Denial, hope and transnational affective relations

  • Pauline Stoltz (Speaker)

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Paper on Denial, hope and transnational affective relations, presented by Pauline Stoltz at the Memories in transit conference.

Why did the ‘whole world’ look on during the atrocities in Indonesia in 1965 without ‘doing anything’ about the human rights abuses that were committed? I base the paper on the final chapter of a study on ‘Gender, resistance and transnational memories of violent conflicts’ (Stoltz 2020). The starting point of the study is the question why the silences and denials relating to the memories of violent conflicts in Indonesia continue, despite an increased acceptance of global norms on transitional justice. In this paper, I argue that it requires us to pay attention to the transnational affective relations of victims, perpetrators and observers. I start by using the notion of implicated subjects by Rothberg (2019) to argue for the importance of an intersectional approach in order to avoid universalizing the categories of victims, perpetrators and observers. Next, I develop the complexities of the notion of denial following Cohen (2001) in order to avoid the universalizing of emotions and feelings at either individual or collective levels. I use ideas about affective dissonance to discuss gender and resistance to denials in transnational affective relations (Hemmings, 2012; Pedwell, 2014; Hutchison, 2019 and 2016). Finally, I address how the results are relevant in transitional justice research, discourses, norms, measures and strategies and in research on the politics of memory and activism. I illustrate the argument with examples from the Indonesian novel Pulang [Home] by Leila S. Chudori (2012), which is based on research and interviews with political exiles from the military regime of President Suharto in Paris, France, and former political prisoners in Jakarta. The novel is mainly set in 1965, 1968 and especially 1998, the year the military region fell, and is told from the perspectives of different characters who are located in and move between Jakarta and Paris.
Period15 Apr 202116 Apr 2021
Event titleMemories in transit conference
Event typeConference
Conference number2
LocationCambridge, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • memories
  • transnational approaches