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Remembering Activism: The Cultural Memory of Protest in Europe


Memory Activism and Transitional Justice in Spain

David Beorlegui Zarranz On 15 September 2020, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved a draft bill on the Law of Democratic Memory which acknowledged the crimes committed during the Civil War (1936-1939) and the Francoist military dictatorship (1939-1978). Despite the magnitude of the Franco regime’s violence and the deep scars it left on the social…

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Duygu Erbil

Activism Remembered Through the Courtroom

Duygu Erbil The widespread availability of smartphones has provided activists with new tools to document protest and ensure that its memory is preserved. The Internet is full of advice on how to keep electronic devices safe during demonstrations so as to minimize the risk of evidence – of numbers, of peacefulness, of police brutality –…

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Why Monuments Matter (And When They Don’t)

Ann Rigney In the centre of Paris on the afternoon of 16 May 1871 a huge crowd was waiting to the sound of the Marseillaise. Around a quarter past five, an expectant silence fell on the company as, after hours of preparation, the sign was given for the cables to be pulled. All eyes were…

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‘My Body My Choice’: Why the Anti-Lockdown Protesters are Appropriating Memory

Tashina Blom While Trump is egging them on and Bolsonaro has even joined them and called them “patriots”, the protesters taking to the streets against the coronavirus lockdown are mobilizing more than just nationalist rhetoric. They are weaponising feminist slogans from the abortion rights movement. The question is: why? Why would anti-lockdown protests become a…

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Delacroix in Hong Kong: Activism, Memory and Visual Representation

Thomas Smits Yesterday evening World Press photo announced the winners of its 2020 contest. Nicolas Asfouri won the first prize in the General News category for his series ‘Hong Kong Unrest,’ which documents the vehement, unprecedentedly-large and long-lasting, anti-government protests in the city. Describing the first picture in the series, the World Press website notes:…

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Clara Tumbnail

International Women’s Day: Why is it on 8 March?

Clara Vlessing On 8 March, International Women’s Day (IWD), last year I marched through the streets of Amsterdam in a tide of shouting placard-wielding protestors. By planning the protest on this day, its organisers imbued it with a sense of historicity, aiming to emphasise the changes and continuities in a long-running progression of women’s marches…

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My Grandmother the Militant: Activism as a Family Story

Daniele Salerno Her name was Alicia Raquel Delaporte but everybody called her “la gorda Silvia”. For the 21-year-old artist Ezequiel Yrurtia la gorda Silvia was “mi abuela”: his grandmother. Yet, Yrurtia never met his grandmother. Instead he decided to reconstruct her story by gathering pictures, oral testimonies and traces of her life. The result is…

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ActivistTM: Conspicuous Consumption and Social Change

Sophie van den Elzen What does the good fight smell like? For the 2019 holiday season, well-known cosmetics franchise The Body Shop has laid claim to the answer and has bottled a “lasting warm and spicy scent” under the name ActivistTM. I recently came across this product during my Christmas shopping and had difficulty picturing…

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Recursive Waves

Ann Rigney In the last weeks the headlines have been full of protesters. Each day seems to introduce a new flashpoint. Thousands of Dutch farmers on tractors resisting government measures to reduce nitrogen emissions while thousands of their fellow citizens perform lie-ins in the name of Extinction Rebellion. A massive crowd marching on Westminster waving…

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