Accounting for Violence offers bold new perspectives on the politics of memory in Latin America. Scholars from across the humanities and social sciences provide in-depth analyses of the political economy of memory in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay, countries that emerged from authoritarian rule in the 1980s and 1990s. The contributors take up issues of authenticity and commodification, as well as the “never again” imperative implicit in memory goods and memorial sites. They describe how bookstores, cinemas, theaters, the music industry, and television shows (and their commercial sponsors) trade in testimonial and fictional accounts of the authoritarian past; how tourist itineraries have come to include trauma sites and memorial museums; and how memory studies has emerged as a distinct academic field profiting from its own journals, conferences, book series, and courses. The memory market, described in terms of goods, sites, producers, marketers, consumers, and patrons, presents a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, commodifying memory potentially cheapens it. On the other hand, too little public exposure may limit awareness of past human-rights atrocities; such awareness may help to prevent their recurring.
Contributors. Rebecca J. Atencio, Ksenija Bilbija, Jo-Marie Burt, Laurie Beth Clark, Cath Collins, Susana Draper, Nancy Gates-Madsen, Susana Kaiser, Cynthia E. Milton, Alice A. Nelson, Carmen Oquendo Villar, Leigh A. Payne, José Ramón Ruisánchez Serra, Maria Eugenia Ulfe
In the long history of warfare and cultural and ethnic violence, the twentieth century was exceptional for producing institutions charged with seeking accountability or redress for violent offenses and human rights abuses across the globe, often forcing nations to confront the consequences of past atrocities. The Holocaust ended with trials at Nuremberg, apartheid in South Africa concluded with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Gacaca courts continue to strive for closure in the wake of the Rwandan genocide. Despite this global trend toward accountability, American collective memory appears distinct in that it tends to glorify the nation’s past, celebrating triumphs while eliding darker episodes in its history. In American Memories, sociologists Joachim Savelsberg and Ryan King rigorously examine how the United States remembers its own and others’ atrocities and how institutional responses to such crimes, including trials and tribunals, may help shape memories and perhaps impede future violence. American Memories uses historical and media accounts, court records, and survey research to examine a number of atrocities from the nation’s past, including the massacres of civilians by U.S. military in My Lai, Vietnam, and Haditha, Iraq. The book shows that when states initiate responses to such violence—via criminal trials, tribunals, or reconciliation hearings—they lay important groundwork for how such atrocities are viewed in the future. Trials can serve to delegitimize violence—even by a nation’s military— by creating a public record of grave offenses. But the law is filtered by and must also compete with other institutions, such as the media and historical texts, in shaping American memory. Savelsberg and King show, for example, how the My Lai slayings of women, children, and elderly men by U.S. soldiers have been largely eliminated from or misrepresented in American textbooks, and the army’s reputation survived the episode untarnished. The American media nevertheless evoked the killings at My Lai in response to the murder of twenty-four civilian Iraqis in Haditha, during the war in Iraq. Since only one conviction was obtained for the My Lai massacre, and convictions for the killings in Haditha seem increasingly unlikely, Savelsberg and King argue that Haditha in the near past is now bound inextricably to My Lai in the distant past. With virtually no criminal convictions, and none of higher ranks for either massacre, both events will continue to be misrepresented in American memory. In contrast, the book examines American representations of atrocities committed by foreign powers during the Balkan wars, which entailed the prosecution of ranking military and political leaders. The authors analyze news accounts of the war’s events and show how articles based on diplomatic sources initially cast Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in a less negative light, but court-based accounts increasingly portrayed Milosevic as a criminal, solidifying his image for the public record. American Memories provocatively suggests that a nation’s memories don’t just develop as a rejoinder to events—they are largely shaped by institutions. In the wake of atrocities, how a state responds has an enduring effect and provides a moral framework for whether and how we remember violent transgressions. Savelsberg and King deftly show that such responses can be instructive for how to deal with large-scale violence in the future, and hopefully how to deter it. A Volume in the American Sociological Association’s Rose Series in Sociology.
After more than four decades, the Viet Nam War continues to haunt our national memory, culture, politics, and military actions. In this probing interdisciplinary study, Susan Lyn Eastman examines a range of cultural productions—from memorials and poetry to cinematic and fictional narratives—that have tried to grapple with the psychic afterlife of traumatic violence resulting from the ill-fated conflict in Southeast Asia.
Underpinning the book is the notion of “prosthetic memory,” which involves memories acquired by those with no direct experience of the war, such as readers and filmgoers. Prosthetic memories, Eastman argues, refuse to relegate the war to the forgotten past and challenge the authenticity of experience, thus ensuring its continued relevance to debates over America’s self-conception, specifically her coinage of the “New Vietnam Syndrome,” and the country’s role in world affairs when it comes to contemporary military interventions.
With the notable exception of the Veterans’ Memorial in Washington, Eastman’s focus is on works produced from the Persian Gulf War (1990–91) through the post-9/11 “War on Terror.” She looks not only at American representations of the war—from movies like Randall Wallace’s We Were Soldiers to poems by W. D. Ehrhart, Yusef Komunyakaa, and others—but also at novels by Vietnamese authors Bao Ninh and Huong Thu Duong. The experiences of women figure prominently in the book: Eastman devotes a chapter to the Vietnam Women’s Memorial and another to Sandie Frazier’s novel I Married Vietnam and Oliver Stone’s film Heaven and Earth, based on memoirs by Le Ly Hayslip. And by examining Jessica Hagedorn’s Dream Jungle, a novel inspired by the filming of Apocalypse Now, she considers how the war’s repercussions were felt in other countries, in this case the Philippines. Her investigation of Vietnamese American authors Lan Cao, Andrew Lam, and GB Tran adds a transnational dimension to the study.
With its up-to-date perspective on recent works that have heretofore received scant critical notice, this book offers new ways of thinking about one of the most polemic chapters in U.S. history.
SUSAN LYN EASTMAN teaches in the Department of English at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Sophocles' play Antigone is a starting point for understanding the perpetual problems of human societies, families, and individuals who are caught up in the terrible aftermath of mass violence. What is one to do after the killing has stopped? What can be done to prevent a round of new violence? The tragic and dramatic tension in the play is put in motion by setting an unyielding Antigone against King Creon. As we see through the investigation of how Germany, Japan, Spain, Yugoslavia and Turkey have dealt with their histories of mass violence and genocide in the 20th century, the forces represented by Antigone and Creon remain very much part of our world today. Through a comparison of the five countries, their political institutions, and cultural traditions, we begin to appreciate the different pathways that societies have taken when confronting their violent histories.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
In this innovative work, Julia King moves nimbly among a variety of sources and disciplinary approaches—archaeological, historical, architectural, literary, and art-historical—to show how places take on, convey, and maintain meanings. Focusing on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, King looks at the ways in which various groups, from patriots and politicians of the antebellum era to present-day archaeologists and preservationists, have transformed key landscapes into historical, indeed sacred, spaces.
The sites King examines include the region’s vanishing tobacco farms; St. Mary’s City, established as Maryland’s first capital by English settlers in the seventeenth century; and Point Lookout, the location of a prison for captured Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. As the author explores the historical narratives associated with such places, she uncovers some surprisingly durable myths as well as competing ones. St. Mary’s City, for example, early on became the center of Maryland’s “founding narrative” of religious tolerance, a view commemorated in nineteenth-century celebrations and reflected even today in local museum exhibits and preserved buildings. And at Point Lookout, one private group has established a Confederate Memorial Park dedicated to those who died at the prison, thus nurturing the Lost Cause ideology that arose in the South in the late 1800s, while nearby the custodians of a 1,000-acre state park avoid controversy by largely ignoring the area’s Civil War history, preferring instead to concentrate on recreation and tourism, an unusually popular element of which has become the recounting of ghost stories.
As King shows, the narratives that now constitute the public memory in southern Maryland tend to overlook the region’s more vexing legacies, particularly those involving slavery and race. Noting how even her own discipline of historical archaeology has been complicit in perpetuating old narratives, King calls for research—particularly archaeological research—that produces new stories and “counter-narratives” that challenge old perceptions and interpretations and thus convey a more nuanced grasp of a complicated past.
Julia A. King is an associate professor of anthropology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she coordinates the Museum Studies Program and directs the SlackWater Center, a consortium devoted to exploring, documenting, and interpreting the changing landscapes of Chesapeake communities. She is also coeditor, with Dennis B. Blanton, of Indian and European Contact in Context: The Mid-Atlantic Region.
Probes the development of information management after World War II and its consequences for public memory and human agency
We are now living in the richest age of public memory. From museums and memorials to the vast digital infrastructure of the internet, access to the past is only a click away. Even so, the methods and technologies created by scientists, espionage agencies, and information management coders and programmers have drastically delimited the ways that communities across the globe remember and forget our wealth of retrievable knowledge.
In Architects of Memory: Information and Rhetoric in a Networked Archival Age, Nathan R. Johnson charts turning points where concepts of memory became durable in new computational technologies and modern memory infrastructures took hold. He works through both familiar and esoteric memory technologies—from the card catalog to the book cart to Zatocoding and keyword indexing—as he delineates histories of librarianship and information science and provides a working vocabulary for understanding rhetoric’s role in contemporary memory practices.
This volume draws upon the twin concepts of memory infrastructure and mnemonic technê to illuminate the seemingly opaque wall of mundane algorithmic techniques that determine what is worth remembering and what should be forgotten. Each chapter highlights a conflict in the development of twentieth-century librarianship and its rapidly evolving competitor, the discipline of information science. As these two disciplines progressed, they contributed practical techniques and technologies for making sense of explosive scientific advancement in the wake of World War II. Taming postwar science became part and parcel of practices and information technologies that undergird uncountable modern communication systems, including search engines, algorithms, and databases for nearly every national clearinghouse of the twenty-first century.
An ethnographic and historical account of the commercial, cultural, and military encroachment by Japan and the United States on the island nation of Palau
The expansionist Japanese empire annexed the inhabited archipelago of Palau in 1914. The airbase built on Peleliu Island became a target for attack by the United States in World War II. The Battle over Peleliu: Islander, Japanese, and American Memories of War offers an ethnographic study of how Palau and Peleliu were transformed by warring great powers and further explores how their conflict is remembered differently by the three peoples who shared that experience.
Author Stephen C. Murray uses oral histories from Peleliu’s elders to reconstruct the island’s prewar way of life, offering a fascinating explanation of the role of land and place in island culture. To Palauans, history is conceived geographically, not chronologically. Land and landmarks are both the substance of history and the mnemonic triggers that recall the past. Murray then offers a detailed account of the 1944 US invasion against entrenched Japanese forces on Peleliu, a seventy-four-day campaign that razed villages, farms, ancestral cemeteries, beaches, and forests, and with them, many of the key nodes of memory and identity.
Murray also explores how Islanders’ memories of the battle as shattering their way of life differ radically from the ways Japanese and Americans remember the engagement in their histories, memoirs, fiction, monuments, and tours of Peleliu. Determination to retrieve the remains of 11,000 Japanese soldiers from the caves of Peleliu has driven high-profile civic groups from across the Japanese political spectrum to the island. Contemporary Japan continues to debate pacifist, right-wing apologist, and other interpretations of its aggression in Asia and the Pacific. These disputes are exported to Peleliu, and subtly frame how Japanese commemoration portrays the battle in stone and ritual. Americans, victors in the battle, return to the archipelago in far fewer numbers. For them, the conflict remains controversial but is most often submerged into the narrative of “the good war.”
The Battle over Peleliu is a study of public memory, and the ways three peoples swept up in conflict struggle to create a common understanding of the tragedy they share.
Known as America’s most historic neighborhood, the Germantown section of Philadelphia (established in 1683) has distinguished itself by using public history initiatives to forge community. Progressive programs about ethnic history, postwar urban planning, and civil rights have helped make historic preservation and public history meaningful. The Battles of Germantown considers what these efforts can tell us about public history’s practice and purpose in the United States.
