The stages of memory. Challenges to the memorialization of war and the Holocaust - Professor James Young
As an advisor to many war and Holocaust memorials, Professor James Young acted as a 9/11 memorial juror. After the presentation of the winning design “Reflecting absence”, by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, he was confronted with the question whether all contemporary memorials with articulations of uncompensated loss and absence, essentially referred to the Holocaust. He also discovered that memorials have many limitations as contemporary aesthetic responses to recent pasts, as the past often does not have a singular narrative. The need for a unified vision of the past thus collides with the modern conviction that neither the past nor its meanings are ever just one thing. So what do monuments and memory have to do with each other?
In his reflections on memorialization and war memorials, James Young argues that discourse and controversy around Holocaust memorials and memorial competitions are better than a final solution to the Holocaust memorial question.
Professor James E. Young is Distinguished University Professor of English and Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the author of Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust(1988), At Memory's Edge: After-images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture (Yale University Press, 2000), and The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss, and the Spaces Between (University of Massachusetts Press, 2016), on which this lecture is based.
In 1997, Professor Young was appointed by the Berlin Senate to the five-member Findungskommission for Germany's national "Memorial to Europe's Murdered Jews," which selected Peter Eisenman’s design. He has also consulted with Argentina’s government on its memorial to the desaparacidos, as well as with numerous city agencies on their memorials and museums. In 2003, he was appointed to the jury for the World Trade Center Site Memorial competition, won by Michael Arad and Peter Walker. He continues to serve on the Academic Advisory Board of the National 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City.
The lecture will take place on Wednesday 7 September at 3:30PM. (15.30) at the Aula of the University of Amsterdam and will be followed by a reception.
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