We were asked to write a blog post regarding our time at the GHI but I was not sure on what to write about. We were together for nine days, and I was affected in many ways during that time. I came back home and the sense of being part of something powerful was still on, as if we had different ways of processing the experiences through time. Then I came across Favret-Saada’s piece on being affected:
The process of understanding is spread out in time and disjointed: in the instant one is the most affected, one cannot recount the experience. In the moment when it is recounted, one cannot understand it. The time for analysis comes later (FAVRET-SAADA, 2012:443).
Time is key to make us think through experiences. Time helps us going beyond the first (and sometimes overwhelming) impressions. It is only through time that some layers of understanding might appear. Looking now, in a more distant way, I see that the readings, presentations and discussions we have had at the summer school were great moments for discovering and knowing more about themes and tools that enriched (and enlarged) my perspectives. We usually get used to discussing among our research groups and keep forgetting about the creativity that comes with subjects, approaches and methodological frames that we are not used to deal with. Being reminded of that while exchanging with great people around is such a privilege.
The fieldtrip to Sarajevo and Srebrenica was also an intense experience. I felt speechless in the following days after returning from Srebrenica. The lack of words were then replaced by an eagerness to know more of the complexities that built the field we were walking through. Time was also tricky and distensible in the experiences we have had while in Bosnia: how to recognize the pain of the others, how to manage memory, how to deal with narratives of death (and of the dead) when it seems that the horror has happened just now? The discussions on the fieldtrip and our groups final projects were moments to think and build approaches together: our senses and even our lack of words were engaged into ways of framing and dealing with the tangled complexities evolving war, trauma and memory, gendered building of nations, democracy and its crisis, and the polyphony on such categories.
Thinking of all the things that affected me during the Summer School, the one that I hold onto is the reminding of the collective character of knowledge. The several experiences we have had, inside and outside classes, brought together different people engaged on debating and learning. This kind of commitment is necessary for us to build solidarity networks: we might face different challenges on our own countries and universities. Nevertheless, we gather our differences as a tool to keep insisting on dialogues and exchanges that makes our knowledge more powerful. I hope the collective character of knowledge and the sense of being part of it keeps going through time.