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Creating the WitnessDocumenting Genocide on Film, Video, and the Internet$
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Leshu Torchin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816676224

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816676224.001.0001

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Testimonial Encounters and Tempering the Celebratory Narrative

(p.216) Conclusion
Creating the Witness

Leshu Torchin

University of Minnesota Press

This book has explored the role of screen media—film, video, and Internet—in constructing the popular, political, and legal imaginary of genocide and human rights. It has shown that it is not the mere fact of visuality that catalyzes the chain reaction of exposure, revelation, and justice; rather, the processes and players of visuality generate a testimonial encounter from a spectacle of suffering, and that intertextual and extrafilmic practices help ferry the responsibility of witnessing publics into political action. Strategically deployed aesthetic and formal elements—themselves drawn from visual traditions, popular film, and historical and social contexts—anchor the meaning of the atrocity display and produce ethical claims. These rhetorical choices rely on the circuits that relay the visual material, circuits comprising producers, distributors, venues, and, most importantly, audiences. The programs and activities designed around screenings are crucial in channeling emotional and ethical claimst into action.

Keywords:   screen media, film, video, Internet, genocide, human rights, visuality, justice, suffering, witnessing

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