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Out of Ground Zero: Catastrophe and Memory

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Keywords
  • World Trade Center
  • September 11
  • Memorial
  • Discourse
  • Media
  • Art
  • Collective Memory
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Global Commerce
  • Transportation
  • Systems
  • Surveillance
  • Non-Western Cultures
  • Oppositional Political Formations
  • Robert Musil
  • Maurice Halbwachs
  • Shusaku Arakawa
  • Michael Hogan
  • Ariella Azoulay
  • Chomsky
  • Freud
  • Edward Said
  • Memory -- Social Aspects
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Abstract

Subject offers a cross-cultural and trans-historical perspective on the problems of catastrophe and the process of memorializing. It asks what media and various art forms can offer to the project of collective memory. It engages key texts on the notion of "ground zero" in the urban cultures of Europe and Japan, and draws from them a provisional theoretical framework with which to analyze the public responses to the World Trade Center attacks. Topics covered include: The Enola Gay controversy, architectural sites at Hiroshima and Auschwitz, the aesthetic and iconographic dimensions of the events of September 11, and the media influence on our perception of global commerce, transportation systems, surveillance, non-Western cultures and oppositional political formations. Authors include Robert Musil, Maurice Halbwachs, Shusaku Arakawa, Michael Hogan, Ariella Azoulay, Chomsky, Freud, and Edward Said. Taught in English. From the course home page: Course Description Within twenty-four hours of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 politicians, artists, and cultural critics had begun to ask how to memorialize the deaths of thousands of people. This question persists today, but it can also be countered with another: is building a monument the best way to commemorate that moment in history? What might other discourses, media, and art forms offer in such a project of collective memory? How can these cultural formations help us to assess the immediate reaction to the attack? To approach these issues, "Out of Ground Zero" looks back to earlier sites of catastrophe in Germany and Japan.

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