Yagmur Uygarkizi, B.A., M.A, completed her degree (B.A.) in European Social and Political Studies at the University College, London, UK, and her M.A. in Political and Legal Theory at the University of Warwick, UK. She is interested in forms of male violence and discrimination against women that are not commonly perceived as such, like prostitution or veiling. Her work appears in feminist outlets like 4W.pub, Spinning and Weaving: Radical Feminism for the 21st Century and Rain and Thunder.
This paper investigates the difficulties faced by survivors of atrocities in testifying. I work on the case of female victims of domestic torture as reported by Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald. The starting point is Giorgio Agamben’s Remnants of Auschwitz with his discussion on Primo Levi’s paradox and the testis/superstes/auctor distinction. I build on his nuances while arguing that he has not looked enough into power dynamics that render one speechless. “Unspeakable violence” refers simultaneously to incapacity and not being allowed to speak. Pain renders the victim speechless; perpetrators distort language and speak over survivors. Victims are often not allowed to speak at all. The inaudible also largely determines what can be said: potential listeners’ incomprehension and disbelief can make testimony impossible. Overall, internal psychological reasons and political structural reasons hinder the testimony of atrocity. I, therefore, investigate the figure of the superstes or survivor who is in limbo between selves, languages, worlds, and time zones.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Uygarkizi, Yagmur (2022) "Testimony, Violence, and Silence: An Examination of Agamben and His Critics," Dignity: A Journal of Analysis of Exploitation and Violence: Vol. 7: Iss. 2, Article 5. https://doi.org/10.23860/dignity.2022.07.02.05
Cultural History Commons, European History Commons, Feminist Philosophy Commons, Gender and Sexuality Commons, Holocaust and Genocide Studies Commons, Intellectual History Commons, Nonfiction Commons, Social History Commons, Social Justice Commons, Women's Studies Commons