CLACS wants to thank all those who attended our 50th Anniversary Inaugural Reception and book talk that celebrated the contributions of Latin Americanist and founding CLACS Director Dr. Kalman Silvert.
Silvert’s family and scholars scholars including Jorge Balán, Abraham F. Lowenthal, Chris Mitchell, Martin Weinstein were among those who joined us in the celebration. The panelists presented the book “Kalman Silvert: Engaging Latin America, Building Democracy” and outlined Silvert’s legacy as a father, mentor, Latin Americanist and interdisciplinary scholar.
You can see the broadcast of the book presentation on our CLACS NYU Youtube page or watch the video below!
Thank you again for joining us and please be sure to check out more of our events and celebrations of our 50th Anniversary by visiting our events page.
Last weekend, I made a trip to San Sebastián to interview a member of the Aranzadi forensic team (Universidad del País Vasco) that oversaw the exhumation that I attended several weeks ago. Responsible for filming exhumations and creating short narrative documentaries about individual investigations, the person that I interviewed explained how audiovisual documentation has been integrated into standard forensic and archaeological methods employed by Aranzadi in the exhumation of mass graves. As my interlocutor was keen to point out, the narrative capacity of audiovisual storytelling and its ability to document events and collect testimonies have made this type of media a useful methodological tool both within and without the realm of science.
A member of the Aranzadi team filming a testimony
During the exhumation process, audiovisual recording is used first and foremost to document the exhumation process. It is used to create an audiovisual record of how an exhumation begins, how it is carried out, and finally how it concludes. However, “levantando una fosa” is more than the application of archaeological methods. It is an event that requires the collaboration of many different people, most of important of which are the families desaparecidos and those members of the community who have pushed for this kind of revision of the recent past to take place. For those families who are exhuming missing loved ones, the exhumation is an emotionally charged event that is rooted in a wide range of memory practices. It is therefore, an event that often lends itself to the emergence of personal narratives regarding past experience. These narratives may be newly formed. They can also be narratives that are being publicly voiced for the first time. Video is useful here in that it provides a method and a medium for collecting these testimonies. It creates a space in which those most directly affected by violence can reject silence by narrating their experience that will be recorded by an audiovisual technology that will ensure future accessibility. In other words, video helps create a space for narrating experience while also facilitating the creation of an archive of experiences that illustrates the many ways in which social memory can manifest itself. Continue reading