Ann Rigney, Utrecht University

Imagination, Materiality, and the Remaking of Memory

Saturday, 18 March 2017 16.00 M-218

How do memories that have been occluded come into visibility? And start to matter for people who have hitherto ignored them? Using the slow emergence into visibility of the colonial troops on the Western Front in World War One as my example, I will explore the role aesthetics play in renegotiating the boundaries of mnemonic communities. I relate aesthetics to both materiality and imagination, and argue that together these are a key, but hitherto under-theorized feature of the dynamics of cultural memory.

Ann Rigney is Professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University and founder of the Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies ( She has published widely in the field of nineteenth and twentieth century memory cultures, including most recently The Afterlives of Walter Scott: Memory on the Move (Oxford UP, 2012). She is co-editor of Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory (De Gruyter 2009; with A. Erll), Commemorating Writers in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Palgrave, 2014; with J. Leerssen) and Transnational Memory: Circulation, Articulation, and Scales (De Gruyter, 2014; with C. De Cesari). She has recently started a new project on cultural memory and protest movements.

Michael Rothberg (Stockholm)Michael Rothberg, University of California, LA

Inheritance Trouble: Migration and Transcultural Holocaust Memory in Contemporary Germany

Friday, 17 March 2017 16.00 M-218

Since the end of the Cold War, prominent intellectuals and institutions have placed memory of the Shoah at the center of German and European identity, but that project appears to some Europeans as threatened by the presence of millions of citizens and residents who are allegedly “foreign” to the Holocaust. As the population of Europe shifts, both through the “natural” sequence of generations and through mass migration, the continent, we might say, is experiencing a form of inheritance trouble. How can Holocaust memory be transmitted in such circumstances? In this lecture, Michael Rothberg considers migrant engagement with the Holocaust in contemporary Germany. The works of art, literature, and performance by migrants and postmigrants that he will discuss model alternative ways of remembering the Holocaust in the twenty-first century and suggest the possibility of more encompassing, transcultural understandings of German and European identity.

Michael Rothberg is Professor of English and Comparative Literature and the 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. His latest book is Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (2009, Stanford University Press). He is also the author of Traumatic Realism: The Demands of Holocaust Representation (2000), and co-edited The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings (2003) with Neil Levi and various special issues. Currently, Rothberg is completing a book called The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators, under contract with Stanford University Press. With Yasemin Yildiz, he is writing another book that focuses on the intersections between migration and confrontation with National Socialism and the Holocaust in contemporary Germany.

16491444_10206015128016483_136766849_oKristina Norman, independent artist and filmmaker, Tallinn, Estonia

Common Ground (2013)
Saturday, 18 March 2017 19.00

The 40 min video is from the series of three art projects in which Norman deals with issues of memory in a multidirectional way. Common Ground brings together memories of Estonian refugees of the Second World War to Sweden with experiences of asylum seekers in a contemporary refugee center in Estonia. Common Ground was preceded by 0,8 Square Metres (2012), a site-specific video installation revolving around the notion of political imprisonment. On two separate screens installed in gallery Augusta in Helsinki, testimonies of contemporary refugees to Finland were arranged in dialogue with conditions of Red prisoners after the end of the Finnish Civil War, nearly a century ago. In 2014, at Manifesta biennial in St Petersburg, Norman presented a two-part project Souvenir (a public sculpture) & Iron Arch (15 min video) in which she deals with the memory of revolutions and social unrest. In the project, she symbolically overlays the topographies of Kiev’s Maidan and St Petersburg’s Palace Square.