International Coalition of Sites of Conscience

The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience is a worldwide network of “Sites of Conscience” – historic sites specifically dedicated to remembering past struggles for justice and addressing their contemporary legacies.

Internship Spring 2011

Maggie Schreiner: working on the Guantanamo Public History Project, implementing and maintaining an internal database of materials and images, as well as conducting interviews related to Guantanamo Bay’s one hundred year history.

This past semester I had the opportunity to intern at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, where I worked on a variety of facets of the Guantánamo Public Memory Project. Using Web 2.0 technology, oral testimony, photographs and documents, the project aims to build public awareness of the many histories of the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base and thus encourage open and informed debate and action.

On April 28th and 29th 2011, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, with Columbia University partners, hosted “Remembering Guantánamo,” a working group and symposium. This event brought together scholars, attorneys, activists and museum professionals to explore strategies for encouraging public engagement with the histories and contemporary issues relating to the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base. As part of my internship responsibilities, I interviewed twelve conference presenters and participants, including academic Jana Lipman, who has investigated the experiences of Cuban workers on the Naval Base and photographer Edmund Clark, who has documented the British experience of detention at Guantánamo.

I also conducted an in-depth interview with Brandt Goldstein, author of Storming the Court: How a Band of Law Students Fought the President – and Won which chronicles the experiences of Haitian refugees detained at Guantánamo in the 1990s and the legal battles to win their freedom. Goldstein offered interesting reflections on the Haitian refugee crisis overall, and discussed the Obama administration’s current Guantánamo policy in relation to Bill Clinton’s failure to close the Haitian detention camps 1993.

Further reading:

Clark, Edmund. Guantánamo: If the Light Goes Out. Stockport, England, Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2010.

Goldstein, Brandt. Storming the Court: How a Band of Law Students Fought the President – and Won. New York: Scribner, 2005.

Lipman, Jana. Guantánamo: A Working-Class History Between Empire and Revolution. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2008.

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