AAA Annual Meeting Program

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This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: 'ACCOUNTABILITY BY IRON AND BRICK' — THE NAZI PAST AND THE ARCHAEOLOGIST AS WITNESS
Author: MARIA THERESIA STARZMANN (Binghamton University)   
Date/Time: Fri., 8:30 AM
Co-Author(s): MARIA THERESIA STARZMANN (Binghamton University) 
Abstract: The process of 'Vergangenheitsbewältigung'—of coming to terms with the Nazi past in Germany—touches on issues of social memory and trauma, collective loss of memory and justice. According to official state doctrine, this process involves the memorialization of the Holocaust through archiving eyewitness accounts, both of the survivors of extermination camps and, less frequently, of the Nazi perpetrators. As Agamben has argued, such archives can, however, never contain the full factual truths of events, because the kinds of accounts that are kept in the archive only refer us to the impossibility of a complete testimony. As a result there remains a gap in the archive that cannot even be closed by those who have witnessed and survived the Nazi past. A full testimony, as it would result from an absolute witnessing act by the victim, is unspeakable, while the perpetrators are incapable of testifying to their own inhumanity. Based on Foucault’s 'Archaeology of Knowledge' as well as the notion of the 'presencing of absences' as suggested by Gonzalez-Ruibal, this paper attempts a coming to terms with the archival gap itself, by way of a discursive analysis combined with the reading of the non-semantic, textured quality of things that can be unearthed by the archaeologist. Through this approach I hope to discuss the potential of the archaeologist as a witness of sorts who can produce new archives, the contents of which are located between that which has already been said and that which has the possibility of being said.

Program Number: 3-0035
Session Title: ARCHAEOLOGY IN AND OF THE PRESENT
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Fri., 8:00 AM-9:45 AM
Organizer(s): ANNUAL MEETING PROGRAM COMMITTEE (AAA) 
Chair(s): MARTA OSTOVICH (Boston University)  
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