Transitional justice is a field of post-war inquiry and intervention focused on addressing the legacies of past human rights violations in the hope that doing so will contribute to a more peaceful and just future. The “transitional” in transitional justice refers to times of political, social, economic, and cultural transformation — indeed, upheaval — generally arising from the breakdown of an authoritarian or violent regime and the movement to one that is considered more democratic. Transitional justice embodies a liberal vision of history as progress, a teleological model in which the harms of the past may be repaired in order to produce a future characterized by the non-recurrence of violence, the rule of law, and a culture of human rights. And yet, a cursory glance across most of Latin America would lead one to question tidy boundaries between “conflict” and post-conflict” societies, and to call for a close examination of new configurations of violence and violent actors, processes of criminalization and securitization, and how the architecture of impunity is produced and maintained.
This workshop will take up these questions, incorporating insights from anthropology, security studies, gender studies, and post-colonial theory. We will explore how social phenomena and demographic groups are “securitized,” by whom, and with what consequences; how human rights activism and vernacularization may fail with regard to the “slow violence” that renders certain people “disposable” and their communities “unimagined”; how impunity functions at multiple scales of analysis; and how sexual and gender-based crimes of the past and the present remain those violations for which justice remains a distant horizon.