Conference : Urban Violence and Collective Memory in the Americas

Geneva :

16-17 september 2022.

While some regions and cities of the Americas continue to experience an underlying level of systemic violence, many have also been facing recent spikes of unrest due to political crises. In recent years, citizens massed in the streets of cities like Bogota and Minneapolis, to denounce economic reforms and state violence. These protests sometimes led to extremely violent responses from the public authorities. Moreover, while some commentators observed a decrease in urban violence in the Americas during the first months of the Covid-19 crisis, the violence swiftly returned to its pre-pandemic level, and even rose in some cities, especially those in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In this context of recurring crisis, collective memory plays a central role in understanding the dynamics of violence in cities; it also constitutes an important resource for those impacted, involved or traumatized by urban violence. Many events and practices related to violence and memory are taking place in the Americas. Calls for new and alternative sites of memory, such as the memorials commemorating police violence in Chicago or lynching in Memphis, are being heard, while other long-standing ones are being hotly contested. Furthermore, the memorialization of violence is significantly accelerating, as a result of the development of social networks and digitalization in general.

This transdisciplinary conference will bring together geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, economists, activists and artists from the Americas and Europe to look at the dynamics of urban violence in the Americas. Internationally established experts will conduct dialogues on topics associated with commemorations, museums, reconciliation with gang violence, criminal governance, organized crime, lynchings and feminicides. Case studies will feature cities as diverse as Medellin, Los Angeles, Knoxville, Managua, Mexico City and Caracas. Five panels will take place at the University of Geneva, and the event will conclude with a round-table and concerts at the Kzern, a former military compound recently transformed into a cultural centre in downtown Geneva.

Download full programme HERE

Read more HERE

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