Transatlantic Crossings: Local Memories and Global Justice

Tuesday 21st May 2013 (17:00)
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  • Speaker: Professor Jose Colmeiro (Prince of Asturias Chair in Spanish, The University of Aukland - New Zealand)

This lecture considers the complex role of historical memory in contemporary post-dictatorship societies, with a particular examination of the post-Franco situation in Spain and similar cases in Latin America in their way of dealing, or not dealing, with the horrors of their recent past. Beyond the comparative evaluation of parallel historical situations and social developments across the Hispanic Atlantic, I focus on the role played by transnational historical memories in the different configuration of different post-dictatorship Latin nations in terms of cultural, political and legal measures. I examine in detail the case of Spain, Chile and Argentina, which have often functioned as models and mirrors looking at each other for ways of dealing with their difficult pasts, and their histories of torture, forced disappearances, and mass executions. Several questions arise from this examination: How have the measures and processes developed to deal with the memories of those events and to bring justice to their victims crossed the national borders? To what extent are they converging into a transnational legal space that accompanies the development of universal jurisdiction? What has been the role of social movements asserting “memories without borders” in the age of the globalization of justice?

The lecture examines the possibilities raised, as well as the challenges presented, towards universal jurisdiction and the eradication of impunity by the competing forces of individual nation-states, transnational grassroots networks, and supranational organizations in the new global dynamics.

  • Venue: Lecture Theatre 2, Strathcona Building