02 Decolonizing Memory, Ludically Unsettling Space and Time


The Decolonizing Memory work group offers an interdisciplinary and transnational space to challenge the field of memory studies and its demand for redress. The main goal is to problematize the tendency, both inside and outside of academy, of thinking about memory and its journey across time and space in ways that do not exceed already established geographical (“East-West”, “Global South- Global North”) and temporal (“past-present-future”) categories. Inspired by the temporal turn in recent queer and feminist theorizations, our group wishes to reflect upon non-modern ways of apprehending time, in order to contemplate different modes of approaching memory and its inheritance.  Bringing together activists, artists and scholars of memory, this work group aims to subvert categories of space and time recovering/centering/ the ludic, the ironic, and the carnivalesque within practices of active commemorations of different difficult pasts.

By looking at the challenges posed by the conversations among seemingly incommensurable memories and experiences of past, present and future, this working group aims to create durational and collaborative connections among scholars, activists and artists. While asking the question of, “How do we talk about “decolonizing memory” through humor, noise, laughter, carnival, and performance across disciplines, geographies and times?” This interdisciplinary platform unsettles pre-determined itineraries of memory and pushes against normative conceptions of temporality and inheritability. It aims to highlight the presence of the Now in the encounter with the past and the potential this encounter can offer.

Format and Structure:

This work group will consider the following structure:

  • Day 1-2: Presentation of work group’s goals and participants introductions. Brief presentations of each participant’s work during the first two days (10 people per day).
  • Day 3-4: Group activities in which we will address, through discussions and participatory dynamics, historical timelines and spatiality of remembering of our countries of focus and dismantling their official ordering in order to propose different historical routes/possibilities.
  • Day 5: A carnivalesque Memory route  focused on the issue of the violence against political dissidence, particularly on the commemoration of the October 2nd, 1968--the day of Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico City. We would begin at the Memorial to the Tlatelolco victims at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, and follow a route to politically charged sites of mobilization in order to think about how everyday life can become a point of convergence to reanimate and connect the past to present events of violence and disappearance (the 43) even if that past has not been lived by younger generations.

Languages spoken/understood by conveners:

Spanish, English, Portuguese, French (understood)


Daniella Wurst is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University. Her dissertation analyses photography, documentary theatre, and literature of the post-generation  focusing on the tensions present in Cultural Memory Practices in Argentina, Chile, and Peru.

Dilara Çalışkan is a PhD student in the Anthropology Department and Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also a graduate student fellow of the Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University and working on the links between queer kinship and non-normative forms of “intergenerational” transmission of memory. Since 2010, she has been involved with Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association, which particularly focuses on transgender rights and opposes the criminalization of sex work, and supports its recognition as work.

Noni Carter is an author and fourth year student of French Caribbean Literature at Columbia University. Her doctoral research engages with both Enlightenment and contemporary French Caribbean literature that all interrogate slavery, its literary and commemorative representations, its gendered dimensions, and the modalities of symbolic and literal violence that enfold it.

Manuela Badilla Rajevic is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at The New School for Social Research. Her work explores the intersection of the design of public memory, social movements, and post-conflict generations in Chile. Her paper 'The Day of the Young Combatant, generational struggles in the memory field of post-dictatorship Chile' was just published online in Memory Studies Journal.

Marianne Hirsch teaches Comparative Literature and Gender Studies at Columbia University and is one of the founders of the Center for the Study of Social Difference. Recent books: The Generation of Postmemory;  Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory with Leo Spitzer; co­ed. e­misférica “On The Subject of Archives” and Rites of Return.


  • Alberto Gomez
  • Beshouy Botros
  • Brenda Garcia
  • Charlotte Gartenberg
  • Cole Rizki
  • Dasha Chapman
  • Diana Delgado-Ureña
  • Diana Raznovich
  • Dot Tuer
  • Emilia Yang
  • Isabel Dominguez Seoane
  • Itza Varela Huerta
  • Jamie Lee
  • Jarula Wegner
  • Jeannine Murray-Román
  • Maite Malaga
  • Mirta Kupferminc
  • Mya Dosch