Author David Young, a neighborhood resident who worked at Germantown historic sites for decades, uses his practitioner’s perspective to give examples of what he calls “effective public history.” The Battles of Germantown shows how the region celebrated “Negro Achievement Week” in 1928 and, for example, how social history research proved that the neighborhood’s Johnson House was a station on the Underground Railroad. These encounters have useful implications for addressing questions of race, history, and memory, as well as issues of urban planning and economic revitalization.
Germantown’s historic sites use public history and provide leadership to motivate residents in an area challenged by job loss, population change, and institutional inertia. The Battles of Germantown illustrates how understanding and engaging with the past can benefit communities today.
Steve J. Stern Duke University Press, 2006 Library of Congress F3100.S823 2006 | Dewey Decimal 983.065
Battling for Hearts and Minds is the story of the dramatic struggle to define collective memory in Chile during the violent, repressive dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, from the 1973 military coup in which he seized power through his defeat in a 1988 plebiscite. Steve J. Stern provides a riveting narration of Chile’s political history during this period. At the same time, he analyzes Chileans’ conflicting interpretations of events as they unfolded. Drawing on testimonios, archives, Truth Commission documents, radio addresses, memoirs, and written and oral histories, Stern identifies four distinct perspectives on life and events under the dictatorship. He describes how some Chileans viewed the regime as salvation from ruin by Leftists (the narrative favored by Pinochet’s junta), some as a wound repeatedly reopened by the state, others as an experience of persecution and awakening, and still others as a closed book, a past to be buried and forgotten.
In the 1970s, Chilean dissidents were lonely “voices in the wilderness” insisting that state terror and its victims be recognized and remembered. By the 1980s, the dissent had spread, catalyzing a mass movement of individuals who revived public dialogue by taking to the streets, creating alternative media, and demanding democracy and human rights. Despite long odds and discouraging defeats, people of conscience—victims of the dictatorship, priests, youth, women, workers, and others—overcame fear and succeeded in creating truthful public memories of state atrocities. Recounting both their efforts and those of the regime’s supporters to win the battle for Chileans’ hearts and minds, Stern shows how profoundly the struggle to create memories, to tell history, matters.
Battling for Hearts and Minds is the second volume in the trilogy The Memory Box of Pinochet’s Chile. The third book will examine Chileans’ efforts to achieve democracy while reckoning with Pinochet’s legacy.
A probing and holistic meditation on the key question: Why do we continue to make art, and thus beauty, out of war?
Beautiful War: Studies in a Dreadful Fascination is a wide-ranging exploration of armed conflict as depicted in art that illustrates the constant presence of war in our everyday lives. Philip D. Beidler investigates the unending assimilation and pervasive presence of the idea of war in popular culture, the impulses behind the making of art out of war, and the unending and debatably aimless trajectories of war itself.
Beidler’s critical scope spans from Shakespeare’s plays, through the Victorian battle paintings of Lady Butler, into the post-World War I writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Virginia Woolf, and up to twenty-first-century films such as The Hurt Locker and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. As these works of art have become ubiquitous in contemporary culture, the many faces of war clearly spill over into our art and media, and Beidler argues that these portrayals in turn shift the perception of war from a savage truth to a concept.
Beautiful War argues that the representation of war in the arts has always been, and continues to be, an incredibly powerful force. Incorporating painting, music, photography, literature, and film, Beidler traces a disturbing but fundamental truth: that war has always provided an aesthetic inspiration while serving ends as various and complex as ideological or geopolitical history, public memory, and mass entertainment.
Beautiful War is a bold and vivid account of the role of war and military conflict as a subject of art that offers much of value to literary and cultural critics, historians, veterans, students of art history and communication studies, and those interested in expanding their understanding of art and media’s influence on contemporary values and memories of the past.
“This book is a unique study of race and racism across two centuries in the hinterland of the upper South. Its implications are at once depressingly familiar and distinctly fresh.” —W. Fitzhugh Brundage, author of Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880–1930
From the earliest days when slaves were brought to western Kentucky, the descendants of both slaves and slave owners in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, have continued to inhabit the same social and historic space. Part ethnography and part historical narrative, Been Coming through Some Hard Times offers a penetrating look at this southern town and the surrounding counties, delving particularly into the ways in which its inhabitants have remembered and publicly represented race relations in their community.
Neither Deep South nor Appalachian, this western Kentucky borderland presented unique opportunities for African American communities and also deep, lasting tensions with powerful whites. Glazier conducted fieldwork in Hopkinsville for some ten months, examining historical evidence, oral histories, and the racialized hierarchy found in the final resting places of black and white citizens. His analysis shows how structural inequality continues to prevail in Hopkinsville. The book’s ethnographic vignettes of worship services, school policy disputes, segregated cemeteries, a “dressing like our ancestors” day at an elementary school, and black family reunions poignantly illustrate the ongoing debate over the public control of memory. Ultimately, the book critiques the lethargy of white Americans who still fail to recognize the persistence of white privilege and therefore stunt the development of a truly multicultural society.
Glazier’s personal investment in this subject is clear. Been Coming through Some Hard Times began as an exploration of the life of James Bass, an African American who settled in Hopkinsville in 1890 and whose daughter, Idella Bass, cared for Glazier as a child. Her remarkable life profoundly influenced Glazier and led him to investigate her family’s roots in the town. This personal dimension makes Glazier’s ethnohistorical account especially nuanced and moving. Here is a uniquely revealing look at how the racial injustices of the past impinge quietly but insidiously upon the present in a distinctive, understudied region.
JACK GLAZIER is a professor of anthropology at Oberlin College. He is the author of Dispersing the Ghetto: The Relocation of Jewish Immigrants across America and Land and the Uses of Tradition among the Mbeere of Kenya.
Beyond Berlin breaks new ground in the ongoing effort to understand how memorials, buildings, and other spaces have figured in the larger German struggle to come to terms with the legacy of Nazism. The contributors challenge reigning views of how the task of "coming to terms with the Nazi Past" (Vergangenheitsbewältigung) has been pursued at specific urban and architectural sites. Focusing on west as well as east German cities—whether prominent metropolises like Hamburg, dynamic regional centers like Dresden, gritty industrial cities like Wolfsburg, or idyllic rural towns like Quedlinburg—the volume's case studies of individual urban centers provide readers with a more complex sense of the manifold ways in which the confrontation with the Nazi past has directly shaped the evolving form of the German urban landscape since the end of the Second World War. In these multidisciplinary discussions of important intersections with historical, art historical, anthropological, and geographical concerns, this collection deepens our understanding of the diverse ways in which the memory of National Socialism has profoundly influenced postwar German culture and society.
Scholars and students interested in National Socialism, modern Germany, memory studies, urban studies and planning, geography, industrial design, and art and architectural history will find the volume compelling. Beyond Berlin will appeal to general audiences knowledgeable about the Nazi past as well as those interested in historic preservation, memorials, and the overall dynamics of commemoration.
Research into biography has historically focused almost wholly on the lives of people in the wealthier nations of the Global North. This book corrects that with a focus on the biographical histories of people—seen as part of larger groups or collectives, whether religious or political—from the Global South, with a particular focus on Africa and the Middle East. Taking the perspective of biographical research and figurational sociology, the essays gathered here break new ground in the study of biography.
Since the 1960s, many historians have condemned Booker T. Washington as a problematic, even negative, influence on African American progress. This attitude dramatically contrasts with the nationwide outpouring of grief and reverence that followed Washington's death in 1915. Kenneth M. Hamilton describes how, when, where, and why Americans commemorated the life of Booker T. Washington. For months following his death, tens of thousands of Americans, especially blacks, honored his memory. Their memorials revealed that Washington enjoyed widespread national support for his vision of America and the programs that he imparted to achieve his aspirations. Their actions and articulations provide rich insight into how a cross section of Washington's contemporaries viewed him. From private messages of solace to public pronouncements, countless Americans portrayed him as a revered national icon. Among other characteristics, commemorates voiced their appreciation of his humanitarianism, humility, nationalism, perseverance, philanthropy, progressivism, spirituality, and wisdom. Washington was the leading advocate of the Yankee Protestantism Ethic, which promoted education, and personal qualities such as pragmatism, perseverance, cleanliness, thrift, and the dignity of labor among African Americans.
How can memory be mobilized for social justice? How can images and monuments counter public forgetting? And how can inherited family and cultural traumas be channeled in productive ways?
In this deeply personal work, acclaimed art historian Dora Apel examines how memorials, photographs, artworks, and autobiographical stories can be used to fuel a process of “unforgetting”—reinterpreting the past by recalling the events, people, perspectives, and feelings that get excluded from conventional histories. The ten essays in Calling Memory into Place feature explorations of the controversy over a painting of Emmett Till in the Whitney Biennial and the debates about a national lynching memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. They also include personal accounts of Apel’s return to the Polish town where her Holocaust survivor parents grew up, as well as the ways she found strength in her inherited trauma while enduring treatment for breast cancer.
These essays shift between the scholarly, the personal, and the visual as different modes of knowing, and explore the intersections between racism, antisemitism, and sexism, while suggesting how awareness of historical trauma is deeply inscribed on the body. By investigating the relations among place, memory, and identity, this study shines a light on the dynamic nature of memory as it crosses geography and generations.
In the seventeenth century, local Jesuits and Franciscans imagined Quito as the “new Rome.” It was the site of miracles and home of saintly inhabitants, the origin of crusades into the surrounding wilderness, and the purveyor of civilization to the entire region. By the early twentieth century, elites envisioned the city as the heart of a modern, advanced society—poised at the physical and metaphysical centers of the world.
In this original cultural history, Ernesto Capello analyzes the formation of memory, myth, and modernity through the eyes of Quito’s diverse populations. By employing Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of chronotopes, Capello views the configuration of time and space in narratives that defined Quito’s identity and its place in the world. He explores the proliferation of these imaginings in architecture, museums, monuments, tourism, art, urban planning, literature, religion, indigenous rights, and politics. To Capello, these tropes began to crystallize at the end of the nineteenth century, serving as a tool for distinct groups who laid claim to history for economic or political gain during the upheavals of modernism.
As Capello reveals, Quito’s society and its stories mutually constituted each other. In the process of both destroying and renewing elements of the past, each chronotope fed and perpetuated itself. Modern Quito thus emerged at the crux of Hispanism and Liberalism, as an independent global society struggling to keep the memory of its colonial and indigenous roots alive.
Since the fall of General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship in 1990, Chilean society has shied away from the subject of civilian complicity, preferring to pursue convictions of military perpetrators. But the torture, murders, deportations, and disappearances of tens of thousands of people in Chile were not carried out by the military alone; they required a vast civilian network. Some citizens actively participated in the regime's massive violations of human rights for personal gain or out of a sense of patriotic duty. Others supported Pinochet's neoliberal economic program while turning a blind eye to the crimes of that era.
Michael J. Lazzara boldly argues that today's Chile is a product of both complicity and complacency. Combining historical analysis with deft literary, political, and cultural critique, he scrutinizes the post-Pinochet rationalizations made by politicians, artists, intellectuals, bystanders, former revolutionaries-turned-neoliberals, and common citizens. He looks beyond victims and perpetrators to unveil the ambiguous, ethically vexed realms of memory and experience that authoritarian regimes inevitably generate.
Among communities in the Mara region of Tanzania, it is considered men’s responsibility to maintain “history.” But when Jan Bender Shetler’s questions turned to specific familial connections within the village, she discovered her male informants had to occasionally leave the room—to ask their wives for clarification. The result is an original and wide-ranging investigation of the gendered nature of historical memory and its influence on the development of the region over the past 150 years. Shetler’s exploration of these oral traditions and histories opens exciting new vistas for understanding how women and men in this culture tell their stories and assert their roles as public intellectuals—with important implications for research in African and gender studies, and the history of ethnicity and nationalism.
Collective memories are key to social movements. Activists draw on a shared history to build identity, create movement cohesion, and focus political purpose. But what happens when marginalized communities do not find their history in dominant narratives? How do they create a useable past to bind their political communities together and challenge their exclusion? In Clio’s Foot Soldiers, Lara Leigh Kelland investigates these questions by examining 1960s and 1970s social movements comprised of historically marginalized peoples: Civil Rights, Black Power, Women’s and Gay Liberation, and American Indian. These movements sought ownership over their narratives to create historical knowledge reflective of their particular experiences. To accomplish their goals, activists generated new forms of adult education, published movement newspapers, and pursued campus activism and speeches, public history efforts and community organizations. Through alternative means, marginalized communities developed their own historical discourses to mobilize members, define movement goals, and become culturally sovereign. In so doing, they provided a basis for achieving political liberation and changed the landscape of liberal cultural institutions.
