Politics of Memory

Broj 2 - Godina 3 - 06/2013

Uvodnik

The past is a foreign country", claims David Lowenthal (1985), but the foreignness of this country is unique, since we will never reach there, in spite of our different attempts to travel. The problem will always remain: how to retrieve the past? For the last three decades there is a tendency to talk and write about past in highly emotional terms, which could be seen as a nostalgic longing for lost moments of happiness. This tendency to romanticise the past exists in relation to a global struggle for memory, a struggle for history. Pierre Nora argues that we live in a time where disconnection from the past becomes deeper than ever, and due to this disconnection a feeling of anxiety has developed which often grows into a nostalgic crusade for relics of the past...

Pročitaj cijeli članak →
Izdvojeno

This paper examines the appropriation of space for cultural production in Berlin’s central district Mitte in the years directly after German reunification (approximately 1990-1994) and suggests an explanatory model for the intensity of and motivations behind these changes. The research conducted for this paper used interviews, discourse analysis and historical research to identify three main impulses that guided spatial changes in Berlin’s central district Mitte directly after reunification: the divergent post-war development of the two Germanys, the political and structural aspects of reunification, and the moving of the German capital back to Berlin after 40 years in Bonn. The author posits that these changes represent not only “simple” physical and symbolic appropriation, but also a proxy for the reinterpretation of the German national narrative after 1990. In the conclusion, the author discusses the role of Vergangenheitsbewältigung (“coming to grips with the past”) and divided development as pivotal to the spatial developments in Berlin’s central district after reunification. ...

Pročitaj cijeli članak →

The fundamental characteristic of magical realism is its duality, which enables alternative representations of society and history. Its specific narrative devices make magical realism a viable form for rendering traumatic experience and memories. Monkey Beach (2000) by Eden Robinson, a member of the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations in Canada, is a repository of memories, triggered and fuelled by trauma. Fragmented temporality, mixing of discourses, shifts in focalization, wordplays, repetition, and the magical are some of the devices the novel uses to address the complex landscape of trauma and memory. By unveiling personal memories, Monkey Beach gives way to the unconscious to enter the narrative structure, gradually revealing a much larger issue of the mistreatment of the Haisla people in Canada—and the resulting collective trauma. As trauma cannot be integrated into the narrative, it can only be uncovered indirectly and through a double distancing: firstly through the techniques of magical realism, and secondly, through the seemingly detached point of view of the narrator, who ultimately realises that her life is also encumbered with the dark stain of colonialism. ...

Pročitaj cijeli članak →

While historians have long acknowledged the textual and rhetorical aspects of their sources, the genre of the soldier memoir is still discussed mainly in terms of its psychological or factual veracity, and there is lack of understanding of how memories are reconfigured when passed through the interpretive medium of narrative. In this paper we present a discussion of the structure and functions of narrative in three German World War II soldier memoirs: Willy Peter Reese´s Mir selber seltsam fremd (1944/2004), Gottlob Herbert Biedermann´s Krim-Kurland mit der 132. Infanterie-Division 1941-45 (1964), and Edgar Klaus´s Durch die Hölle des Krieges (1991). Written at various distances from the war, these memoirs represent successive stages of coming to terms with the horrors and crimes of the Eastern Front. However, as we argue, this work of memory is mediated by narrative, and the plotting and narrative sequencing of the soldier memoir often tell a story that runs counter to the author´s stated views. A narrative approach is therefore indispensable for understanding the specific way in which soldier memoirs capture and communicate the experience of war....

Pročitaj cijeli članak →

The article examines the collective memory of International Women’s Day in part of the feminist community in Croatia. Having in mind the importance of social context and mnemonic communities for the (re)construction of memory, the development of women’s movements in Yugoslavia and Croatia is presented. Relying on Zerubavel’s concept of collective memory and qualitative analysis of interviews, this paper discusses the origins of International Women’s Day, its historical horizon, the memory of commemorations in socialist and post-socialist periods, and the mnemonic battles arising around them. Data necessary to describe these elements of collective memory of International Women’s Day was collected through semi-structured interviews conducted with several members of the feminist community in Croatia. Even though today’s feminist community in Croatia, to a certain point, consolidates the legacies of both bourgeois feminism and proletarian feminism, collective memory of International Women’s Day, at least on the part of the feminist mnemonic community, serves as a reminder of its socialist or communist origins. An important form of commemoration in both the socialist and the post-socialist period is public commemoration, whether as protest walks or petition signings. On the other hand, commemorative pluralism and overall decline in the importance or symbolic value of IWD in Croatian society in the post-socialist period, is the most significant difference from the period of socialism. Elements of IWD which appear in both the socialist and post-socialist period and are the focal points of mnemonic battles that are fought over the meaning of IWD and its forms of commemoration are: Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day symbolism, the conflict between politicized commemoration and depoliticized celebration, and cooptation or patronization by the politics. The most important factor for the appearance of mnemonic battles is found in the emergence of independent feminism, during the liberalization of Yugoslavian society in the seventies. ...

Pročitaj cijeli članak →