Mapping Memory: Visuality, Affect, and Embodied Politics
Dr. Kaitlin Murphy
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
University of Arizona
Contemporary Latin American memory politics originated in the paucity of justice, compromised democracy, and insufficient address of individual and collective memory that were unfortunately common issues in countries across the Americas in the wake of the Cold War violence, US imperialism, and internal conflicts of the latter half of the 1900s. However, scholarship has not yet adequately accounted for what I argue is a new era of memory politics, defined by new transnational strategies and political deployments of memory. In this presentation, I introduce the theory of memory mapping, defined as the aesthetic, place-based process of representing the affective, sensorial, polyvocal, and temporally layered relationship between past and present. Grounded in analysis of Guatemalan visual artist Daniel Hernández-Salazar’s iconic photo series, Esclarecimiento, which depicts four different images of a young Mayan man with superimposed “wings” made of human scapula disinterred from a mass grave, I argue that memory mapping is a visual strategy for producing new temporal and spatial arrangements of knowledge and memory that function as counter-practices to official narratives that often neglect or designate as transgressive certain memories or experiences.
Dr. Kaitlin M. Murphy is an assistant professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, faculty in the Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, and affiliated faculty in Latin American Studies and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Arizona. She is on the Executive Committee of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, where she co-leads the Hemi Pedagogy Executive Council Subcommittee in developing initiatives that intersect digital media, pedagogy, performance and politics. She is a committee member on the Hemispheric Studies Forum of the Modern Languages Association (MLA), and she is also a council member of the Visual Culture section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). She holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies and M.A. in Visual Culture, both from New York University.