A Forum on Memory and Human Rights


November 11, 2021

Event Description

Human rights violations across the globe are located in a political economy of the body. Torture, dehumanization, and murder are its principal technologies of subjection; they are housed most often in prisons, encampments, and underground sites, and function outside the rule of law though most often they depend on the complicity of the state apparatus. These abuses are widespread and extend from practices of human enslavement to systems of corporeal punishment imposed on political dissidents and those who stand at society’s margins. Within this scope is the violence rendered to the bodies of migrants and women, sexual minorities, and communities of color. In recent years, social activists have aimed to memorialize the sites where abuses have taken place not only to call out the practice of human rights violations, but also to protect future generations from repeating the atrocities of the past. These panels address two topics: first, signaling those organizations that expose and recall these histories of violence through memory museums, sites of mourning, and cultural arts of resistance and remembrance; and second, pointing to the activism of those who fight for social justice today.

Speakers and schedule 

Opening Presentation [9–10 am]: The ESMA Memory Museum of Buenos Aires. This first presentation features Alejandra Naftal, Executive Director of the ESMA Museum and Site of Memory, speaking of the dark history of Argentina’s recent past and introducing the museum candidacy to UNESCO.

Panel 1 [10-11 am]: On museums and the legacy of memory work / Sobre museos y el legado del trabajo en la memoria. Panelists: Michael Lazzara: Professor of Latin American literature and Cultural Studies and Vice-Provost for Global Affairs, UC Davis. Robin DeLugan: Professor of Anthropology, UC Merced. Jacqueline Jones-Peace: Senior Attorney and Director of Development at the Equal Justice Initiative, Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery, Alabama. 

Panel 2 [11:10-12] On memory activism, gender rights, race and migrations / Sobre el activismo de memoria, derechos sexuales, raza y migraciones. Panelists: Cecilia Palmeiro (Ni una menos feminist collective); Professor of Latin American Culture, NYU and UNTREF, Buenos Aires Júpiter Peraza/ Director of Social Justice Initiatives, San Francisco Transgender District. Bill Ong Hing/ Professor of Law and Migration Studies, USF. 

Panel 3 [1-2:30pm] Situating ESMA as a Site of Remembrance, Resistance, and Reimagination / El museo ESMA como sitio para el recuerdo, la resistencia y la reimaginación. Panelists: Nora Strejilevich (Argentine writer and Professor Emerita Latin American Studies), San Diego State University. Olga Talamante (Chicana activist, political prisoner in Argentina in the 1970s). Eric Stover (Faculty Director of the Human Rights Center and Adjunct Professor of Law and Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley). 

Panel 4 [3-4:45 pm] The Politics of Cruelty: A Focus on Children and Family Separations / Las políticas de la crueldad: un enfoque en niñes y separación de familias. Panelists: Claudia Bernardi (Artist, Professor, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, and Mary Baldwin University, Virginia). Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga/ Professor, Coord. of Master’s Degree in Counseling MFT, USF  Chelis Lopez/ Journalist, Host at Radio Bilingüe, National Latinx Public Radio Network, Host and Producer of Pájaro Latinoamericano, KPOO. Dr. Alex Wilson (Opaskwayak Cree Nation), University of Saskatchewan.


Presented by University of San Francisco’s Center for Latinx Studies in the Americas (CELASA) and Latin American Studies Program (LAS), and cosponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at UC Berkeley, Roberto G Varea, Professor and Director, LAS and CELASA, USF Susana Kaiser, Professor Emerita, Media Studies and Latin American Studies, USF. Francine Masiello, Professor Emerita, Spanish and Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley.