Politics of Memory

No. 2 - Year 3 - 06/2013

University of Zadar | ISSN 1847-7755 | SIC.JOURNAL.CONTACT@GMAIL.COM

Editorial

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....

Literature and Culture
Kristjan Mavri, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia:

During times of existential unease, post-apocalyptic fiction imagines a depopulated world—a world destroyed by war, pestilence, ecocide, or cosmological judgment. It is frequently humanity’s own hand that deals the blow. But the story does not end there, for the post-apocalypse is often a site of survival and of life in the aftermath and there is no situation like the bleak wasteland of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006). Set in a world laid to waste by an unnamed catastrophe, the novel examines what ecological, psychological, and sociological changes take place in the wake of the apocalypse. As the world “before” gives way to the world “after”, so should memory of the past give way to the onset of the future. But one cannot write outside past and memory, just as one cannot write outside language. Try as it might to render a lifeless world, post-apocalyptic fiction—in spite of itself—invokes memory, undoes the ruin, and animates new life into being. Even a post-apocalypse as unforgiving...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.3.lc.2
Literature and Culture
Mary Dellenbaugh, Humboldt University, Germany:

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 dev...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.3.lc.1
Literature and Culture
Mario Županović, University of Zadar, Croatia:

This work underlines the key concepts of the Third Way revolutionary cinema of Latin America contextualizing the collective memory and politics of remembrance. The National Project and reshaping of the National identities and the ideological shift from de-colonial and postcolonial matrixes in the revolutionary utopianism of modernistic cinema and its academic reevaluation is the basic assumption of the paper. Resurfacing of the ideologies of indianismo, indigenismo and mestizaje helps in revealing the true aims of the revolutionary filmmaking in Latin America which had more than aesthetic agenda in mind when it set trademarks of National cinemas like Yawar Mallku in Bolivia or La Hora de los Hornos in Argentina. The work tried to emphasize the original voice of the revolutionary cinema while tracking its apparatus with the theoretical works from de-colonial and Marxist perspective.

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.3.lc.7
Literature and Culture
Marina Petras, University of Zagreb, Croatia:

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’...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.3.lc.4
Literature and Culture
Hope Sneddon and Jesper Gulddal:

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 st...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.3.lc.6
Literature and Culture
Anja Mrak, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia:

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...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.3.lc.3