De-Commodifying Political Memory: Fertile Memories Beyond the Wall of Silence

Thursday, May 4, 2023 - 14:00
Soc-Psy Building, Şerif Mardin Seminar Room
Department of Sociology



As part of our Sociology Talk Series, Meltem Ahıska will be speaking at Sociology Department on May 4, 2023 at 14:00. The talk will be held at Şerif Mardin Seminar Room in Sloane Hall.

Remembering is often regarded as a political force that counters silence.  Yet Michel-Rolph Trouillot (1995) reminds us that not all silences are equal. Silences have their texture and uneven temporalities, and are structured in a complex relation to each other, rendered imperceptible under the monopolized act of silencing or within the walls of silence. This talk ruminates on the possibilities of unmaking memory/silence binary as an act for de-commodifying political memory. It thus reflects on the danger of political memory in losing its vitality for imagining collective well-being and justice due to its submission to the logics of capitalist market and law. This is also how political memory succumbs to decontextualized violence that flattens the diverse temporalities of remembering and dispossesses the marginalized segments of society of the agency to remember. In response, this talk offers another conception of memory: “fertile memory” (Al-Qattan, 2007) that resists the hegemonic discourse of memory under the present circumstances. By doing so, the talk argues with reference to some critical moments in Turkey, that we should attend to differential moments of silencing in order to seize and reactivate fertile memories with a potential to futurity.