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Journal ArticleDOI

The Future of the Past: Countermemory and Postmemory in Contemporary American Post-Holocaust Narratives

01 Dec 2000-History & Memory (Indiana University Press)-Vol. 12, Iss: 2, pp 56-91
TL;DR: In the United States, the Holocaust entered popular culture as an American experience, first through the TV miniseries Holocaust (1978) and more recently in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List (1993), which gave the definitive photo-realism touch to a Hollywood story of the morally ambiguous but can-do hero who pits his wits against absolute evil.
Abstract: Collective memory cannot be divorced from its construction in culture. As the Broadway version of The Diary of Anne Frank did so phenomenally, plays, novels and movies generate cultural perceptions in ways that are particularly problematic and that stimulate further media reworking of the memory, which may produce stronger images than documentary presentation of facts and testimony by witnesses, educators and historians. In the United States the Holocaust entered popular culture as an American experience, first through the TV miniseries Holocaust (1978) and more recently in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993), which gave the definitive photo-realism touch to a Hollywood story of the morally ambiguous but can-do hero who pits his wits against absolute evil. The same year, the Holocaust became accessible in the National Holocaust Museum in Washington DC alongside the nation’s other museums and monuments. The question behind what is frequently called the “Americanization of the Holocaust” is what shapes the memory when it has become a cultural artifact with tenuous relevance to
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TL;DR: In this paper, White collects eight interrelated essays primarily concerned with the treatment of history in recent literary critical discourse, focusing on the conventions of historical writing and the ordering of historical consciousness.
Abstract: \"Hayden White...is the most prominent American scholar to unite historiography and literary criticism into a broader reflection on narrative and cultural understanding.\" --'The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism' In his earlier books such as 'Tropics of Discourse' and 'The Content of the Form', Hayden White focused on the conventions of historical writing and on the ordering of historical consciousness. In 'Figural Realism', White collects eight interrelated essays primarily concerned with the treatment of history in recent literary critical discourse. \"'History' is not only an object we can study,\" writes White, \"it is also and even primarily a certain kind of relationship to 'the past' mediated by a distinctive kind of written discourse. It is because historical discourse is actualized in its culturally significant form as a specific kind of writing that we may consider the relevance of literary theory to both the theory and the practice of historiography.\

232 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors explore the following hypothesis: civic ecology practices, including urban community forestry, community gardening, and other self-organized forms of stewardship of green spaces in cities, are manifestations of how memories of the role of greening in healing can be instrumentalized through social learning to foster social-ecological system resilience following crisis and disaster.
Abstract: In this contribution, we propose and explore the following hypothesis: civic ecology practices, including urban community forestry, community gardening, and other self‐organized forms of stewardship of green spaces in cities, are manifestations of how memories of the role of greening in healing can be instrumentalized through social learning to foster social–ecological system (SES) resilience following crisis and disaster. Further, we propose that civic ecology communities of practice within and across cities help to leverage these memories into effective practices, and that these communities of practice serve as urban iterations of the collaborative and adaptive management practices that play a role in SES resilience in more rural settings. We present two urban examples to build support for this hypothesis: the Living Memorials Project in post‐9/11 New York City, and community forestry in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. These cases demonstrate what we refer to as a memorialization mechanism that...

154 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In a recent collection of essays on memory and amnesia in the postmodern world, cultural critic Andreas Huyssen considers how nationalism, literature, art, politics, and the media are obsessed with the past.
Abstract: In this new collection of essays on memory and amnesia in the postmodern world, cultural critic Andreas Huyssen considers how nationalism, literature, art, politics, and the media are obsessed with the past. The great paradox of our fin-de-siecle culture is that novelty is even more associated with memory than with future expectation. Drawing heavily on the dilemmas of contemporary Germany, Huyssen's discussion of cultural memory illustrates the nature of contemporary nationalism, the work of such artists and thinkers as Anselm Kiefer, Alexander Kluge, and Jean Baudrillard, and many others. The book includes illustrations from contemporary Germany.

