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

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....

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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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The history and memories of past events are relayed through popular culture, the media and the public sphere. City tours organized for tourists can be said to be a special part of popular culture and the public sphere. Since 2006 there has been an organised war tour in the City of Dubrovnik which follows the “routes” of war aggression and the devastation of the town. In this paper, one such specific route The Story about the War is analysed. The main aim of the analysis is to understand the discursive construction and narrative production of memories of war and aggression and how they are embedded in the popularized narrative with a special purpose and target group in mind, namely to inform and to entertain tourists. The personal and collective memories of troubling events and how they are produced and reproduced, and even performed in such a narrative are important elements of the analysis as well. We try to understand how personal memory can be located not only in a place itself but also within a particular narrative and constructed in a specific form (for/with a special purpose) of interpretation of the past events. ...

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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. ...

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