Truth Seeking in Syrian Literary Writing

Panel presentation at the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) General Conference

In this paper, Brigitte Herremans examines the relationship between Syrian literary writing and truth-seeking. Based on empirical research conducted with Syrian writers in the diaspora, I first argue that a wide variety of these authors share the aspiration with justice actors to counter forcible forgetting. Secondly, taking the novel Planet of Clay by Samar Yazbek as a departing point, I examine the potential of fiction to ‘speak about the unspeakable’ and to present the reader with the complexity of truth claims. To conclude, I posit that Syrian literary texts addressing injustices can be considered as truth practices part of the ecosystemic framework of transitional justice initiatives, as they open spaces for truth-seeking that complement other understandings of truth – largely tethered to forensic truth – in the Syrian context.

Section: The Art of Justice: Roles, Performance and Audience in Human Rights and Transitional Justice

Date & Time

September 5, 2023

13:30 - 15:15


Organized by ECPR