Presentation by the editor

Women Mobilizing Memory, a transnational exploration of the intersection of feminism, history, and memory, shows how the recollection of violent histories can generate possibilities for progressive futures. Questioning the politics of memory-making in relation to experiences of vulnerability and violence, this wide-ranging collection asks: How can memories of violence and its afterlives be mobilized for change? What strategies can disrupt and counter public forgetting? What role do the arts play in addressing the erasure of past violence from current memory and in creating new visions for future generations?

Women Mobilizing Memory emerges from a multiyear feminist collaboration bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, artists, and activists from Chile, Turkey, and the United States. The essays in this book assemble and discuss a deep archive of works that activate memory across a variety of protest cultures, ranging from seemingly minor acts of defiance to broader resistance movements. The memory practices it highlights constitute acts of repair that demand justice but do not aim at restitution. They invite the creation of alternative histories that can reconfigure painful pasts and presents. Giving voice to silenced memories and reclaiming collective memories that have been misrepresented in official narratives, Women Mobilizing Memory offers an alternative to more monumental commemorative practices. It models a new direction for memory studies and testifies to a continuing hope for an alternative future.

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Biography of the authors

Ayşe Gül Altınay is professor of cultural anthropology and director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Center of Excellence at Sabancı University.

María José Contreras is a performance artist and associate professor at the Faculty of the Arts of the Universidad Católica de Chile.

Marianne Hirsch is professor of English, comparative literature, and gender studies at Columbia University.

Jean Howard is professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

Banu Karaca is assistant professor of anthropology and a Mercator-IPC Fellow at the Istanbul Policy Center.

Alisa Solomon is professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she directs the MA Arts and Culture concentration.