Politics of Public Memory

New School for Social Research: Sociology

Graduate Course

Politics of Public Memory

Spring 2019

Taught By: Elzbieta Matynia

Section: A

CRN: 7130

Credits: 3

This course will examine the controversies over 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 identity reemerges as a powerful source of conflict, and nation-states are challenged by new global arrangements. The concepts of nation, identity and globalization will inform our analysis as we examine a wide range of emblematic locations, among them: Auschwitz, Berlin, and New York. 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, Italo Calvino, and others. We will make use of visual materials including feature and documentary films.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Sociology (GSOC)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 18

Enrollment Status: Open*

*Enrollment status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 5:30pm 6/18/2019

Meeting Info:

Days: Monday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: 6 East 16th Street

Room: 1008

Date Range: 1/28/2019 - 5/13/2019