We, the organizers, want to welcome you to the Blog section of the Camps Conference 2022. Over the course of the weeks leading up to the conference, we will share information and news through this medium.
The conference “Camps, (In)justice, and Solidarity in the Americas” developed out of ongoing talks and discussions of these topics after Don E. Walicek (Department of English, University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras Campus) visited the University of Graz and the Center for Inter-American Studies as a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor of Cultural Studies in 2019. During his stay, he taught a seminar titled “The Humanities Respond: Ethics, Justice, and Hope at Guantánamo Bay”. In order to not only present students with a theoretical perspective on the possibilities of responses from the humanities, an event was organized, which Mohamedou Ould Slahi, former detainee of the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp, virtually joined due to persistent travel restrictions, reading from his book Guantánamo Diary, offering a first-hand account of not only the realities within the detention camp, but also the difficulties he encountered in publishing his writing and having his voice heard.
A few weeks later, historian Christian Cwik, who focuses his research on the regions of Latin America and the Caribbean, African and Jewish Diaspora, and the Shoa-history, joined the ongoing exchange between Don E. Walicek and cultural studies scholar Roberta Maierhofer from the Center for Inter-American (University of Graz). Cwik and Walicek collaborated within the Graz International Summer School 2019, teaching a seminar with the title “Histories and Politics of State, Nation, and Identity”. After the conclusion of the Summer School, all individuals involved agreed that the gained insight from the collaborations up to this point had made it clear that a larger undertaking and project was neccessary to address questions raised by historical and recent developments regarding camps, (in)justice, and solidarity in the Americas.
We are looking forward to the forthcoming conference to discuss these matters from a multitude of perspectives.