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K.L. Reich

Joaquim Amat-Piniella; Robert Finley and Marta Marín-Dòmine, translators.

“When the war is over, remember all this. Remember me,” implores one of the book’s characters on his deathbed, and it is this call to bear witness that Amat-Piniella takes up in his account of the Spanish Republican fighters who were exiled in France at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 and soon swept up into the German concentration camp system.

CMTS Dialogues Series

In this unconventional series, short, thought-provoking texts analyze a specific work related to memory and testimony in the contemporary world. Each is accompanied by a set of questions addressed to the author by a respondent. Intentionally non-conclusive, these texts seek to engage a community of readers in a virtual debate in order to further discussion on salient aspects of our here and now.

Books in the CMTS Dialogues Series:

The Camp: Narratives of Internment and Exclusion

Colman Hogan and Marta Marín-Domìne (editors).

The camp is nothing if not diverse: in kind, scope, and particularity; in sociological and juridical configuration; in texture, iconography, and political import. Adjectives of camp specificity embrace a spectrum from extermination and concentration, to detention, migration, deportation, and refugee camps. And while the geographic range covered by contributors is hardly global, it is broad: Chile, Rwanda, Canada, the US, Central Europe, Morocco, Algeria, South Africa, France and Spain. And yet — is to so characterize the camp to run the risk of diffusing what in origin is a concentration into a paratactical series of “identity particularisms?”

While The Camp does not seek to antithetically promulgate a universalist vision, it does aim to explore the imbrication of the particular and the universal, to analyze the structure of a camp or camps, and to call attention the role of the listener in the construction of the testimony. For, by naming what cannot be said, is not every narrative of internment and exclusion a potential site of agency, articulating the inner splitting of language that Giorgio Agamben defines as the locus of testimony: “to bear witness is to place oneself in one’s own language in the position of those who have lost it, to establish oneself in a living language as if it were dead, or in a dead language as if it were living.”

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Marta Marin-Domine