There is one critical way we honor great tragedies: by never forgetting. Collective remembrance is as old as human society itself, serving as an important source of social cohesion, yet as Jeffrey Andrew Barash shows in this book, it has served novel roles in a modern era otherwise characterized by discontinuity and dislocation. Drawing on recent theoretical explorations of collective memory, he elaborates an important new philosophical basis for it, one that unveils profound limitations to its scope in relation to the historical past.
Crucial to Barash’s analysis is a look at the radical transformations that symbolic configurations of collective memory have undergone with the rise of new technologies of mass communication. He provocatively demonstrates how such technologies’ capacity to simulate direct experience—especially via the image—actually makes more palpable collective memory’s limitations and the opacity of the historical past, which always lies beyond the reach of living memory. Thwarting skepticism, however, he eventually looks to literature—specifically writers such as Walter Scott, Marcel Proust, and W. G. Sebald—to uncover subtle nuances of temporality that might offer inconspicuous emblems of a past historical reality.
This powerful, wide-ranging history of the Nazi concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora is the first book to analyze how memory of the Third Reich evolved throughout changes in the German regime from World War II to the present. Building on intimate knowledge of the history of the camp, where a third of the 60,000 prisoners did not survive the war, Gretchen Schafft and Gerhard Zeidler examine the political and cultural aspects of the camp's memorialization in East Germany and, after 1989, in unified Germany. Through the continuing story of Mittelbau-Dora, from its operation as a labor camp for the V-1 and V-2 rockets to its social construction as a monument, Schafft and Zeidler reflect an abiding interest in the memory and commemoration of notorious national events.
In this important new contribution to the historical literature, Amy Fluker offers a history of Civil War commemoration in Missouri, shifting focus away from the guerrilla war and devoting equal attention to Union, African American, and Confederate commemoration. She provides the most complete look yet at the construction of Civil War memory in Missouri, illuminating the particular challenges that shaped Civil War commemoration. As a slaveholding Union state on the Western frontier, Missouri found itself at odds with the popular narratives of Civil War memory developing in the North and the South. At the same time, the state’s deeply divided population clashed with one another as they tried to find meaning in their complicated and divisive history. As Missouri’s Civil War generation constructed and competed to control Civil War memory, they undertook a series of collaborative efforts that paved the way for reconciliation to a degree unmatched by other states.
Acts of Civil War commemoration have long been controversial and were never undertaken for objective purposes, but instead served to transmit particular values to future generations. Understanding this process lends informative context to contemporary debates about Civil War memory.
What happens when concepts of "truth," "memory," and "human rights" are taken up and adapted by former perpetrators of violence? Peru has moved from the 1980s–90s conflict between its armed forces and Shining Path militants into an era of open democracy, transitional justice, and truth and reconciliation commissions. Cynthia Milton reveals how Peru's military has engaged in a tactical cultural campaign—via books, films, museums—to shift public opinion, debate, and memories about the nation's violent recent past and its part in it.
Milton calls attention to fabrications of our post-truth era but goes further to deeply explore the ways members of the Peruvian military see their past, how they actively commemorate and curate it in the present, and why they do so. Her nuanced approach upends frameworks of memory studies that reduce military and ex-military to a predictable role of outright denial.
The late 1990s and early 2000s witnessed a surge in the publication and popularity of autobiographical writings about childhood. Linking literary and cultural studies, Contesting Childhood draws on a varied selection of works from a diverse range of authorsùfrom first-time to experienced writers. Kate Douglas explores Australian accounts of the Stolen Generation, contemporary American and British narratives of abuse, the bestselling memoirs of Andrea Ashworth, Augusten Burroughs, Robert Drewe, Mary Karr, Frank McCourt, Dave Pelzer, and Lorna Sage, among many others.
Drawing on trauma and memory studies and theories of authorship and readership, Contesting Childhood offers commentary on the triumphs, trials, and tribulations that have shaped this genre. Douglas examines the content of the narratives and the limits of their representations, as well as some of the ways in which autobiographies of youth have become politically important and influential. This study enables readers to discover how stories configure childhood within cultural memory and the public sphere.
In Dissensual Subjects, Andrew C. Rajca combines cultural studies and critical theory to explore how the aftereffects of dictatorship have been used to formulate dominant notions of human rights in the present. In so doing, he critiques the exclusionary nature of these processes and highlights who and what count (and do not count) as subjects of human rights as a result.
Through an engaging exploration of the concept of “never again” (nunca más/nunca mais) and close analysis of photography exhibits, audiovisual installations, and other art forms in spaces of cultural memory, the book explores how aesthetic interventions can suggest alternative ways of framing human rights subjectivity beyond the rhetoric of liberal humanitarianism. The book visits sites of memory, two of which functioned as detention and torture centers during dictatorships, to highlight the tensions between the testimonial tenor of permanent exhibits and the aesthetic interventions of temporary installations there. Rajca thus introduces perspectives that both undo common understandings of authoritarian violence and its effects as well as reconfigure who or what are made visible as subjects of memory and human rights in postdictatorship countries.
Dissensual Subjects offers much to those concerned with numerous interlocking fields: memory, human rights, political subjectivity, aesthetics, cultural studies, visual culture, Southern Cone studies, postdictatorship studies, and sites of memory.
The Korean War has been called the “forgotten war,” not as studied as World War II or Vietnam. Choi examines the collective memory of the Korean War through five discrete memory sites in the United States and South Korea, including the PBS documentary Battle for Korea, the Korean War Memorial in Salt Lake City, and the statue of General Douglas MacArthur in Incheon, South Korea. She contends that these sites are not static; rather, they are active places where countermemories of the war clash with the official state-sanctioned remembrance. Through lively and compelling analysis of these memory sites, which include two differing accounts of the No Gun Ri massacre\--contemporaneous journalism and oral histories by survivors\--Choi shows diverse narratives of the Korean War competing for dominance in acts of remembering. Embattled Memories is an important interdisciplinary work in two fields, memory studies and public history, from an understudied perspective, that of witnesses to the Korean War.
Embodied Reckonings examines the political and cultural aspects of contemporary performances that have grappled with the history of the “comfort women,” the Japanese military’s euphemism for the sexual enslavement of girls and young women—mostly Korean—in the years before and during World War II. Long silent, in the early 1990s these women and their supporters initiated varied performance practices—protests, tribunals, theater, and memorial-building projects—to demand justice for those affected by state-sponsored acts of violence. The book provides a critical framework for understanding how actions designed to bring about redress can move from the political and legal aspects of this concept to its cultural and social possibilities.
Based on extensive archival and ethnographic research, the study argues for the central role of performance in how Korean survivors, activists, and artists have redressed the histories—and erasures—of this sexual violence. Merging cultural studies and performance theory with a transnational, feminist analysis, the book illuminates the actions of ordinary people, thus offering ways of reconceptualizing legal and political understandings of redress that tend to concentrate on institutionalized forms of state-based remediation.
Today, nearly any group or nation with violence in its past has constructed or is planning a memorial museum as a mechanism for confronting past trauma, often together with truth commissions, trials, and/or other symbolic or material reparations. Exhibiting Atrocity documents the emergence of the memorial museum as a new cultural form of commemoration, and analyzes its use in efforts to come to terms with past political violence and to promote democracy and human rights.
Through a global comparative approach, Amy Sodaro uses in-depth case studies of five exemplary memorial museums that commemorate a range of violent pasts and allow for a chronological and global examination of the trend: the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC; the House of Terror in Budapest, Hungary; the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda; the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago, Chile; and the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York. Together, these case studies illustrate the historical emergence and global spread of the memorial museum and show how this new cultural form of commemoration is intended to be used in contemporary societies around the world.
When discussing large social trends or experiences, we tend to group people into generations. But what does it mean to be part of a generation, and what gives that group meaning and coherence? It's collective memory, say Amy Corning and Howard Schuman, and in Generations and Collective Memory, they draw on an impressive range of research to show how generations share memories of formative experiences, and how understanding the way those memories form and change can help us understand society and history.
Their key finding—built on historical research and interviews in the United States and seven other countries (including China, Japan, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Israel, and Ukraine)—is that our most powerful generational memories are of shared experiences in adolescence and early adulthood, like the 1963 Kennedy assassination for those born in the 1950s or the fall of the Berlin Wall for young people in 1989. But there are exceptions to that rule, and they're significant: Corning and Schuman find that epochal events in a country, like revolutions, override the expected effects of age, affecting citizens of all ages with a similar power and lasting intensity.
The picture Corning and Schuman paint of collective memory and its formation is fascinating on its face, but it also offers intriguing new ways to think about the rise and fall of historical reputations and attitudes toward political issues.
George Washington’s childhood is famously the most elusive part of his life story. For centuries biographers have struggled with a lack of period documentation and an absence of late-in-life reflection in trying to imagine Washington’s formative years.
In George Washington Written upon the Land, Philip Levy explores this most famous of American childhoods through its relationship to the Virginia farm where much of it took place. Using approaches from biography, archaeology, folklore, and studies of landscape and material culture, Levy focuses on how different ideas about Washington’s childhood functioned—what sorts of lessons they sought to teach and how different epochs and writers understood the man and the past itself.
In a suggestive and far-reaching final chapter, Levy argues that Washington was present at the onset of the Anthropocene—the geologic era when human activity began to have a significant impact on world ecosystems. Interpreting Washington’s childhood farm through the lens of “big” history, he encourages scholars to break down boundaries between science and social science and between human and nonhuman.
In 1929, in a remote county of the Arkansas Ozarks, the gruesome murder of harmonica-playing drifter Connie Franklin and the brutal rape of his teenaged fiancé
captured the attention of a nation on the cusp of the Great Depression. National press from coast to coast ran stories of the sensational exploits of night-riding moonshiners, powerful "Barons of the Hills," and a world of feudal oppression in the isolation of the rugged Ozarks. The ensuing arrest of five local men for both crimes and the confusion and superstition surrounding the trial and conviction gave Stone County a dubious and short-lived notoriety. Closely examining how the story and its regional setting were interpreted by the media, Brooks Blevins recounts the gripping events of the murder investigation and trial, where a man claiming to be the murder victim--the "Ghost" of the Ozarks--appeared to testify. Local conditions in Stone County, which had no electricity and only one long-distance telephone line, frustrated the dozen or more reporters who found their way to the rural Ozarks, and the developments following the arrests often prompted reporters' caricatures of the region: accusations of imposture and insanity, revelations of hidden pasts and assumed names, and threats of widespread violence. Ghost of the Ozarks: Murder and Memory in the Upland South entertains readers with a dramatic tale of true crime as well as a skilled interpretation of the region. Throughout this narrative, Blevins weaves a sophisticated social history of the Ozarks in the early twentieth century, critically analyzing the stereotypes and imagery inherent in local folklore and embedded in media coverage of the murder and trial. Locating the past of the Upland South squarely within the major currents of American history, Blevins paints a convincing backdrop to a story that, more than 80 years later, remains riddled with mystery and a source of bitter division in the community where some believe Connie Franklin met his end.
Normal0falsefalsefalseEN-USX-NONEX-NONEMicrosoftInternetExplorer4The transnational movement of people and ideas has led scholars throughout the humanities to reconsider many core concepts. Among them is the notion of public memory and how it changes when collective memories are no longer grounded within the confines of the traditional nation-state. An introduction by coeditors Kendall Phillips and Mitchell Reyes provides a context for examining the challenges of remembrance in a globalized world. In their essay they posit the idea of the “global memoryscape,” a sphere in which memories circulate among increasingly complex and diffused networks of remembrance.
The essays contained within the volume--by scholars from a wide range of disciplines including American studies, art history, political science, psychology, and sociology--each engage a particular instance of the practices of memory as they are complicated by globalization.
Subjects include the place of nostalgia in post-Yugoslavia Serbian national memory, Russian identity after the collapse of the Soviet Union, political remembrance in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, the role of Chilean mass media in forging national identity following the arrest of Augusto Pinochet, American debates over memorializing Japanese internment camps, and how the debate over the Iraq war is framed by memories of opposition to the Vietnam War.
Historical Justice and Memory
Edited by Klaus Neumann and Janna Thompson University of Wisconsin Press, 2015 Library of Congress JC578.H567 2015 | Dewey Decimal 320.011
Historical Justice and Memory highlights the global movement for historical justice—acknowledging and redressing historic wrongs—as one of the most significant moral and social developments of our times. Such historic wrongs include acts of genocide, slavery, systems of apartheid, the systematic persecution of presumed enemies of the state, colonialism, and the oppression of or discrimination against ethnic or religious minorities.
The historical justice movement has inspired the spread of truth and reconciliation processes around the world and has pushed governments to make reparations and apologies for past wrongs. It has changed the public understanding of justice and the role of memory. In this book, leading scholars in philosophy, history, political science, and semiotics offer new essays that discuss and assess these momentous global developments. They evaluate the strength and weaknesses of the movement, its accomplishments and failings, its philosophical assumptions and social preconditions, and its prospects for the future.
The Holocaust has bequeathed to contemporary society a cultural lexicon of intensely powerful symbols, a vocabulary of remembrance that we draw on to comprehend the otherwise incomprehensible horror of the Shoah. Engagingly written and illustrated with more than forty black-and-white images, Holocaust Icons probes the history and memory of four of these symbolic relics left in the Holocaust’s wake.
Jewish studies scholar Oren Stier offers in this volume new insight into symbols and the symbol-making process, as he traces the lives and afterlives of certain remnants of the Holocaust and their ongoing impact. Stier focuses in particular on four icons: the railway cars that carried Jews to their deaths, symbolizing the mechanics of murder; the Arbeit Macht Frei (“work makes you free”) sign over the entrance to Auschwitz, pointing to the insidious logic of the camp system; the number six million that represents an approximation of the number of Jews killed as well as mass murder more generally; and the persona of Anne Frank, associated with victimization. Stier shows how and why these icons—an object, a phrase, a number, and a person—have come to stand in for the Holocaust: where they came from and how they have been used and reproduced; how they are presently at risk from a variety of threats such as commodification; and what the future holds for the memory of the Shoah.
In illuminating these icons of the Holocaust, Stier offers valuable new perspective on one of the defining events of the twentieth century. He helps readers understand not only the Holocaust but also the profound nature of historical memory itself.
The construction of memory entails a battle not only between memory and forgetting but also between different memories. There are multiple constructions of memory, and in the dispute between them, some become hegemonic, while others remain in the margins. Ana Forcinito explores the intermittences of transitional justice and memory in post-dictatorship Uruguay. The processes of building memory and transitional justice are repetitive but inconstant. They are contested by both internal and external forces and shaped by tensions between oblivion and silence. Forcinito explores models of reconciliation to present an alternative narrative of the past and to expose the blind spots of memory.
“Previous biographers have poorly understood Hood within the culture of his times, but Miller’s study is a refreshing look at this important theme. Relying on the perspective of memory studies and the experience of amputees, he adds new dimensions to our understanding of Hood and the Civil War.” —Earl J. Hess, author of In the Trenches at Petersburg: Field Fortifications and Confederate Defeat
“Miller is particularly strong on the cultivation of Hood’s legend as part of the Lost Cause narrative. . . . He has done nice work in areas previously neglected, offering the first new research on Hood to emerge in years.” —David Coffey, author of John Bell Hood and the Struggle for Atlanta
Some Southern generals, like Lee and Jackson, have stood the test of time, celebrated in their place in history. And then there are generals like John Bell Hood, reviled and ridiculed by generations of Civil War historians as one of the inglorious architects of the Confederate disgrace in the Western Theater. The time has come to rethink this long-held notion, argues Brian Miller, in his comprehensive new biography, John Bell Hood and the Fight for Civil War Memory, and to reassess John Bell Hood as a man, a myth, and a memory.
In this first biography of the general in more than twenty years, Miller offers a new, original perspective, directly challenging those historians who have pointed to Hood’s perceived personality flaws, his alleged abuse of painkillers, and other unsubstantiated claims as proof of his incompetence as a military leader. This book takes into account Hood’s entire life—as a student at West Point, his meteoric rise and fall as a soldier and Civil War commander, and his career as a successful postwar businessman. In many ways, Hood represents a typical southern man, consumed by personal and societal definitions of manhood that were threatened by amputation and preserved and reconstructed by Civil War memory. Miller consults an extensive variety of sources, explaining not only what Hood did but also the environment in which he lived and how it affected him.
What emerges is a more nuanced, balanced portrait, unfettered by the one-sided perceptions of previous historical narratives. It gives Hood the fair treatment he has been denied for far too long. By looking at Hood’s formative years, his wartime experiences, and his postwar struggles to preserve his good name, this book opens up a provocative new perspective on the life of this controversial figure.
Brian Craig Miller is an assistant professor of history at Emporia State University. He is the author of The American Memory: Americans and Their History in 1877.
In Laying Claim: African American Cultural Memory and Southern Identity, Patricia Davis identifies the Civil War as the central narrative around which official depictions of southern culture have been defined. Because that narrative largely excluded African American points of view, the resulting southern identity was monolithically white. Davis traces how the increasing participation of black public voices in the realms of Civil War memory—battlefields, museums, online communities—has dispelled the mirage of “southernness” as a stolid cairn of white culture and has begun to create a more fluid sense of southernness that welcomes contributions by all of the region’s peoples.
Laying Claim offers insightful and penetrating examinations of African American participation in Civil War reenactments; the role of black history museums in enriching representations of the Civil War era with more varied interpretations; and the internet as a forum within which participants exchange and create historical narratives that offer alternatives to unquestioned and dominant public memories. From this evolving cultural landscape, Davis demonstrates how simplistic caricatures of African American experiences are giving way to more authentic, expansive, and inclusive interpretations of southernness.
As a case-study and example of change, Davis cites the evolution of depictions of life at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Where visitors to the site once encountered narratives that repeated the stylized myth of Monticello as a genteel idyll, modern accounts of Jefferson’s day offer a holistic, inclusive, and increasingly honest view of Monticello as the residents on every rung of the social ladder experienced it.
Contemporary violence and attacks about or inspired by the causes, outcomes, and symbols of the Civil War, even one hundred and fifty years after its end, add urgency to Davis’s argument that the control and creation of public memories of that war is an issue of concern not only to scholars but all Americans. Her hopeful examination of African American participation in public memory illuminates paths by which this enduring ideological impasse may find resolutions.
Fritzsche deciphers the puzzle of Nazism's ideological grip. Its basic appeal lay in the Volksgemeinschaft - a "people’s community" that appealed to Germans to be part of a great project to redress the wrongs of the Versailles treaty, make the country strong and vital, and rid the body politic of unhealthy elements. Diaries and letters reveal Germans' fears, desires, and reservations, while showing how Nazi concepts saturated everyday life.
We’re losing our culture… our heritage… our traditions… everything is being swept away.
Such sentiments get echoed around the world, from aging Trump supporters in West Virginia to young villagers in West Africa. But what is triggering this sense of cultural loss, and to what ends does this rhetoric get deployed?
To answer these questions, anthropologist David Berliner travels around the world, from Guinea-Conakry, where globalization affects the traditional patriarchal structure of cultural transmission, to Laos, where foreign UNESCO experts have become self-appointed saviors of the nation’s cultural heritage. He also embarks on a voyage of critical self-exploration, reflecting on how anthropologists handle their own sense of cultural alienation while becoming deeply embedded in other cultures. This leads into a larger examination of how and why we experience exonostalgia, a longing for vanished cultural heydays we never directly experienced.
Losing Culture provides a nuanced analysis of these phenomena, addressing why intergenerational cultural transmission is vital to humans, yet also considering how efforts to preserve disappearing cultures are sometimes misguided or even reactionary. Blending anthropological theory with vivid case studies, this book teaches us how to appreciate the multitudes of different ways we might understand loss, memory, transmission, and heritage.
Concern with memory permeated Roman literature, history, rhetorical training, and art and architecture. This is the first book to look at the phenomenon from a variety of perspectives, including cognitive science. There is no orthodoxy in memory studies and the approaches are both empirical and theoretical. A central issue is: who and what preserved and shaped cultural memory in Rome, and how did that process work? Areas and subjects covered include the Romans' view of the changing physical fabric of the city, monuments (by etymology related to memory) such as the Arch of Constantine, memory and the Roman triumph, Roman copies of Greek sculpture and their relation to memory, the importance of written information and of continuing process, the creation of memory in Republican memoirs and Flavian poetry, the invention of traditions, and the connection of cultural and digital memory.
The ten chapters present original findings that complement earlier scholarship from the perspective of memory and open up new horizons for inquiry. The introduction by volume editor Karl Galinsky situates the work within current studies on cultural and social memory, and the concluding chapter by Daniel Libeskind provides the perspective of a contemporary practitioner.
Additional contributors include Richard Jenkyns, Harriet I. Flower, T. P. Wiseman, Karl-J. Hölkeskamp, Gianpiero Rosati, Diane Favro, Jessica Hughes, Anna Anguissola, Lisa Marie Mignone, and Bernard Frischer.
In the past few decades, thousands of new memorials to executed witches, victims of terrorism, and dead astronauts, along with those that pay tribute to civil rights, organ donors, and the end of Communism have dotted the American landscape. Equally ubiquitous, though until now less the subject of serious inquiry, are temporary memorials: spontaneous offerings of flowers and candles that materialize at sites of tragic and traumatic death. In Memorial Mania, Erika Doss argues that these memorials underscore our obsession with issues of memory and history, and the urgent desire to express—and claim—those issues in visibly public contexts.
Doss shows how this desire to memorialize the past disposes itself to individual anniversaries and personal grievances, to stories of tragedy and trauma, and to the social and political agendas of diverse numbers of Americans. By offering a framework for understanding these sites, Doss engages the larger issues behind our culture of commemoration. Driven by heated struggles over identity and the politics of representation, Memorial Mania is a testament to the fevered pitch of public feelings in America today.
Memorializing Pearl Harbor examines the challenge of representing history at the site of the attack that brought America into World War II. Analyzing moments in which history is re-presented—in commemorative events, documentary films, museum design, and educational programming—Geoffrey M. White shows that the memorial to the Pearl Harbor bombing is not a fixed or singular institution. Rather, it has become a site in which many histories are performed, validated, and challenged. In addition to valorizing military service and sacrifice, the memorial has become a place where Japanese veterans have come to seek recognition and reconciliation, where Japanese Americans have sought to correct narratives of racial mistrust, and where Native Hawaiians have challenged their ongoing erasure from their own land. Drawing on extended ethnographic fieldwork, White maps these struggles onto larger controversies about public history, museum practices, and national memory.
From the sculptured peaks of Mount Rushmore to the Coloradan prairie lands at Sand Creek to the idyllic islands of the Pacific, the West’s signature environments add a new dimension to the study of memorials. In such diverse and often dramatic landscapes, how do the natural and built environments shape our emotions?
In Memorials Matter, author Jennifer Ladino investigates the natural and physical environments of seven diverse National Park Service (NPS) sites in the American West and how they influence emotions about historical conflict and national identity. Chapters center around the region’s diverse inhabitants (Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, African, and Native Americans) and the variously traumatic histories these groups endured—histories of oppression, exploitation, incarceration, slavery, and genocide. Drawing on material ecocritical theory, Ladino emphasizes the ideological and political importance of memorials and how they evoke visceral responses that are not always explicitly “storied,” but nevertheless matter in powerful ways.
In this unique blend of narrative scholarship and critical theory, Ladino demonstrates how these memorial sites and their surrounding landscapes, combined with written texts, generate emotion and shape our collective memory of traumatic events. She urges us to consider our everyday environments and to become attuned to features and feelings we might have otherwise overlooked.
Essential reading for scholars and students interested in sociology and biblical studies
In this collection scholars of biblical texts and rabbinics engage the work of Barry Schwartz, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology at the University of Georgia. Schwartz provides an introductory essay on the study of collective memory. Articles that follow integrate his work into the study of early Jewish and Christian texts. The volume concludes with a response from Schwartz that continues this warm and fruitful dialogue between fields.
Articles that integrate the study of collective memory and social psychology into religious studies
Essays from Barry Schwartz
Theories applied rather than left as abstract principles
How do new media affect the question of social memory? Social memory is usually described as enacted through ritual, language, art, architecture, and institutions ? phenomena whose persistence over time and capacity for a shared storage of the past was set in contrast to fleeting individual memory. But the question of how social memory should be understood in an age of digital computing, instant updating, and interconnection in real time, is very much up in the air. The essays in this collection discuss the new technologies of memory from a variety of perspectives that explicitly investigate their impact on the very concept of the social.Contributors: David Berry, Ina Blom, Wolfgang Ernst, Matthew Fuller, Andrew Goffey, Liv Hausken, Yuk Hui, Trond Lundemo, Adrian Mackenzie, Sónia Matos, Richard Mills, Jussi Parikka, Eivind Røssaak, Stuart Sharples, Tiziana Terranova, Pasi Väliaho.
After twenty-one years of military dictatorship, Brazil returned to democratic rule in 1985. Yet over the following two decades, the country largely ignored human rights crimes committed by state security agents, crimes that included the torture, murder, and disappearance of those who opposed the authoritarian regime.
In clear and engaging prose, Rebecca J. Atencio tells the story of the slow turn to memory in Brazil, a turn that has taken place in both politics and in cultural production. She shows how testimonial literature, telenovelas, literary novels, theatrical plays, and memorials have interacted with policies adopted by the Brazilian state, often in unexpected ways. Under the right circumstances, official and cultural forms of reckoning combine in Brazil to produce what Atencio calls cycles of cultural memory. Novel meanings of the past are forged, and new cultural works are inspired, thus creating the possibility for further turns in the cycle.
The first book to analyze Brazil’s reckoning with dictatorship through both institutional and cultural means, Memory’s Turn is a rich, informative exploration of the interplay between these different modes of memory reconstruction.
Winner, Alfred B. Thomas Award, Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies
Honorable Mention, Roberto Reis Book Prize, Brazilian Studies Association
Mieres Reborn reveals how patient observation and an analysis of one small community have much to tell us about human progress more generally.
Not long ago Mieres, a village in the eastern foothills of the Pyrenees, seemed destined to die. As in countless thousands of rural communities around the world, young people in Mieres over the years have moved to the towns and cities, leaving behind abandoned fields and meadows, derelict houses, and their aging and disconsolate parents and grandparents.
Close observation of this social microcosm over two decades reveals the capacity of ordinary people in a locality to reinvent themselves, reconstruct relationships with the wider world, and confront new threats to their collective survival. A. F. Robertson describes how the determination that Mieres should survive is most evident in a vigorous round of fiestas, fairs, and other public events in which natives, exiles, and newcomers work to create a lively sense of belonging. Since the 1980s, Mieres has been enlivened by a reverse flow of migrants from the cities, new settlers who have brought an infusion of youth to the community, devised new livelihoods, revitalized the village school, energized the native ”Mierencs,” and provided the impetus for a rediscovery of historical roots and political identity.
The regeneration of life in the countryside, in part a reaction to urban expansion and decay, is a global phenomenon of increasing political, economic, and social significance.
When nations decide to disown their troubled pasts, how does this strategic disavowal harden into social fact? In Negative Exposures, Margaret Hillenbrand investigates the erasure of key aspects of such momentous events as the Nanjing Massacre, the Cultural Revolution, and the Tiananmen Square protests from the Chinese historical consciousness, not due to amnesia or censorship but through the operations of public secrecy. Knowing what not to know, she argues, has many stakeholders, willing and otherwise, who keep quiet to protect themselves or their families out of shame, pragmatism, or the palliative effects of silence. Hillenbrand shows how secrecy works as a powerful structuring force in Chinese society, one hiding in plain sight, and identifies aesthetic artifacts that serve as modes of reckoning against this phenomenon. She analyses the proliferation of photo-forms—remediations of well-known photographs of troubling historical events rendered in such media as paint, celluloid, fabric, digital imagery, and tattoos—as imaginative spaces in which the shadows of secrecy are provocatively outlined.
In 1949 construction of the planned town of Nowa Huta began on the outskirts of Kraków, Poland. Its centerpiece, the Lenin Steelworks, promised a secure future for workers and their families. By the 1980s, however, the rise of the Solidarity movement and the ensuing shock therapy program of the early 1990s rapidly transitioned the country from socialism to a market-based economy, and Nowa Huta fell on hard times.
Kinga Pozniak shows how the remarkable political, economic, and social upheavals since the end of the Second World War have profoundly shaped the historical memory of these events in the minds of the people who lived through them. Through extensive interviews, she finds three distinct, generationally based framings of the past. Those who built the town recall the might of local industry and plentiful jobs. The following generation experienced the uprisings of the 1980s and remembers the repression and dysfunction of the socialist system and their resistance to it. Today’s generation has no direct experience with either socialism or Solidarity, yet as residents of Nowa Huta they suffer the stigma of lower-class stereotyping and marginalization from other Poles.
Pozniak examines the factors that lead to the rewriting of history and the formation of memory, and the use of history to sustain current political and economic agendas. She finds that despite attempts to create a single, hegemonic vision of the past and a path for the future, these discourses are always contested—a dynamic that, for the residents of Nowa Huta, allows them to adapt as their personal experience tells them.
This work is a detailed study of how Americans in the 1920s and 1930s interpreted and remembered the First World War. Steven Trout asserts that from the beginning American memory of the war was fractured and unsettled, more a matter of competing sets of collective memories—each set with its own spokespeople— than a unified body of myth. The members of the American Legion remembered the war as a time of assimilation and national harmony. However, African Americans and radicalized whites recalled a very different war. And so did many of the nation’s writers, filmmakers, and painters.
Trout studies a wide range of cultural products for their implications concerning the legacy of the war: John Dos Passos’s novels Three Soldiers and 1919, Willa Cather’s One of Ours, William March’s Company K, and Laurence Stallings’s Plumes; paintings by Harvey Dunn, Horace Pippin, and John Steuart Curry; portrayals of the war in The American Legion Weekly and The American Legion Monthly; war memorials and public monuments like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; and commemorative products such as the twelve-inch tall Spirit of the American Doughboy statue.
Trout argues that American memory of World War I was not only confused and contradictory during the ‘20s and ‘30s, but confused and contradictory in ways that accommodated affirmative interpretations of modern warfare and military service. Somewhat in the face of conventional wisdom, Trout shows that World War I did not destroy the glamour of war for all, or even most, Americans and enhanced it for many.
Oral history is inherently about memory, and when oral history interviews are used "in public," they invariably both reflect and shape public memories of the past. Oral History and Public Memories is the only book that explores this relationship, in fourteen case studies of oral history's use in a variety of venues and media around the world. Readers will learn, for example, of oral history based efforts to reclaim community memory in post-apartheid Cape Town, South Africa; of the role of personal testimony in changing public understanding of Japanese American history in the American West; of oral history's value in mapping heritage sites important to Australia's Aboriginal population; and of the way an oral history project with homeless people in Cleveland, Ohio became a tool for popular education. Taken together, these original essays link the well established practice of oral history to the burgeoning field of memory studies.
The Origins of Bioethics argues that what we remember from the history of medicine and how we remember it are consequential for the identities of doctors, researchers, and patients in the present day. Remembering when medicine went wrong calls people to account for the injustices inflicted on vulnerable communities across the twentieth century in the name of medicine, but the very groups empowered to create memorials to these events often have a vested interest in minimizing their culpability for them. Sometimes these groups bury this past and forget events when medical research harmed those it was supposed to help. The call to bioethical memory then conflicts with a desire for “minimal remembrance” on the part of institutions and governments. The Origins of Bioethics charts this tension between bioethical memory and minimal remembrance across three cases—the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the Willowbrook Hepatitis Study, and the Cincinnati Whole Body Radiation Study—that highlight the shift from robust bioethical memory to minimal remembrance to forgetting.
In light of new proposals to control undocumented migrants in the United States, Parcels prioritizes rural Salvadoran remembering in an effort to combat the collective amnesia that supports the logic of these historically myopic strategies. Mike Anastario investigates the social memories of individuals from a town he refers to as “El Norteño,” a rural municipality in El Salvador that was heavily impacted by the Salvadoran Civil War, which in turn fueled a mass exodus to the United States. By working with two viajeros (travelers) who exchanged encomiendas (parcels containing food, medicine, documents, photographs and letters) between those in the U.S. and El Salvador, Anastario tells the story behind parcels and illuminates their larger cultural and structural significance. This narrative approach elucidates key arguments concerning the ways in which social memory permits and is shaped by structural violence, particularly the U.S. actions and policies that have resulted in the emotional and physical distress of so many Salvadorans. The book uses analyses of testimonies, statistics, memories of migration, the war and, of course, the many parcels sent over the border to create an innovative and necessary account of post-Civil War El Salvador.
The Past Before Us
Romila Thapar Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress DS483.65.T53 2013 | Dewey Decimal 934.0072
The claim that India--uniquely among civilizations--lacks historical writing distracts us from a more pertinent question: how to recognize the historical sense of societies whose past is recorded in ways very different from European conventions. Romila Thapar, a distinguished scholar of ancient India, guides us through a panoramic survey of the historical traditions of North India, revealing a deep and sophisticated consciousness of history embedded in the diverse body of classical Indian literature.
The history recorded in such texts as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata is less concerned with authenticating persons and events than with presenting a picture of traditions striving to retain legitimacy amid social change. Spanning an epoch from 1000 BCE to 1400 CE, Thapar delineates three strains of historical writing: an Itihasa-Purana tradition of Brahman authors; a tradition composed mainly by Buddhist and Jaina monks and scholars; and a popular bardic tradition. The Vedic corpus, the epics, the Buddhist canon and monastic chronicles, inscriptional evidence, regional accounts, and literary forms such as royal biographies and drama are all scrutinized afresh--not as sources to be mined for factual data but as genres that disclose how Indians of ancient times represented their own past to themselves.
In Past Forward: French Cinema and the Post-Colonial Heritage, author Dayna Oscherwitz focuses on the world of French films with a new lens. Drawing upon a wealth of research and the examination of popular French movies, Oscherwitz offers fresh perspectives not only on the unique importance of motion pictures and their indelible influence on French character, but on current debates regarding individual and collective memory. Past Forward traces the development and ascension of the French heritage film—those historical and costume dramas focusing on prestigious French subjects, events, and settings. These motion pictures, preeminent during a period of globalization and fear over the affects of immigration in 1980s France, quickly came to embody a specific version of French national and collective identity: one that idealized the past, condemned the present, and created an institutional form of memory. Oscherwitz presents the intriguing notion that French heritage films are not exclusively expressions of nationalism and nostalgia as has commonly been asserted. On the contrary, although these movies were born out of a perceived loss of French culture, their ambivalence toward traditional hallmarks of nationalism opens them up to new interpretation. Also in contrast to typical conceptions, the author suggests that these heritage films are far from cinematic bastions of multicultural backlash; instead, she argues, popular culture has in its own fashion reinserted the history of colonialism and immigration into the national past, thus reimagining heritage itself.
Against this backdrop, Oscherwitz goes on to investigate the multicultural worlds of beur and banlieue movies—cinema seemingly in direct contrast with the heritage film—offering the theory that these films serve as a “countermemory” to an institutionalized one and provide alternative models of collective memory and identity. Through careful analysis of several examples, Oscherwitz demonstrates how these two seemingly different realms—heritage and multicultural cinema—are far from mutually exclusive in the construction of French identity.
Throughout the volume, numerous well-known French movies are reexamined, inviting new interpretations of and challenging old views through investigations of familiar cinematic works. Past Forward is arevolutionary volume that boldly reimagines our ideas about French film and its role in communicating history and memory.
For more than five centuries, the Plaza Mayor (or Zócalo) in Mexico City has been the site of performances for a public spectatorship. During the period of colonial rule, performances designed to ensure loyalty to the Spanish monarchy were staged there, but over time, these displays gave way to staged demonstrations of resistance. Today, the Zócalo is a site for both official government-sponsored celebrations and performances that challenge the state. Performance in the Zócalo examines the ways that this city square has achieved symbolic significance over the centuries, and how national, ethnic, and racial identity has been performed there.
A saying in Mexico City is “quien domina el centro, domina el país” (whoever dominates the center, dominates the country) as the Zócalo continues to act as the performative embodiment of Mexican society. This book highlights how particular performances build upon each other by recycling past architectures and performative practices for new purposes. Ana Martínez discusses the singular role of collective memory in creating meaning through space and landmarks, providing a new perspective and further insight into the problem of Mexico’s relationship with its own past. Rather than merely describe the commemorations, she traces the relationship between space and the invention of a Mexican imaginary. She also explores how indigenous communities, Mexico’s alienated subalterns, performed as exploited objects, exotic characters, and subjects with agency. The book’s dual purposes are to examine the Zócalo as Mexico’s central site of performance and to unmask, without homogenizing, the official discourse regarding Mexico’s natives. This book will be of interest for students and scholars in theater studies, Mexican Studies, Cultural Geography, Latinx and Latin American Studies.
Throughout Europe, narratives about the past circulate at a dizzying speed, and producing and selling these narratives is big business. In museums, in cinema and opera houses, in schools, and even on the Internet, Europeans are using the power of performance to craft stories that ultimately define the ways their audiences understand and remember history.
Performing the Past offers unparalleled insights into the philosophical, literary, musical, and historical frameworks within which the past has entered into the European imagination. The essays in this volume, from such internationally renowned scholars as Reinhart Koselleck, Jan Assmann, Jane Caplan, Marianne Hirsch, Leo Spitzer, Peter Burke, and Alessandro Portelli, investigate various national and disciplinary traditions to explain how Europeans see themselves in the past, in the present, and in the years to come.
For sixty years, different groups in Europe have put forth interpretations of World War II and their respective countries’ roles in it consistent with their own political and psychological needs. The conflict over the past has played out in diverse arenas, including film, memoirs, court cases, and textbooks. It has had profound implications for democratization and relations between neighboring countries. This collection provides a comparative case study of how memories of World War II have been constructed and revised in seven European nations: France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Italy, and the USSR (Russia). The contributors include scholars of history, literature, political science, psychology, and sociology. Country by country, they bring to the fore the specifics of each nation’s postwar memories in essays commissioned especially for this volume. The use of similar analytical categories facilitates comparisons.
An extensive introduction contains reflections on the significance of Europeans’ memories of World War II and a conclusion provides an analysis of the implications of the contributors’ findings for memory studies. These two pieces tease out some of the findings common to all seven countries: for instance, in each nation, the decade and a half between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s was the period of most profound change in the politics of memory. At the same time, the contributors demonstrate that Europeans understand World War II primarily through national frames of reference, which are surprisingly varied. Memories of the war have important ramifications for the democratization of Central and Eastern Europe and the consolidation of the European Union. This volume clarifies how those memories are formed and institutionalized.
Contributors. Claudio Fogu, Richard J. Golsan, Wulf Kansteiner, Richard Ned Lebow, Regula Ludi, Annamaria Orla-Bukowska, Heidemarie Uhl, Thomas C. Wolfe
Only recently have international relations scholars started to seriously examine the influence of collective memory on foreign policy formation and relations between states and peoples. The ways in which the memories of past events are interpreted, misinterpreted, or even manipulated in public discourse create the context that shapes international relations.
Power and the Past brings together leading history and international relations scholars to provide a groundbreaking examination of the impact of collective memory. This timely study makes a contribution to developing a theory of memory and international relations and also examines specific cases of collective memory’s influence resulting from the legacies of World War II, the Holocaust, and September 11. Addressing concerns shared by world leaders and international institutions as well as scholars of international studies, this volume illustrates clearly how the memory of past events alters the ways countries interact in the present, how memory shapes public debate and policymaking, and how memory may aid or more frequently impede conflict resolution.
Prague Panoramas examines the creation of Czech nationalism through monuments, buildings, festivals, and protests in the public spaces of the city during the twentieth century. These “sites of memory” were attempts by civic, religious, cultural, and political forces to create a cohesive sense of self for a country and a people torn by war, foreign occupation, and internal strife.
The Czechs struggled to define their national identity throughout the modern era. Prague, the capital of a diverse area comprising Czechs, Slovaks, Germans, Poles, Ruthenians, and Romany as well as various religious groups including Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, became central to the Czech domination of the region and its identity. These struggles have often played out in violent acts, such as the destruction of religious monuments, or the forced segregation and near extermination of Jews.
During the twentieth century, Prague grew increasingly secular, yet leaders continued to look to religious figures such as Jan Hus and Saint Wenceslas as symbols of Czech heritage. Hus, in particular, became a paladin in the struggle for Czech independence from the Habsburg Empire and Austrian Catholicism.
Through her extensive archival research and personal fieldwork, Cynthia Paces offers a panoramic view of Prague as the cradle of Czech national identity, seen through a vast array of memory sites and objects. From the Gothic Saint Vitus Cathedral, to the Communist Party's reconstruction of Jan Hus's Bethlehem Chapel, to the 1969 self-immolation of student Jan Palach in protest of Soviet occupation, to the Hosková plaque commemorating the deportation of Jews from Josefov during the Holocaust, Paces reveals the iconography intrinsic to forming a collective memory and the meaning of being a Czech. As her study discerns, that meaning has yet to be clearly defined, and the search for identity continues today.
Reckoning with Pinochet is the first comprehensive account of how Chile came to terms with General Augusto Pinochet’s legacy of human rights atrocities. An icon among Latin America’s “dirty war” dictators, Pinochet had ruled with extreme violence while building a loyal social base. Hero to some and criminal to others, the general cast a long shadow over Chile’s future. Steve J. Stern recounts the full history of Chile’s democratic reckoning, from the negotiations in 1989 to chart a post-dictatorship transition; through Pinochet’s arrest in London in 1998; the thirtieth anniversary, in 2003, of the coup that overthrew President Salvador Allende; and Pinochet’s death in 2006. He shows how transnational events and networks shaped Chile’s battles over memory, and how the Chilean case contributed to shifts in the world culture of human rights.
Stern’s analysis integrates policymaking by elites, grassroots efforts by human rights victims and activists, and inside accounts of the truth commissions and courts where top-down and bottom-up initiatives met. Interpreting solemn presidential speeches, raucous street protests, interviews, journalism, humor, cinema, and other sources, he describes the slow, imperfect, but surprisingly forceful advance of efforts to revive democratic values through public memory struggles, despite the power still wielded by the military and a conservative social base including the investor class. Over time, resourceful civil-society activists and select state actors won hard-fought, if limited, gains. As a result, Chileans were able to face the unwelcome past more honestly, launch the world’s first truth commission to examine torture, ensnare high-level perpetrators in the web of criminal justice, and build a public culture of human rights. Stern provides an important conceptualization of collective memory in the wake of national trauma in this magisterial work of history.
The name Black Hawk permeates the built environment in the upper midwestern United States. It has been appropriated for everything from fitness clubs to used car dealerships. Makataimeshekiakiak, the Sauk Indian war leader whose name loosely translates to “Black Hawk,” surrendered in 1832 after hundreds of his fellow tribal members were slaughtered at the Bad Axe Massacre. Re-Collecting Black Hawk examines the phenomena of this appropriation in the physical landscape, and the deeply rooted sentiments it evokes among Native Americans and descendants of European settlers. Nearly 170 original photographs are presented and juxtaposed with texts that reveal and complicate the significance of the imagery. Contributors include tribal officials, scholars, activists, and others including George Thurman, the principal chief of the Sac and Fox Nation and a direct descendant of Black Hawk. These image-text encounters offer visions of both the past and present and the shaping of memory through landscapes that reach beyond their material presence into spaces of cultural and political power. As we witness, the evocation of Black Hawk serves as a painful reminder, a forced deference, and a veiled attempt to wipe away the guilt of past atrocities. Re-Collecting Black Hawk also points toward the future. By simultaneously unsettling and reconstructing the midwestern landscape, it envisions new modes of peaceful and just coexistence and suggests alternative ways of inhabiting the landscape.
In Reencounters,Crystal Mun-hye Baik examines what it means to live with and remember an ongoing war when its manifestations—hypervisible and deeply sensed—become everyday formations delinked from militarization. Contemplating beyond notions of inherited trauma and post memory, Baik offers the concept of reencounters to better track the Korean War’s illegible entanglements through an interdisciplinary archive of diasporic memory works that includes oral history projects, performances, and video installations rarely examined by Asian American studies scholars.
Baik shows how Korean refugee migrations are repackaged into celebrated immigration narratives, how transnational adoptees are reclaimed by the South Korean state as welcomed “returnees,” and how militarized colonial outposts such as Jeju Island are recalibrated into desirable tourist destinations. Baik argues that as the works by Korean and Korean/American artists depict this Cold War historiography, they also offer opportunities to remember otherwise the continuing war.
Ultimately, Reencounters wrestles with questions of the nature of war, racial and sexual violence, and neoliberal surveillance in the twenty-first century.
Reimagining National Belonging is the first sustained critical examination of post–civil war El Salvador. It describes how one nation, after an extended and divisive conflict, took up the challenge of generating social unity and shared meanings around ideas of the nation. In tracing state-led efforts to promote the concepts of national culture, history, and identity, Robin DeLugan highlights the sites and practices—as well as the complexities—of nation-building in the twenty-first century.
Examining events that unfolded between 1992 and 2011, DeLugan both illustrates the idiosyncrasies of state and society in El Salvador and opens a larger portal into conditions of constructing a state in the present day around the globe—particularly the process of democratization in an age of neoliberalism. She demonstrates how academics, culture experts, popular media, and the United Nations and other international agencies have all helped shape ideas about national belonging in El Salvador. She also reveals the efforts that have been made to include populations that might have been overlooked, including indigenous people and faraway citizens not living inside the country’s borders. And she describes how history and memory projects have begun to recall the nation’s violent past with the goal of creating a more just and equitable nation.
This illuminating case study fills a gap in the scholarship about culture and society in contemporary El Salvador, while offering an “ethnography of the state” that situates El Salvador in a global context.
During the two years just before the 1998 arrest in London of General Augusto Pinochet, the historian Steve J. Stern had been in Chile collecting oral histories of life under Pinochet as part of an investigation into the form and meaning of memories of state-sponsored atrocities. In this compelling work, Stern shares the recollections of individual Chileans and draws on their stories to provide a framework for understanding memory struggles in history.
“A thoughtful, nuanced study of how Chileans remember the traumatic 1973 coup by Augusto Pinochet against Salvador Allende and the nearly two decades of military government that followed. . . . In light of the recent revelations of American human rights abuses of Iraqi prisoners, [Stern’s] insights into the legacies of torture and abuse in the Chilean prisons of the 1970s certainly have contemporary significance for any society that undergoes a national trauma.”—Publishers Weekly
“This outstanding work of scholarship sets a benchmark in the history of state terror, trauma, and memory in Latin America.”—Thomas Miller Klubock, American Historical Review
“This is a book of uncommon depth and introspection. . . . Steve J. Stern has not only advanced the memory of the horrors of the military dictatorship; he has assured the place of Pinochet’s legacy of atrocity in our collective conscience.”—Peter Kornbluh, author of The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability
“Steve J. Stern’s book elegantly recounts the conflicted recent history of Chile. He has found a deft solution to the knotty problem of evenhandedness in representing points of view so divergent they defy even the most careful attempts to portray the facts of the Pinochet period. He weaves a tapestry of memory in which narratives of horror and rupture commingle with the sincere perceptions of Chileans who remember Pinochet’s rule as salvation. The facts are there, but more important is the understanding we gain by knowing how ordinary Chileans—Pinochet’s supporters and his victims—work through their unresolved past.”—John Dinges, author of The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents
Haunted by representations of black women that resist the reality of the body's vulnerability, Kimberly Juanita Brown traces slavery's afterlife in black women's literary and visual cultural productions. Brown draws on black feminist theory, visual culture studies, literary criticism, and critical race theory to explore contemporary visual and literary representations of black women's bodies that embrace and foreground the body's vulnerability and slavery's inherent violence. She shows how writers such as Gayl Jones, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, and Jamaica Kincaid, along with visual artists Carrie Mae Weems and María Magdalena Campos-Pons, highlight the scarred and broken bodies of black women by repeating, passing down, and making visible the residues of slavery's existence and cruelty. Their work not only provides a corrective to those who refuse to acknowledge that vulnerability, but empowers black women to create their own subjectivities. In The Repeating Body, Brown returns black women to the center of discourses of slavery, thereby providing the means with which to more fully understand slavery's history and its penetrating reach into modern American life.
Ancient Athenians were known to reuse stone artifacts, architectural blocks, and public statuary in the creation of new buildings and monuments. However, these construction decisions went beyond mere pragmatics: they were often a visible mechanism for shaping communal memory, especially in periods of profound and challenging social or political transformation.
Sarah Rous develops the concept of upcycling to refer to this meaningful reclamation, the intentionality of reemploying each particular object for its specific new context. The upcycling approach drives innovative reinterpretations of diverse cases, including column drums built into fortification walls, recut inscriptions, monument renovations, and the wholesale relocation of buildings. Using archaeological, literary, and epigraphic evidence from more than eight centuries of Athenian history, Rous's investigation connects seemingly disparate instances of the reuse of building materials. She focuses on agency, offering an alternative to the traditional discourse on spolia. Reset in Stone illuminates a vital practice through which Athenians shaped social memory in the physical realm, literally building their past into their city.
Arij Ouweneel’s Resilient Memories: Amerindian Cognitive Schemas in Latin American Art takes a cognitive approach to the mediation of collective memory by works of art. In looking at cultural production of Amerindians—the transnational mnemonic community comprised of indígenas, originarios, mestizos, and cholos—Ouweneel argues that cultural memories and identity are not simply the sum total of individuals’ expressions of self, but that some cultural artifacts become privileged to inform the heart of the mnemonic community. Ouweneel seeks to identify a series of cognitive schemas as the foundation of an Amerindian Cognitive Unconsciousness as a viable alternative to the Freudian Dynamic Unconscious. Art, then, serves to trigger the cognitive schemas embedded within the Amerindian community and act as the mediator of collective memory.
Exploring works ranging in popularity, from Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También to the paintings of Peruvian artists Claudia Coca and Jorge Miyagui, and from Mexican Zapatistas to hip-hop, Ouweneel details the ways in which artists interact with the embodied memory of the community but also assert their own place within it as crucial, furthering their audiences’ understanding of and interaction with existing cultural schemas. In this way, Ouweneel shows that memories must serve the present or they will be forgotten.
While visitors to art and history museums may be there to simply enjoy the curated objects, the question of what is included (and excluded) in these collections and who has the power over this process echoes the struggle for inclusion that is so central to the African American experience. Since its inception, the Kinsey African American Art and History Collection® has played an important role in this struggle, seeking out objects that give voice to previously excluded experiences, and providing an alternative to the limits of institutional collections.
Among the first scholarly books dedicated to a private African American collection, Rethinking America’s Past: Voices from the Kinsey African American Art and History Collection both chronicles the reach of this important cultural collection and contributes to its project by sharing selected objects and stories with a broader audience. Essays range in subject from iconic African American artists, such as Loïs Mailou Jones and Beauford Delaney, to important historical figures such as Frederick Douglas and Martin Luther King, to individuals whose experiences might be lost to history but for the found objects that preserve their stories. Rethinking America’s Past demonstrates how the African American story, from slavery through the present, is represented and can be actively remembered through the act of collecting.
Rethinking America’s Past will appeal to audiences interested in African American history as well as art history, but its real power is in linking the two, showing how important collections are in constructing and repairing historical narratives, and how in the words of editor Tim Gruenewald, “Collecting overlooked aspects of our past and sharing such collections enables a deeper understanding of the present moment, and facilitates a more inclusive and just future.”
Ranging widely across time and geography, Rites of Place is to date the most comprehensive and diverse example of memory studies in the field of Russian and East European studies. Leading scholars consider how public rituals and the commemoration of historically significant sites facilitate a sense of community, shape cultural identity, and promote political ideologies. The aims of this volume take on unique importance in the context of the tumultuous events that have marked Eastern European history—especially the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, World War II, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. With essays on topics such as the founding of St. Petersburg, the battle of Borodino, the Katyn massacre, and the Lenin cult, this volume offers a rich discussion of the uses and abuses of memory in cultures where national identity has repeatedly undergone dramatic shifts and remains riven by internal contradictions.
At the foot of the Argentine Andes, bulldozers are destroying forests and homes to create soy fields in an area already strewn with rubble from previous waves of destruction and violence. Based on ethnographic research in this region where the mountains give way to the Gran Chaco lowlands, Gastón R. Gordillo shows how geographic space is inseparable from the material, historical, and affective ruptures embodied in debris. His exploration of the significance of rubble encompasses lost cities, derelict train stations, overgrown Jesuit missions and Spanish forts, stranded steamships, mass graves, and razed forests. Examining the effects of these and other forms of debris on the people living on nearby ranches and farms, and in towns, Gordillo emphasizes that for the rural poor, the rubble left in the wake of capitalist and imperialist endeavors is not romanticized ruin but the material manifestation of the violence and dislocation that created it.
Salt in the Sand is a compelling historical ethnography of the interplay between memory and state violence in the formation of the Chilean nation-state. The historian and anthropologist Lessie Jo Frazier focuses on northern Chile, which figures prominently in the nation’s history as a site of military glory during the period of national conquest, of labor strikes and massacres in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth, and of state detention and violence during World War II and the Cold War. It was also the site of a mass-grave excavation that galvanized the national human rights movement in 1990, during Chile’s transition from dictatorship to democracy. Frazier analyzes the creation of official and alternative memories of specific instances of state violence in northern Chile from 1890 to the present, tracing how the form and content of those memories changed over time. In so doing, she shows how memory works to create political subjectivities mobilized for specific political projects within what she argues is the always-ongoing process of nation-state formation. Frazier’s broad historical perspective on political culture challenges the conventional periodization of modern Chilean history, particularly the idea that the 1973 military coup marked a radical break with the past.
Analyzing multiple memories of state violence, Frazier innovatively shapes social and cultural theory to interpret a range of sources, including local and national government archives, personal papers, popular literature and music, interviews, architectural and ceremonial commemorations, and her ethnographic observations of civic associations, women's and environmental groups, and human rights organizations. A masterful integration of extensive empirical research with sophisticated theoretical analysis, Salt in the Sand is a significant contribution to interdisciplinary scholarship on human rights, democratization, state formation, and national trauma and reconciliation.
Shifting Memories explores the contours and genealogies of non-Jewish Germans' public memories of the Nazi past in the Federal Republic of Germany, asking how the crimes committed by Nazi Germany are reflected in the present. The study illuminates particular aspects of public remembering by focusing on case studies, telling a number of stories which at times appear parallel and at times intersect.
The case studies address, for example, the legacy of the so-called Celler Hasenjagd (the hunting down of concentration camp prisoners who survived an Allied air raid in April 1945 in a town in Lower Saxony); efforts by the City of Hildesheim to memorialize the Kristallnacht pogrom; attempts by Italian, Jewish, and Sinti survivors to commemorate their suffering in two West German towns; the posthumous reputation of a German communist imprisoned in Buchenwald and credited with having saved the lives of 159 Jewish children; and the public memories of the Ravensbrück and Buchenwald concentration camps in East Germany.
Directed at an audience curious about contemporary Germany, this book will appeal to those interested in issues of public and social memory, and in the legacy of Auschwitz.
Klaus Neumann is a historian who has taught in universities in Germany and Australia and written about social memories in the Pacific Islands, Australia, and Germany. Previous books include Not the Way It Really Was and Rabaul Yu Swit Moa Yet. He lives in Richmond, Australia.
National identity and political legitimacy always involve a delicate balance between remembering and forgetting. All nations have elements in their past that they would prefer to pass over—the catalog of failures, injustices, and horrors committed in the name of nations, if fully acknowledged, could create significant problems for a country trying to move on and take action in the present. Yet denial and forgetting carry costs as well.
Nowhere has this precarious balance been more potent, or important, than in the Federal Republic of Germany, where the devastation and atrocities of two world wars have weighed heavily in virtually every moment and aspect of political life. The Sins of the Fathers confronts that difficulty head-on, exploring the variety of ways that Germany’s leaders since 1949 have attempted to meet this challenge, with a particular focus on how those approaches have changed over time. Jeffrey K. Olick asserts that other nations are looking to Germany as an example of how a society can confront a dark past—casting Germany as our model of difficult collective memory.
Prompted by the abundant historical allusions in Athenian political and diplomatic discourse, Bernd Steinbock analyzes the uses and meanings of the past in fourth-century Athens, using Thebes’ role in Athenian memory as a case study. This examination is based upon the premise that Athenian social memory, that is, the shared and often idealized and distorted image of the past, should not be viewed as an unreliable counterpart of history but as an invaluable key to the Athenians’ mentality. Against the tendency to view the orators’ references to the past as empty rhetorical phrases or propagandistic cover-ups for Realpolitik, it argues that the past constituted important political capital in its own right. Drawing upon theories of social memory, it contextualizes the orators’ historical allusions within the complex net of remembrances and beliefs held by the audience and thus tries to gauge their ideological and emotive power.
Integrating literary, epigraphic, and archaeological evidence with recent scholarship on memory, identity, rhetoric, and international relations, Social Memory in Athenian Public Discourse: Uses and Meanings of the Past enhances our understanding of both the function of memory in Athenian public discourse and the history of Athenian-Theban relations. It should be of interest not only to students of Greek history and oratory but to everybody interested in memory studies, Athenian democracy, and political decision making.
Speaking of Flowers is an innovative study of student activism during Brazil's military dictatorship (1964–85) and an examination of the very notion of student activism, which changed dramatically in response to the student protests of 1968. Looking into what made students engage in national political affairs as students, rather than through other means, Victoria Langland traces a gradual, uneven shift in how they constructed, defended, and redefined their right to political participation, from emphasizing class, race, and gender privileges to organizing around other institutional and symbolic forms of political authority.
Embodying Cold War political and gendered tensions, Brazil's increasingly violent military government mounted fierce challenges to student political activity just as students were beginning to see themselves as representing an otherwise demobilized civil society. By challenging the students' political legitimacy at a pivotal moment, the dictatorship helped to ignite the student protests that exploded in 1968. In her attentive exploration of the years after 1968, Langland analyzes what the demonstrations of that year meant to later generations of Brazilian students, revealing how student activists mobilized collective memories in their subsequent political struggles.
West of downtown St. Louis sits an 1851 town house that bears no obvious relationship to the monumental architecture, trendy condominiums, and sports stadia of its surroundings. Originally the residence of a fur-trade tycoon and now the Campbell House Museum, the house has been subject to energetic preservation and heritage work for some 130 years. In Taking Possession, Heidi Aronson Kolk explores the complex and sometimes contradictory motivations for safeguarding the house as a site of public memory. Crafting narratives about the past that comforted business elites and white middle-class patrons, museum promoters assuaged concerns about the city’s most pressing problems, including racial and economic inequality, segregation and privatization, and the legacies of violence for which St. Louis has been known since Ferguson. Kolk’s case study illuminates the processes by which civic pride and cultural solidarity have been manufactured in a fragmented and turbulent city, showing how closely linked are acts of memory and forgetting, nostalgia and shame.
