HS/US 320 - The Politics of Memory: Museums & Memorials in Berlin
This course will address the relationship between history, memory and identity. Berlin’s history has been shaped by conflicting identities and ideologies. We will focus on how these conflicts have left their traces in literature, memory, and urban geography. We will address the relationship between history, memory and identity by considering modes of commemoration through the narratives of fiction, testimonial literature, photography and film, and we will deal with ideological manipulations of commemorative forms. While considering how literature, architecture and film process individual and collective memory, our approach will be comparative and interdisciplinary with an emphasis on relevant social and cultural events. How does the interplay between landscape, experience and memory create a sense of identity? How do we make sense of the multiplicity of meanings that resonate with landscapes and memories, in particular in a city like Berlin where we will encounter multiple Berlins and distinct stories of belonging? What is the relationship between narratives of memory and perceptions of current transformations of the city? There will be regular course related field study trips, city walks and film screenings.