93 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Oct 2003-Identity
TL;DR: In this article, the authors explore the mediums through which this unofficial memory has been established and maintained, the meanings associated with it, and how and why these have changed over time.
Abstract: Bloody Sunday. Derry, Northern Ireland, January 30, 1972, in which 13 Catholic civilians were shot dead by the British army has evoked two contesting memories - an 'official' or elite memory and a folk memory among the Nationalist community that, it is argued, has been omitted from dominant memory discourses. The official memory of this life- destroying historical event is encoded in the report of the Widgery Tribunal established by the British government in the aftermath of bloody Sunday. A second popular memory has emerged in resistance to this that carries the remembrances of the victims'families and of the wider Nationalist community in Northern Ireland. I explore the mediums through which this unofficial memory has been established and maintained, the meanings associated with it, and how and why these have changed over time. Traditionally, it has been invested with a negative meaning associated with sectarianism, colonialism, and victimization. In recent times, the folk memory has been framed within a broader global context with a focus on its healing and reconciliation potential, which, together with institutional statements such as the Dowling Street Declaration and the Good Friday Agreement, points to the emergence of a more inclusivist understanding of collective identity-formation in Northern Ireland.

69 citations

References
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4,158 citations

Book
01 Jan 1992
TL;DR: The first comprehensive English-language translation of Halbwachs' writings on the social construction of memory was published by Coser as mentioned in this paper, which fills a major gap in the literature on the sociology of knowledge.
Abstract: How do we use our mental images of the present to reconstruct our past? Maurice Halbwachs (1877-1945) addressed this question for the first time in his work on collective memory, which established him as a major figure in the history of sociology. This volume, the first comprehensive English- language translation of Halbwach's writings on the social construction of memory, fills a major gap in the literature on the sociology of knowledge. Halbwachs' primary thesis is that human memory can only function within a collective context. Collective memory, Halbwachs asserts, is always selective; various groups of people have different collective memories, which in turn give rise to different modes of behavior. Halbwachs shows, for example, how pilgrims to the Holy Land over the centuries evoked very different images of the events of Jesus' life; how wealthy old families in France have a memory of the past that diverges sharply from that of the nouveaux riches; and how working class constructions of reality differ from those of their middle-class counterparts. With a detailed introduction by Lewis A. Coser, this translation will be an indispensable source for new research in historical sociology and cultural memory. Lewis A. Coser is Distinguished Professor of Sociology Emeritus at the State University of New York and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Boston College. The Heritage of Sociology series

3,079 citations

Book
Cathy Caruth1
01 Jan 1996
TL;DR: In Unclaimed Experience as discussed by the authors, Caruth proposes that in the widespread and bewildering experience of trauma in our century, both in its occurrence and in our attempt to understand it, we can recognize the possibility of a history no longer based on simple models of straightforward experience and reference.
Abstract: "If Freud turns to literature to describe traumatic experience, it is because literature, like psychoanalysis, is interested in the complex relation between knowing and not knowing, and it is at this specific point at which knowing and not knowing intersect that the psychoanalytic theory of traumatic experience and the language of literature meet."-from the Introduction In Unclaimed Experience, Cathy Caruth proposes that in the "widespread and bewildering experience of trauma" in our century-both in its occurrence and in our attempt to understand it-we can recognize the possibility of a history no longer based on simple models of straightforward experience and reference. Through the notion of trauma, she contends, we come to a new understanding that permits history to arise where immediate understanding is impossible. In her wide-ranging discussion, Caruth engages Freud's theory of trauma as outlined in Moses and Monotheism and Beyond the Pleasure Principle; the notion of reference and the figure of the falling body in de Man, Kleist, and Kant; the narratives of personal catastrophe in Hiroshima mon amour; and the traumatic address in Lecompte's reinterpretation of Freud's narrative of the dream of the burning child.

2,641 citations

Book
01 Jan 1989
TL;DR: In this paper, a sociological theory of Morality rationality and shame is proposed for the post-Holocaust world, based on the uniqueness and normality of the Holocaust.
Abstract: Foreword. 1. Introduction: Sociology after the Holocaust. 2. Modernity, Racism, Extermination - I. 3. Modernity, Racism, Extermination - II. 4. On the Uniqueness and Normality of the Holocaust. 5. Soliciting Cooperation of the Victims. 6. The Ethics of Obedience (reading Milgram). 7. Towards a Sociological Theory of Morality Rationality and Shame. Index.

2,443 citations