Politics of Memory

Amelia Hight ’05 joins an elite group of 50 students nationwide selected to conduct independent research projects abroad on a Thomas J. Watson fellowship.

Beginning this summer, Amelia will travel to Rwanda and Cambodia to study the political motives behind genocide memorials. In the processes of reconciliation and closure after experiencing mass killings, the two countries have begun constructing memorials to honor the victims of the tragic events.Visiting the countries’ public spaces of remembrance, Amelia will assess the political motivation behind the memorials and museums as well as the impact these institutions have on the collective memory of the events.

Amelia, a cum laude graduate in politics and international relations from Taos, New Mexico, conceived the idea for her project while studying abroad in South Africa. While exploring museums in the region, she observed a campaign by the new democratic leadership of renovation to incorporate the voices repressed under the apartheid government. She anticipates the opportunity will be challenging.”Not only will I be traveling for a year alone in countries that I have never visited, but I will be researching a very serious and potentially depressing topic.” However, Amelia sees the project as an opportunity to help communities with the healing process of remembrance and reconciliation.