Alina Giesen

 (PhD candidate, Philipps-Universität Marburg / Germany)

“Contested Narratives of the Past: Morocco’s Years of Lead and Challenging the Silences” (PhD candidate, Philipps-Universität Marburg / Germany)

Alina Giesen is a PhD researcher at the Center for Conflict Studies at the Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany. Her research examines the narration of memory in Morocco, focusing on official as well as unofficial transitional justice initiatives to come to terms with the so-called Years of Lead. She is interested in memory and memory politics, and how history is harnessed and retold from the demands and perspective of the present. Her research interests further include narrative theory and narrative analysis. Alina holds a master’s degree in Conflict, Security and Development from King’s College London and a BA in History and Politics from the University of Oxford.

Project Memory & Justice

Contested Narratives of the Past: (Re)telling and Remembering Morocco's Years of Lead

Narratives of historical events and the appropriate form of their commemoration are often highly contested, particularly in societies where there is ongoing debate about how to achieve some form of justice after widespread past violence or repression.

This research project examines narratives of past violence and the interaction between them using the case study of the “Years of Lead” in Morocco and the subsequent transitional justice process. Specifically, it examines whether and how the work and records of truth commissions impact the narratives of victimization told by different memory actors in Moroccan society. The project thus focuses on how memory actors tell the past, including how elements are intertwined or left out, thus creating the narratives presented. To this end, I use a narrative analysis that I have adapted that combines integrated readings and thematic analyses. Narrative interviews with individuals are analyzed alongside written sources.

By making victimization narratives and their interaction the focus of the study, this work will help elucidate whether, and in what ways, narrative work can be constructively harnessed in transformations to promote inclusive peace and justice in the future.