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Primo Levi and Testimony, Today

Lecture by Marta Marín-Dòmine

Debate

Just months before the 35th anniversary of the death of Primo Levi, Marta Marín-Dòmine reflects on the condition of the contemporary witness by looking at the figure of the author.

Beyond offering one of the most striking accounts of the experience of a concentration camp, Primo Levi’s work has generated a field of knowledge and a benchmark epistemological framework for the condition of the witness. Today, at a moment in history where witnesses of different kinds of violence, especially violence of colonial origin and gender-based violence, are converging, Levi's work offers us a unique perspective from which to reflect on the construction of both individual and collective memory and on the paradoxes of the transmission of lived experience.

From #metoo to #blacklivesmatter and the victims of the pandemic, the contemporary testimonial condition, often articulated through digital media, leads to mass reactions that can cross borders instantly, with unpredictable consequences. Despite the distance in time and context, Levi’s work provides us with valid tools for interpreting the experience of constructing collective memory today and tracing a genealogy of the testimonial condition in our contemporary world.

This lecture is part of the course Primo Levi: Literature and Testimony at the Institut d’Humanitats de Barcelona.

Presenters: Judit Carrera

Participants: Marta Marín-Dòmine

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