Politics of Memory in Global Context
Impossible Narratives: Historicizing Mass Trauma
February 17, 2011 · 9:30AM – 5:30PM
Columbia University, Faculty House, Presidential Room
What are the conditions for individual memory of the kinds of mass historical experience now generally labeled “traumatic” to become social memory — i.e. both capable of and amenable to persuasive public narration? What factors prevent or delay the process — psychological, political, or social — and through what mechanisms does such social memory emerge? This workshop seeks to examine ‘impossible narratives’ of such experiences, especially inasmuch as they are incongruent with competing narratives of self, state or society represented as essential or primordial in the wake of mass trauma; the ways in which their “impossibility” persists for long periods of time; and how it might be overcome.
Organized by Carol Gluck (Columbia University), Thomas J.W. Hill (Columbia University), and Denis Peschanski (CNRS)