reclaim authority over a silenced past. The decades-long silencing of the Holodomor would not have been successful without the Soviets’ capacity to selectively draw on global ideas and contexts. It was because of this transnational dynamic of knowledge production that the reclaiming of its history needed to happen on a global scale as well. An instrumental role in this process was played by Ukrainian diaspora members who by revisiting the traumatic past, performed their nationhood, and created ruptures in the accepted representations.
Speaker: Karolina Koziura is a PhD Candidate at The New School for Social Research, New York and Józef Tischner Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Human Science in Vienna.
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