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Lecture | LUCIS What's New?! series

The Museum of Amna Suraka: a Critical Case Study of Kurdistani Memory Culture

Date
Thursday 26 November 2020
Time
Series
What's New?! Fall 2020 Lecture Series
Location
This is an online event. Please register to receive the link to the lecture

After the American-led invasion resulting in the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, so-called trauma sites – monuments and museums – have been erected in the Region of Kurdistan Iraq to pay homage to the suffering of the Kurdistani people. Since in this post-conflict society the question of autonomy still plays a prominent role, these sites have been turned into a battlefield of ideologies. 

An example is formed by the museum of Amna Suraka, which Majid will discuss in her lecture. Amna Suraka is located in a building that functioned as a political prison and a site of torture under Saddam’s regime. In her lecture, Majid will discuss how this museum is characterized by a tension: on the one hand, the building embeds stories of the suffering that took place in the past in a patriotic narrative about eventual Kurdish victory. This narrative does not leave much room for explorations of trauma itself, since these explorations are immediately politicized. On the other hand, she will illustrate, by way of aesthetic representations of suffering – sculptures, photographs, paintings – that are not dominated by political ideals of eventual victory, space for a more sober and open narrative about the traumatic past is created

Given the complexity of politicized memory culture in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Majid’s analysis of this museum will appeal to those who want to develop a more subtle understanding not only of the area’s problematic past but also of present-day Kurdistan. Furthermore, this lecture will appeal to those who want to contribute to the processing of collective traumas that still permeate the Kurdsitani society, and how arts, in general, could have a positive impact on these processes. 

About Bareez Majid

Bareez Majid works in the fields of Memory Studies and Kurdish Studies. Her current research, which is funded by the NWO-project PhDs in the Humanities, is driven by the question of how the post-conflict community of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has dealt and is still dealing with, its traumatic past after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

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