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  • Alex Mendez Giner

Memory: Sites, Trauma & Materiality

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

On October 12th, I had the wonderful opportunity to be a panelist for the symposium Memory: Sites, Trauma & Materiality. The symposium was presented by The Memory Waka and hosted by Syracuse University. The Memory Waka is a partnership established in 2010 between Massey University and Syracuse University, aimed to support projects concerned with memory, including symposia and publishing the Memory Connection online journal (

This year edition, is a collaboration with new partners: Universidad de Buenos Aires, IDES (Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social), and CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas of Argentina).

As a means of conveyance, a waka is a Māori canoe. Waka has other meanings, such as a receptacle or a chief’s carved treasure box (waka huia) containing valuable possessions, including prized feathers. Waka also refers to a body of people such as a kinship group. Metaphorically, the waka is a vessel of humanity, ideas, and culture. It is also (literally) a means of travel for people allied in a common cause (paddling in the same direction!).


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