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FA/CRA Forum: Ariella Aïsha Azoulay on “Unlearning Imperial Temporality: Crimes Against Humanity and Repair”
17 March 2021

Ariella Aïsha Azoulay discusses “Unlearning Imperial Temporality” in relation to the work of Forensic Architecture. Imperial temporality facilitates imperial crimes. The category of the ‘extrajudicial execution’ is a paradigmatic example. The category refers to a situation where a person has been killed without a judicial process. However, it is this dissociation of such killing from the legal system that camouflage that the extrajudicial killing is part of an ongoing crime against humanity.  Unlearning imperial temporality would require finding the source of the legality of the extrajudicial killing. Extrajudicial killing doesn’t violate the law or happens without a legal process; it is rather the eruption of the dazzling clarity of the legal system. Unlearning imperial temporality requires attending to the root of the legal regime, to the imperial rights it is made to protect, without which these killings will not be made into discrete cases that at best can be proven to be in violation of the legal system rather then its intended outcome. Forensically speaking, unlearning imperial temporality requires potentializing the temporality of the ‘extrajudicial killing’ and making it appear for what it is - a crime against humanity. In my presentation I’ll discuss a few examples of potentializing history and the importance of the category of crimes against humanity for the discourse of repair.