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Remembering Violence: Anthropological Perspectives on Intergenerational Transmission

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Remembering Violence

Anthropological Perspectives on Intergenerational Transmission

Edited by Nicolas Argenti and Katharina Schramm

280 pages, illus., tables, bibliog.

ISBN  978-1-84545-624-5 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (December 2009)

ISBN  978-0-85745-627-4 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (March 2012)

eISBN 978-1-84545-970-3 eBook

Hb Pb   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


This collection of consistently interesting articles contributes to the very boom in studies of memory towards which the editors ambiguously claim some skepticism.”  ·  JRAI

[This volume] is an important anthropological contribution to this expanding field [of memories of past violence]...The ethnographic diversity of the chapters allows for cross-cultural comparison and, as the editors themselves underscore, for different methodological and analytical approaches.”  ·  Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale

This collection of essays marks out fertile ground for anthropological investigations of memories of violence and trauma…the fine-grained analyses [ the wide ranging case studies contain] give the lie to any simplistic, ethnocentric and yet unversalising, explanations…it throws a stunning critical spotlight upon many contemporary ‘Western’ therapeutic approaches that insist upon the ‘talking cure’…It makes a valuable contribution to the anthropology of time, memory and violence and is suitable for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate courses.”  ·  Anthroplogical Notebooks

"This is a rich and stimulating collection...Taken together [these chapters] provide an excellent antidote to simplistic medical or psychological approaches to the long-term effects of violence on victims and their families."  ·  Paul Antze, York University, Toronto

"[A] timely and important collection that brings together a number of current literatures in anthropology and memory studies...The volume enriches and complicates the study of memory, while making at the same time a strong case for the distinctiveness of anthropology’s potential to contribute to such an enterprise."  ·  Stuart McLean, University of Minnesota


Psychologists have done a great deal of research on the effects of trauma on the individual, revealing the paradox that violent experiences are often secreted away beyond easy accessibility, becoming impossible to verbalize explicitly. However, comparatively little research has been done on the transgenerational effects of trauma and the means by which experiences are transmitted from person to person across time to become intrinsic parts of the social fabric. With eight contributions covering Africa, Central and South America, China, Europe, and the Middle East, this volume sheds new light on the role of memory in constructing popular histories – or historiographies – of violence in the absence of, or in contradistinction to, authoritative written histories. It brings new ethnographic data to light and presents a truly cross-cultural range of case studies that will greatly enhance the discussion of memory and violence across disciplines.

Nicolas Argenti is a senior lecturer in social anthropology at Brunel University. He has conducted research in North West Cameroon and Southern Sri Lanka on youth, political violence, and embodied memory. His monograph, The Intestines of the State: Youth, Violence and Belated Histories in the Cameroon Grassfields, was published in 2007.

Katharina Schramm is a senior lecturer in social anthropology at the Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg. She has previously worked on the commemoration of the slave trade and cultural politics in Ghana. Her published works include African Homecoming: Panafricanism and the Politics of Heritage (2010) and Identity Politics and the New Genetics: Re/creating Categories of Difference and Belonging (2012).

Subject: Peace & Conflict Studies General Anthropology General History



Chapter 1. Introduction: Remembering Violence
Nicolas Argenti and Katharina Schramm

Bodies of Memory

Chapter 2. Rape and Remembrance in Guadeloupe
Janine Klungel

Chapter 3. Uncanny Memories, Violence and Indigenous Medicine in Southern Chile
Dorthe Kristensen


Chapter 4. Memories of Initiation Violence: Remembered Pain and Religious Transmission among the Bulongic (Guinea, Conakry)
David Berliner

Chapter 5. Nationalizing Personal Trauma, Personalizing National Redemption: Performing Testimony at Auschwitz-Birkenau
Jackie Feldman

Landscapes, Memoryscapes and the Materiality of Objects

Chapter 6. Memories of Slavery: Narrating History in Ritual
Adelheid Pichler

Chapter 7. In a Ruined Country: Place and the Memory of War Destruction in Argonne (France)
Paola Filippucci

Generations: Chasms and Bridges

Chapter 8. Silent Legacies of Trauma: A Comparative Study of Cambodian Canadian and Israeli Holocaust Trauma Descendant Memory Work
Carol Kidron

Chapter 9. The Transmission of Traumatic Loss: A Case Study in Taiwan
Stephan Feuchtwang

Chapter 10. Afterword
Rosalind Shaw

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