JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 313
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Trying to Transmit:
Working Through the Educative Hermeneutics
Implicit in Trials for Past Social Abuses
There is an apparent "soundness" in the pedagogical call to write, to
transmit knowledge or any lesson gathered from an episode of social
trauma, through the logic of accountability-more specifically, through
a logic that seeks to repair social significance and re-legitimate institu-
tions by way of the dynamic possibilities inherent in memorialization,
reparation, apology, deterrence, and/or reconciliation. For many the
retelling of a traumatic historical event through criminal prosecution
aspires to be most effective for putting forth such a socially adaptive and
restorative means of accountability.' Significantly, trials for past social
abuses are invoked in order to provide the necessary social impetus to
rehabilitate our (institutional) relation to the past and to the future. In this
sense, the legal forum is valued for its ability in procuring a public space
that not only exhibits the various potential degrees of accountability/
atonement with regard to a historical record of past traumas, but that also
ends up showcasing the collective possibilities (futurity) of a recon-
structed (healed) social bond.
Inasmuch as this public process depends on the memory of the event
as a means of "asserting legal rights or officially stigmatizing their
violation," criminal trials-according to Mark Osiel-"become secular
rituals of commemoration" (Mass 6). During the last part of the 20th
century, such pedagogical law-related activities have "increasingly been
used in several societies with aview to teaching a particular interpretation
of the country's [traumatic] history, one expected to have a salubrious
impact on its solidarity" (6). Whereas conventional commemorative
activities often invoke memories of social trauma through an overly
jac 24.2 (2004)
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Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition (U.S.). JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004, periodical, 2004; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28644/m1/59/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .