Cultural Politics of Memory
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: The New School for Social Research
Department: Liberal Studies
Course Number: GLIB 5512
Course Format: Seminar
Permission Required: Yes
- Social Sciences
- Cultural Studies
In the latter part of the twentieth century, cultural memory attained a new prominence. Survivors of the century traumas – among them the Holocaust, the war in Vietnam, the genocide in Cambodia – testified about the concentration camps in Europe, the trauma of waging war in Vietnam, and the horror of living through a genocidal occupation. At times communicated in forms of art, cultural memory helps to preserve the immediacy of the events under scrutiny. In this course, we will examine questions of trauma and testimony, and of public memory and the politics it engenders. Texts will probably include: selections from Paul Ricoeur’s Memory, History, Forgetting; writings on trauma by Dominick LaCapra, Eric Santner, Dori Laub and Saul Friedländer; Primo Levi, Maurice Blanchot, Charlotte Delbo and Marianne Hirsch on the Holocaust; Samantha Power on genocide; Andreas Huyssen on the Dirty War in Argentina among other. We will also examine some of the short fictions and films related to these issues: Amitav Ghosh, Dancing in Cambodia; a selection fromBlack Rain (a novel about Hiroshima), Tim O’Brien on Vietnam; Hiroshima Mon Amour and selections from Shoah.