Of Statues and Stories: Reconfiguring the Democratic Memoryscape

A reflection on the toppling of Edward Colson's statue in Bristol in the context of British politics of memory

Public art attests to a political desire to imprint a certain vision of the past on the country’s memoryscape and to anchor it in citizens’ minds and affective registers. Statues, memorials and monuments aim to make permanent – to ‘set in stone’ – a certain view of history, usually in glorious and heroic terms. Hierarchies of all kinds (political, classed, racial, gendered) are reflected in – and reproduced through – public art. What is celebrated or commemorated is as significant as what is forgotten: defeats, reprehensible deeds by the ‘nation’, [...]

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Notes from the Margin on the Greyzone's Final Conference

A brief report on the Greyzone final conference by dr. Medria Connolly and Dr. Bryan Nichols


Medria Connolly and Bryan Nichols

February 2020

“I open at the close.”[i] Harry Potter fans will recognize this quotation as the script written on the Snitch that contained the Resurrection Stone. While the Resurrection Stone allowed Harry to choose life or death, at a more psychological level it represented a transformation of self through a greater understanding of the emotional complexities underlying his life experiences. The stone symbolized a dredging up, or resurrection if you will, of a felt sense of [...]

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Greyzone's Final Conference

Greyzone's final conference took place in Edinburgh at the end of January 2020.

The conference examined complex processes of political memory-formation in the wake of systemic violence, addressing competing national mythologies, their affective modalities, genres and material instantiations. It paid particular attention to critical artistic interventions, drawing on their ability to reveal the ambiguities of political violence and to sketch images of alternative futures. Our goal was to displace the predominant victim-perpetrator binary, challenge linear political visions of transcending the past and nurture visions of solidarity that remain deeply anchored in the murky terrain of past complicities and resistances. The conference brought together [...]

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New Greyzone Book — Rethinking Political Judgement: Arendt and Existentialism

Maša Mrovlje's monograph just came out with Edinburgh University Press. A must read for everyone interested in the complexity and ambiguity of political judgment.

How can we reinvigorate the human capacity for political judgement as a practical activity capable of addressing the uncertainties of our post-foundational world?

In the face of pervasive injustice and suffering that continuously confound our moral expectations, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and seek solace in despair. More often than not, our judgements and actions seem obliterated under the weight of larger forces and processes, to the point of making the most steadfast pursuit of moral ideals end in disaster. These quandaries foreground political judgement as a topic of [...]

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