Posted on 19 January 2021
Fantastic news for Dr Harriet Gray who has been awarded an ESRC New Investigator Grant for her project, The 'Comfort Women' and the Silence Breakers: Memorialising Sexual Violence as Feminist Politics.
The project focuses on the memorialisation of sexual violence across what feminists have termed the 'continuum of violence' spanning war and peace. It begins from the assumption that memorialisation is never a politically neutral act. Rather, the politics of memory are important, contested, potentially transformative, and imperative to understanding contemporary feminist struggles. In many cases, memorialisation serves to reinforce the (gendered and racialised) status quo. However, it can also present an opportunity to disrupt dominant ideas. Against this broad backdrop, this project will analyse a cluster of sexual violence memorialisation projects that have appeared in the last decade across the USA. It will focus on six memorials: three dedicated to peacetime sexual violence in the US, and three to the 'comfort women' of the Asia-Pacific War.