Witness, Amnesia, Culture Wars 1990-2005

Historias Pintadas/Painted Histories by Beatriz Aurora Castedo, Mexico City

When I re-entered the academic world in the 1990’s, I (along with many other outsiders to the system) found a compartmentalized environment with an inherited colonial tradition of denial and avoidance. Countries all over the world were attempting to come to terms with the violence of repressive histories through truth and reconciliation commissions that most often only seemed to throw light on the polarization between those who needed to remember and those who wanted to forget. Students were organizing “speakouts” on gender, ethnic, and homophobic violence, that even twenty-five years later are still being swept under the rug in university settings. During these years new scholarship was full of questions about the tensions between official histories and social memory, trauma and witness, manic defense and mourning, amnesia and counter-memory. We wondered how it would be possible to solve problems when huge numbers of people were invested in silence, and what it would take to begin dialogue. An immense literature developed on these subjects to which I contributed the following articles.

With Randi Kristensen, “Failed Multiculturalism and Dreams of a Negotiated Settlement” In Proceedings of the Association of University Women Conference on Gender and Race on the Campus and in the School: Beyond Affirmative Action (1999). 
With Randi Kristensen, “Does Your School Send Mixed Messages on Multiculturalism?” Interview in Women in Higher Education, October (1997). 
The Shattered Lens: Revisioning the End of Monocultures” In Proceedings   of the Association of University Women Conference on Gender and Race on   the Campus and in the School:  Beyond Affirmative Action (1999). 
Amnesia/ Countermemory”  Talk at Conference on When History Wakes. Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA (2002).
Thawing Hearts, Opening a Path in the Woods, Founding a New Lineage”   In  This Bridge We Call Home,  Edited by Gloria Anzaldua and AnaLouise Keating (2000).
Thinking About Collective Trauma, Symbolic Loss, and the Praxis of  Restoration in the Americas” (2004).
Interrupted Subjects” In Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World, Edited by Karin Lofhus Carrington and Susan Griffin (2011)