Symbolic Exits from Trauma? War Crimes Tribunals, Sexual Violence and Juridical Performances of Healing

  • Diana Anders New York University. Gallatin School of Individualized Studies (part time faculty)

Abstract

My paper critically engages the ad hoc tribunals of Yugoslavia and Rwanda’s adjudication of sexual violence, using Shoshana Felman’s account of “historic trials” as a point of departure. Felman claims that post-atrocity trials can function as new paradigms of justice that go far beyond meting out punishment; they also perform what she characterizes as “symbolic exit[s] from the injuries of traumatic history.”(1) By way of close readings of trial judgments, I consider the ways in which gender and trauma are figured in particular landmark cases. I argue that, rather than providing a stage upon which catharsis can be attained by collective and individual victims, the trails can at times occassion their own forms of symbolic gendered violence.

(1). Felman, Shoshana. The Juridical Unconscious, New York: Routledge, 2002.

Author Biography

Diana Anders, New York University. Gallatin School of Individualized Studies (part time faculty)
Diana Anders earned her Ph.D. from the Rhetoric department at UC Berkeley and is now part-time faculty at the NYU Gallatin school of individualized studies. She works on transitional justice, humanitarian law, global governance, gender and human rights, and trauma and narrative.
Published
2017-12-31
Section
Articles