Personal testimonies are the life force of human rights work, and rights claims have brought profound power to the practice of life writing. This volume explores the connections and conversations between human rights and life writing through a dazzling, international collection of essays by survivor-writers, scholars, and human rights advocates. In We Shall Bear Witness, editors Meg Jensen and Margaretta Jolly assemble moving personal accounts from those who have endured persecution, imprisonment, and torture; meditations on experiences of injustice and protest by creative writers and filmmakers; and innovative research on ways that digital media, commodification, and geopolitics are shaping what is possible to hear and say.
The book’s primary sections-testimony, recognition, representation, and justice-evoke the key stages in turning experience into a human rights life story and attend to such diverse and varied arts as autobiography, documentary film, report, oral history, blog, and verbatim theatre. The result is a ground-breaking book that sensitively examines how life and rights narratives have become so powerfully entwined. Also included is an innovative guide to teaching human rights and life narrative in the classroom.