Globalization & The Politics of Public Memory
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Level: Graduate
Division: The New School for Social Research
Department: Sociology
Course Number: GSOC 5145
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Social Sciences
  • Sociology
This course will examine the politics of public memory which have become particularly tense at a time in which social and political systems are being dismantled and reconfigured, ethnic and cultural identity is emerging as a powerful source of conflict, and nation-states are challenged by new global arrangements. The concepts of nation, identity, collective memory and globalization will inform our examination of different social locations. We will discuss the relationship between history and memory, space and time, globalization and memorialization - as well as approaches to the crimes of the past in transformations from authoritarian to democratic order. We will pay particular attention to a variety of representational strategies designed to elicit the "meaning" of memory sites, whether in the arena of public art, museum exhibitions, tourist attractions, or monuments and historic districts. The phenomenological approach to memory will allow us to discuss memory as a wound, as an erosion, and to grasp the social meaning of “good” memory. How to deal with painful conditioning of memory in societies that are trying to build a new, better, more just present? How, we will ask, does one represent a volatile, multifarious and sometimes discredited past in a way that will enrich and amplify its interpretive possibilities rather than diminish them? Readings will include works by Benedict Anderson, Zygmunt Bauman, Anthony Giddens, Eric Hobsbawm, Hayden White, Jacques La Goff, Pierre Nora, Maurice Halbwachs, as well as literary works by Milan Kundera, Gunter Grass, Bruno Schulz, Ivo Andric, Paul Celan and Italo Calvino.
Course Open to: Degree Students with Restrictions


Not open to Undergraduate students.