To Rise in Darkness offers a new perspective on a defining moment in modern Central American history. In January 1932 thousands of indigenous and ladino (non-Indian) rural laborers, provoked by electoral fraud and the repression of strikes, rose up and took control of several municipalities in central and western El Salvador. Within days the military and civilian militias retook the towns and executed thousands of people, most of whom were indigenous. This event, known as la Matanza (the massacre), has received relatively little scholarly attention. In To Rise in Darkness, Jeffrey L. Gould and Aldo A. Lauria-Santiago investigate memories of the massacre and its long-term cultural and political consequences.
Gould conducted more than two hundred interviews with survivors of la Matanza and their descendants. He and Lauria-Santiago combine individual accounts with documentary sources from archives in El Salvador, Guatemala, Washington, London, and Moscow. They describe the political, economic, and cultural landscape of El Salvador during the 1920s and early 1930s, and offer a detailed narrative of the uprising and massacre. The authors challenge the prevailing idea that the Communist organizers of the uprising and the rural Indians who participated in it were two distinct groups. Gould and Lauria-Santiago demonstrate that many Communist militants were themselves rural Indians, some of whom had been union activists on the coffee plantations for several years prior to the rebellion. Moreover, by meticulously documenting local variations in class relations, ethnic identity, and political commitment, the authors show that those groups considered “Indian” in western El Salvador were far from homogeneous. The united revolutionary movement of January 1932 emerged out of significant cultural difference and conflict.
The Touch of Civilization is a comparative history of the United States and Russia during their efforts to colonize and assimilate two indigenous groups of people within their national borders: the Sioux of the Great Plains and the Kazakhs of the Eurasian Steppe. In the revealing juxtaposition of these two cases author Steven Sabol elucidates previously unexplored connections between the state building and colonizing projects these powers pursued in the nineteenth century.
This critical examination of internal colonization—a form of contiguous continental expansion, imperialism, and colonialism that incorporated indigenous lands and peoples—draws a corollary between the westward-moving American pioneer and the eastward-moving Russian peasant. Sabol examines how and why perceptions of the Sioux and Kazakhs as ostensibly uncivilized peoples and the Northern Plains and the Kazakh Steppe as “uninhabited” regions that ought to be settled reinforced American and Russian government sedentarization policies and land allotment programs. In addition, he illustrates how both countries encountered problems and conflicts with local populations while pursuing their national missions of colonization, comparing the various forms of Sioux and Kazakh martial, political, social, and cultural resistance evident throughout the nineteenth century.
Presenting a nuanced, in-depth history and contextualizing US and Russian colonialism in a global framework, The Touch of Civilization will be of significant value to students and scholars of Russian history, American and Native American history, and the history of colonization.
In Tourists of History, the cultural critic Marita Sturken argues that over the past two decades, Americans have responded to national trauma through consumerism, kitsch sentiment, and tourist practices in ways that reveal a tenacious investment in the idea of America’s innocence. Sturken investigates the consumerism that followed from the September 11th attacks; the contentious, ongoing debates about memorials and celebrity-architect designed buildings at Ground Zero; and two outcomes of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City: the Oklahoma City National Memorial and the execution of Timothy McVeigh.
Sturken contends that a consumer culture of comfort objects such as World Trade Center snow globes, FDNY teddy bears, and Oklahoma City Memorial t-shirts and branded water, as well as reenactments of traumatic events in memorial and architectural designs, enables a national tendency to see U.S. culture as distant from both history and world politics. A kitsch comfort culture contributes to a “tourist” relationship to history: Americans can feel good about visiting and buying souvenirs at sites of national mourning without having to engage with the economic, social, and political causes of the violent events. While arguing for the importance of remembering tragic losses of life, Sturken is urging attention to a dangerous confluence—of memory, tourism, consumerism, paranoia, security, and kitsch—that promulgates fear to sell safety, offers prepackaged emotion at the expense of critical thought, contains alternative politics, and facilitates public acquiescence in the federal government’s repressive measures at home and its aggressive political and military policies abroad.
Argentina’s repressive 1976–83 dictatorship, during which an estimated thirty thousand people were “disappeared,” prompted the postauthoritarian administrations and human rights groups to encourage public exposure of past crimes and traumas. Truth commissions, trials, and other efforts have aimed to break the silence and give voice to the voiceless. Yet despite these many reckonings, there are still silences, taboos, and unanswerable questions.
Nancy J. Gates-Madsen reads between the lines of Argentine cultural texts (fiction, drama, testimonial narrative, telenovela, documentary film) to explore the fundamental role of silence—the unsaid—in the expression of trauma. Her careful examination of the interplay between textual and contextual silences illuminates public debate about the meaning of memory in Argentina—which stories are being told and, more important, which are being silenced. The imposition of silence is not limited to the military domain or its apologists, she shows; the human rights community also perpetuates and creates taboos.
In The Unpredictability of the Past, an international group of historians examines how collective memories of the Asia-Pacific War continue to affect relations among China, Japan, and the United States. The contributors are primarily concerned with the history of international relations broadly conceived to encompass not only governments but also nongovernmental groups and organizations that influence the interactions of peoples across the Pacific. Taken together, the essays provide a rich, multifaceted analysis of how the dynamic interplay between past and present is manifest in policymaking, popular culture, public commemorations, and other arenas.
The contributors interpret mass media sources, museum displays, monuments, film, and literature, as well as the archival sources traditionally used by historians. They explore how American ideas about Japanese history shaped U.S. occupation policy following Japan’s surrender in 1945, and how memories of the Asia-Pacific War influenced Washington and Tokyo policymakers’ reactions to the postwar rise of Soviet power. They investigate topics from the resurgence of Pearl Harbor images in the U.S. media in the decade before September 11, 2001, to the role of Chinese war museums both within China and in Chinese-Japanese relations, and from the controversy over the Smithsonian Institution’s Enola Gay exhibit to Japanese tourists’ reactions to the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor. One contributor traces how a narrative commemorating African Americans’ military service during World War II eclipsed the history of their significant early-twentieth-century appreciation of Japan as an ally in the fight against white supremacy. Another looks at the growing recognition and acknowledgment in both the United States and Japan of the Chinese dimension of World War II. By focusing on how memories of the Asia-Pacific War have been contested, imposed, resisted, distorted, and revised, The Unpredictability of the Past demonstrates the crucial role that interpretations of the past play in the present.
Contributors. Marc Gallicchio, Waldo Heinrichs, Haruo Iguchi, Xiaohua Ma, Frank Ninkovich, Emily S. Rosenberg, Takuya Sasaki, Yujin Yaguchi, Daqing Yang
In recent decades, scholars working in postcolonial history have successfully challenged the primacy of Western historiography and its Eurocentric worldview. With Unsettling History, a group of historians extend that challenge to two central components of work in history: archiving and narrating. Archival resources, they argue, despite their air of impartiality, are the product of established interests and subject to various practices of selection, cataloguing, and preservation. Narrating, too, is more complicated than it might at first seem, especially as the range of genres available to the historians for presenting their findings has expanded in recent years.
As sites of continual change and transformation, cities are fundamentally forgetful places. Yet at the same time, urban areas are also homes to museums and archives that collect and exhibit the past-a key cultural, political, and economic activity. This book looks at that paradox through the example of Berlin to see how the city has responded to challenges to memory created by rapid changes in politics, economics, society, and the built environment, ultimately arguing that the recovery of the experience of time is central to the practices of an emergent memory culture in the contemporary city.
In the decades since the Vietnam War, veteran memoirs have influenced Americans’ understanding of the conflict. Yet few historians or literary scholars have scrutinized how the genre has shaped the nation’s collective memory of the war and its aftermath. Instead, veterans’ accounts are mined for colorful quotes and then dropped from public discourse; are accepted as factual sources with little attention to how memory, no matter how authentic, can diverge from events; or are not contextualized in terms of the race, gender, or class of the narrators.
Veteran Narratives and the Collective Memory of the Vietnam War is a landmark study of the cultural heritage of the war in Vietnam as presented through the experience of its American participants. Crossing disciplinary borders in ways rarely attempted by historians, John A. Wood unearths truths embedded in the memoirists’ treatments of combat, the Vietnamese people, race relations in the United States military, male-female relationships in the war zone, and veterans’ postwar troubles. He also examines the publishing industry’s influence on collective memory, discussing, for example, the tendency of publishers and reviewers to privilege memoirs critical of the war. Veteran Narratives is a significant and original addition to the literature on Vietnam veterans and the conflict as a whole.
An introduction to key issues in the study of war and memory that examines significant conflicts in twentieth-century Europe
In order to understand the history of twentieth-century Europe, we must first appreciate and accept how different societies and cultures remember their national conflicts. We must also be aware of the ways that those memories evolve over time. In War and Public Memory: Case Studies in Twentieth-Century Europe, Messenger outlines the relevant history of war and its impact on different European nations and assesses how and where the memory of these conflicts emerges in political and public discourse and in the public sphere and public spaces of Europe.
The case studies presented emphasize the major wars fought on European soil as well as the violence perpetrated against civilian populations. Each chapter begins with a brief overview of the conflict and then proceeds with a study of how memory of that struggle has entered into public consciousness in different national societies. The focus throughout is on collective social, cultural, and public memory, and in particular how memory has emerged in public spaces throughout Europe, such as parks, museums, and memorial sites.
Messenger discusses memories of the First World War for both the victors and the vanquished as well as their successor states. Other events discussed include the Bolshevik Revolution and subsequent conflicts in the former Soviet Union, the Armenian genocide, the collapse of Yugoslavia, the legacy of the civil war in Spain, Germanys reckoning with its Nazi past, and the memory of occupation and the Holocaust in France and Poland.
The recent dedication of the World War II memorial and the sixtieth-anniversary commemoration of D-Day remind us of the hold that World War II still has over America's sense of itself. But the selective process of memory has radically shaped our picture of the conflict. Why else, for instance, was a 1995 Smithsonian exhibition on Hiroshima that was to include photographs of the first atomic bomb victims, along with their testimonials, considered so controversial? And why do we so readily remember the civilian bombings of Britain but not those of Dresden, Hamburg, and Tokyo?
Marianna Torgovnick argues that we have lived, since the end of World War II, under the power of a war complex—a set of repressed ideas and impulses that stems from our unresolved attitudes toward the technological acceleration of mass death. This complex has led to gaps and hesitations in public discourse about atrocities committed during the war itself. And it remains an enduring wartime consciousness, one most recently animated on September 11.
Showing how different events from World War II became prominent in American cultural memory while others went forgotten or remain hidden in plain sight, The War Complex moves deftly from war films and historical works to television specials and popular magazines to define the image and influence of World War II in our time. Torgovnick also explores the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, the emotional legacy of the Holocaust, and the treatment of World War II's missing history by writers such as W. G. Sebald to reveal the unease we feel at our dependence on those who hold the power of total war. Thinking anew, then, about how we account for war to each other and ourselves, Torgovnick ultimately, and movingly, shows how these anxieties and fears have prepared us to think about September 11 and our current war in Iraq.
In the three years, eight months, and twenty days of the Khmer Rouge’s deadly reign over Cambodia, an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians perished as a result of forced labor, execution, starvation, and disease. Despite the passage of more than thirty years, two regime shifts, and a contested U.N. intervention, only one former Khmer Rouge official has been successfully tried and sentenced for crimes against humanity in an international court of law to date. It is against this background of war, genocide, and denied justice that Cathy J. Schlund-Vials explores the work of 1.5-generation Cambodian American artists and writers.
Drawing on what James Young labels “memory work”—the collected articulation of large-scale human loss—War, Genocide, and Justice investigates the remembrance work of Cambodian American cultural producers through film, memoir, and music. Schlund-Vials includes interviews with artists such as Anida Yoeu Ali, praCh Ly, Sambath Hy, and Socheata Poeuv. Alongside the enduring legacy of the Killing Fields and post-9/11 deportations of Cambodian American youth, artists potently reimagine alternative sites for memorialization, reclamation, and justice. Traversing borders, these artists generate forms of genocidal remembrance that combat amnesic politics and revise citizenship practices in the United States and Cambodia.
Engaged in politicized acts of resistance, individually produced and communally consumed, Cambodian American memory work represents a significant and previously unexamined site of Asian American critique.