Advertisement

Valuing the Witness: Typologies of Testimony

  • Meg JensenEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Life Writing book series (PSLW)

Abstract

Jensen provides a detailed analysis of the category of the witness in the context of trauma, via testimony composed in response to disaster, terrorism, and genocide. Drawing on testimonial case studies from witnesses to the Holocaust, the Anfal, the Armenian and Rwandan genocides, the Challenger disaster and the terror attacks at Brussels Airport, Jensen identifies a series of dialectical frames that influence how private witnessing becomes public speech: Memory Effects, Dialogue Effects, and the effects of Procurement for Specific Audiences. Uniquely, Jensen maps the complex interactions of these interdisciplinary frames (psychological, biological, historical, political, and cultural) illustrating how these inform what witnesses say and how they are heard. Valuing the Witness concludes that the witness statement in the context of post-conflict survivor testimony, is always also a palimpsest: a layering of cause and effect under pressure from external social/historical challenges as well as idiosyncratic life experiences and powerful bodily sensations.

References

  1. African Rights. 1994. Rwanda: Death Despair and Defiance. London: African Rights.Google Scholar
  2. Agger, Inger, and Søren Buus Jensen. 1990. “Testimony as Ritual and Evidence in Psychotherapy for Political Refugees.” Journal of Traumatic Stress 3 (1): 115–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alcan, Louise. 1980. Le temps ecartele. Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne: Impr. Truchet.Google Scholar
  4. Andrews, Molly. 2003. “Grand National Narratives and the Project of Truth Commissions: A Comparative Analysis.” Media, Culture & Society 25 (1): 45–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arendt, Hannah. 1963a. “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” Parts 1–4. New Yorker, February 16–March 16.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1963b. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  7. Barrett, Lisa Feldman, Eliza Bliss-Moreau, Seth Duncan, Scott Rauch, and Christopher Wright. 2007. “The Amygdala and the Experience of Affect.” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 2 (2): 73–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bernard-Donals, Michael. 2009. Forgetful Memory: Representation and Remembrance in the Wake of the Holocaust. Ithaca, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  9. Blackwell, Richard. 1988. “Testimony and Psychotherapy: A Comment on Buss and Agger: The Testimony Method.” Refugee Participation Network Paper 3: 1–4.Google Scholar
  10. Dawes, James. 2007. That the World May Know: Bearing Witness to Atrocity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 2014. Evil Men. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Dawidowicz, Lucy. 1981. The Holocaust and the Historians. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Dunsmoor, Joseph, Vishnu Murty, Lila Davachi, and Elizabeth Phelps. 2015. “Emotional Learning Selectively and Retroactively Strengthens Memories for Related Events.” Nature 520: 345–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ferguson, Euan. 2015. “The Eichmann Show.” The Observer, January 11.Google Scholar
  15. Genocide Education Project. 1985. “I Witness.” Accessed February 3, 2018. https://genocideeducation.org/resources/survivor-accounts/.
  16. Gilmore, Leigh. 2017. Tainted Witness: Why We Doubt What Women Say About Their Lives. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Greenspan, Henry. 1998. On Listening to Holocaust Survivors: Recounting and Life History. London: Praeger.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 2014. “The Unsaid, the Incommunicable, the Unbearable, and the Irretrievable.” Oral History Review 41 (2): 229–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gouri, Haim. 2004. Facing the Glass Booth: The Jerusalem Trial of Adolf Eichmann. Translated by Michael Swirsky. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hausner, Gideon. 1966. Justice in Jerusalem. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  21. Hsu, Hua. 2012. “The Fraud Squad.” Book Forum, March/February 2009. http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/015_05/3287.
  22. International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict. 2014. UK: Foreign and Commonwealth Office.Google Scholar
  23. Klee, Ernst, Will Dressen, and Volker Reiss. 1988. Those Were the Days: The Holocaust\ As Seen by the Perpetrators and Bystanders. London: Hamish Hamilton.Google Scholar
  24. Konnikova, Maria. 2015. “You Have No Idea What Happened.” New Yorker, February 4.Google Scholar
  25. Levi, Primo. 1988. The Drowned and the Saved. London: Michael Joseph.Google Scholar
  26. Lingens-Reiner, Ella. 1948. Prisoners of Fear. London: Victor Gollancz.Google Scholar
  27. McDonald-Gibson, Charlotte. 2016. “Eyewitness Accounts from Inside Brussels Airport.” Time, March 22.Google Scholar
  28. Neisser, Ulric, and Nicole Harsch. 1992. “Empirical Studies. Phantom Flashbulbs: False Recollections of Hearing the News About Challenger.” In Affect and Accuracy in Recall: Studies of “Flashbulb” Memories, edited by Eugene Winograd and Ulric Neisse, 9–31. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Qurbany Arif. 2011a. The Arab Shovel Driver Who Buried Anfal Victims. Translated from Kurdish by Abdulkarim Uzeri. Kirkuk: Kirkuk Intellectual Association Printing Project.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 2011b. Faraj: The Second Witness of the Anfal. Translated from Kurdish by Abdulkarim Uzeri. Kirkuk: Kirkuk Intellectual Association Printing Project.Google Scholar
  31. Rimmele, Ulrike, Lila Davachi, Radoslav Petrov, Sonya Dougal, and Elizabeth Phelps. 2011. “Emotion Enhances the Subjective Feeling of Remembering, Despite Lower Accuracy for Contextual Details.” Emotion 11(3): 553–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Smith, Sidonie, and Kay Shaeffer. 2004. Human Rights and Narrative Lives: The Ethics of Recognition. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  33. Smith, Sidonie, and Julia Watson. 2012. “Metrics of Authenticity, Collective I-Formations and the Ethic of Verification in First-Person Testimony.” Biography 35 (4): 590–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sontag, Susan. 2003. Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tadjo, Veronique. 2002. The Shadow of Imana Travels in the Heart of Rwanda Translated by Veronique Wakerley. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  36. The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Court of Jerusalem. 9 vols. 1992–1995. Jerusalem: Trust for the Publication of the Proceedings of the Eichmann Trial.Google Scholar
  37. Tulving, Endel. 1985. “Memory and Consciousness.” Canadian Psychology 26 (1): 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Videbeck, Sheila. 2011. Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health and Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.Google Scholar
  39. Whitlock, Gillian. 2015. Postcolonial Life Narrative: Testimonial Transactions. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Wieviorka, Annette. 2006. The Era of the Witness. Translated by Jared Stark. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kingston UniversityKingston upon ThamesUK

Personalised recommendations