In Mapping Memory: Visuality, Affect, and Embodied Politics in the Americas, Murphy analyzes a range of visual memory practices that have emerged in opposition to political discourses and visual economies that work to suppress certain subjects and overlook past and present human rights abuses. From the Southern Cone to Central America and the US-Mexico borderlands, and across documentary film, photography, performance, memory sites, and new media, she examines how these visual texts and sites use memory as a form of sociopolitical intervention. Interweaving visual and performance theory with memory and affect studies, Murphy theorizes memory mapping as a visual strategy for producing new temporal and spatial arrangements of knowledge intended to function as counter-practices to official narratives that often neglect or designate as transgressive certain memories or experiences. Published by Fordham University Press in 2019.
Upcoming Articles and Chapters
Murphy, Kaitlin M. “Fear and Loathing in Monuments: Rethinking the Politics and Practices of Monumentality and Monumentalization.” (Forthcoming in Memory Studies.)
Murphy, Kaitlin M. “Memory Mapping as Activist Intervention.” In The Routledge Handbook of Memory Activism, edited by Yifat Gutman, Jenny Wüstenberg, et al. (Forthcoming with Routledge Press.)
Recently Published Articles and Chapters
Murphy, Kaitlin M. “Art as Atrocity Prevention: The Auschwitz Institute, Artivism, and the 2019 Venice Biennale,” Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal 15, no. 1 (2021): 68–96.
Although largely overlooked in genocide and atrocity prevention scholarship, the arts have a critical role to play in mitigating risk factors associated with genocide and atrocity. Grounded in analysis of “Artivism: The Atrocity Prevention Pavilion,” the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities’ 2019 Venice Biennale exhibition and drawing from fieldwork, interviews, and secondary research, this article explores why one of the leading NGOs working to prevent future violent conflict would choose to curate an art exhibit at the Venice Biennale and what might be accomplished through such an exhibit. Ultimately, the Artivism exhibit, in its collection and range, provides a canvasing of multiple and directed creative interventions that allow for deeper understanding of how the arts can be used as a tool for mitigating risk factors associated with the prevention of genocide and atrocity in such a manner that has important ramifications for future prevention efforts.
Murphy, Kaitlin M. “Braiding Borders”: Performance as Care and Resistance on the US-Mexico Border.” TDR: The Drama Review 64, no. 4 (2020), 72-83.
Through analysis of Braiding Borders (2017), a site-specific performance in which women from both Mexico and the US braided their hair together into a long line of bodies and hair that traversed the US-Mexico border, this article investigates the potential for performance to challenge exclusionary geopolitical demarcations and physical and rhetorical violences against female, immigrant, and Latinx bodies. It argues that this collective, performative mobilization of bodies functioned as a means through which to dismantle and reinvent mobilities of belonging and body politics of dissent.
Murphy, Kaitlin M. “Witnessing the Past and the Present: Photography and Guatemala’s Fight for Historical Dialogue.” In Historical Dialogue and the Prevention of Mass Atrocities, edited by Elazar Barkan, Constantin Goschler, and James Waller, 235-252. London: Routledge Press, 2020.
This chapter explores the relationship between historical dialogue, mass atrocity prevention, and images in the context of Guatemala’s precarious transition to peace. Through analysis of Guatemalan photographer Daniel Hernández-Salazar’s 1998 triptych of three images, entitled, respectively, No Veo, No Oigo, Me Callo (I don’t see, I don’t hear, I remain silent), I argue that Esclarecimiento is an explicit repudiation of the paucity of justice and grossly inadequate address of both human rights abuses and military impunity that marked Guatemala’s official transition to democracy. Furthermore, Esclarecimiento functions as a form of visual witness to painful historical legacies, and as a public memorial for those victims whose deaths have gone largely unaddressed. As is made clear throughout this volume, without historical dialogue or substantive reparative efforts aimed at preventing future mass atrocity, transitions from war to peace are often transitions in name only. Extant structures of power remain intact, and violence runs the risk of becoming cyclical. In situations in which official mechanisms of dialogue, memorialization, and justice are lacking, the public sphere often remains one of the few places for citizens to be heard and to fight for democracy and reform. Public and artistic practices of protest and remembrance can function as critical intervention in the public sphere, highlight where official processes have fallen short, and contribute to demands for justice, historical dialogue, and the prevention of future violence.
Murphy, Kaitlin M. “Against Precarious Abstraction: Bearing Witness to Migration Through Moysés Zúñiga Santiago’s “La Bestia” Photographs.” Journal of Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture 1, no. 1 (2019), 7-22.
Through analysis of Mexican photojournalist Moysés Zúñiga Santiago’s (b. 1979) series La Bestia (The Beast, ca. 2011–16), this article examines the potential for photographs to challenge how certain bodies enter into visual circulation—the moment at which, and how, they are “allowed” to become seen. Zúñiga’s photographs challenge visual economies that depict migrants as faceless laborers or criminals, and reframe contemporary immigration as a labor of everyday survival. The author reads the photographs alongside other contemporaneous visual culture texts about immigration and the US-Mexico border, and in the context of a dearth of images that document the actual process of Latinx migration toward the United States. Grounded in this analysis, the article argues that the work of the photojournalist is to document and transmit the magnitude of the atrocity in a manner that foments new ways of witnessing contemporary migration. The fundamental question thus becomes: Is it possible (and if so, how) to visually create conditions for viewers to more effectively bear witness to contemporary migration? Furthermore, how does this impact our understanding of what it means to bear witness?