Session III: Remediate
Discussant: Victoria L. Roving

2:00 – 3:30pm

The arts are often framed as resources that bring people together, perhaps by depicting common experiences or appealing to shared pleasures. In crisis contexts, artistic production takes on a new role, as a venue in which to mediate (intervene) and remediate (heal) conflict. As such, the arts are mobilized to narrate traumatic pasts, to offer contexts for reconciliation, and to imagine alternative futures. By channeling chaotic experiences into aesthetics, NGOs and artists hope to order and transcend disaster through projects designed to reunite warring parties, victims and perpetrators, or governments and their subjects. Yet they also insert new structures into the political landscape, such as NGO and civil society organizations, that are not necessarily any more stable or accountable than the systems they are reinforcing. So-called “post-conflict” interventions are designed to be temporary measures that will be superseded by long-term governance solutions, yet all too often they continue to perpetuate projects beyond the time they are needed, or they lose funding and close shop before local conditions provide sustainable resources. Arts programs meant to establish peace can end up instantiating new hostilities. Attempts to remediate conflict may merely remodulate it.


Unraveling and Welding Together: War’s Transformative Influence on Contemporary Mozambican Art
Amy Schwartzott (North Carolina A&T State University)

Times Past Under Fire: Fambul Tok and the Reinvention of Tradition in Rural Sierra Leone
Samuel Mark Anderson (Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University)

Mice, Cows, and Real Rwandans: The Oral Literature of Exile and the Refusal of “Refugeeness” in Rwanda’s Camps
Lowell Brower (Harvard University)

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