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Blurred memories

War and disaster in a Buddhist Sinhala village

Mara Benadusi

This article analyzes the regimes of truth and efforts at falsification that emerged aft er the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, where the experience of fear, the blurring of memory, and the fabrication of identity became normalized during the course of a long civil war. By shedding light on the memorialization processes in a Buddhist Sinhala village on the border of the northeastern Tamil zones, the article shows how the tsunami has reinforced governmental devices for controlling peoples and territories, insinuating itself into the core of the enduring process of securitization of fear in Sri Lanka. Yet, however much the politics of memory tends to cloud matters, the article also demonstrates that it never goes uncontested, as long as subjects can channel their capacity for action in unexpected directions.

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Earl Jeffrey Richards

In May 1995 German academe was rocked by the revelation that one

of its most respected members, Hans Schwerte, the recently deceased

former rector of the University of Aachen and Goethe scholar, was

actually Hans Ernst Schneider, a high-ranking official in Himmler’s

research organization, the SS-Ahnenerbe (“ancestral heritage”). Since

this revelation there has been a veritable explosion of literature, no

less than twelve monographs and essay collections, devoted to the

questions of whether Schneider as Schwerte is an exemplary or symbolic

figure for Germany’s transformation into a democratic society,

whether his career as an “academic manager” in the Third Reich and

his university career in the Federal Republic attest to the well-known

continuity of elites, independent of political beliefs, and whether

Schneider owed his subsequent professional success to connections

with somewhat unsavory (albeit fully legal and quite public) networks

of former Nazis.

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And Till the Ghastly Tale Is Told: Sarah Kofman – Primo Levi

Survivors of the Shoah and the Dangers of Testimony

Rachel Rosenblum

The great catastrophes of history can be recognised through the paralysed silence which they leave in their wake, a silence which frequently is broken only to make way for the falsifications of memory. BEtween silence and falsification, a third path may be opened. For those who are capable of it, this path involves saying what happened, writing in the first person. This third possibility is doubly valorised. First of all, it offers a public testimony. It allows a truth which is unspeakable or not to be spoken to erupt onto the social scene. Secondly, it is meant to have a cathartic function. The author of the testimony would in this way be unburdening himself o a horror too heavy to bear. Put into words, his suffering would become something which could be shared. It is this sharing which will be discussed here, its power to grant peace. One may doubt this power.

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Kim Knibbe, Brenda Bartelink, Jelle Wiering, Karin B. Neutel, Marian Burchardt and Joan Wallach Scott

easily falsified. This is particularly the case around the topic of sexual well-being and sexual health that we are researching now. In this project, we do not look at politicians and opinion makers, but at sexual health professionals, educators, and