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...

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Izdvojeno

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 as McCarthy’s cannot be the end of the story, since it is, ultimately, itself a story....

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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. ...

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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. ...

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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. ...

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