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ARCH 603 – Technologies of Memory


The seminar is an introduction to the study of collective memory conducted via an exploration of three  “technologies of memory”: monuments, heritage, and ruins.  Do technologies of memory compensate for the inability of individuals and collectives to remember “on their own,” or are they fundamental prostheses of remembrance, crucial to the labor of memory? When and how do the politics of memory open on to emancipatory futures and when and how do they open on to oppressive contemporaries? How can technologies produced by and for dominant social interests be trafficked or hijacked by the subjugated and the subaltern? In this seminar, we will approach this question by posing remembering subjects and technologies of remembrance as mutuallyconstituting and historically enmeshed phenomena, neither understandable in isolation from the other. We also attempt to critique the moralizing preservationist gaze on memory objects that remains a dominant perspective on those objects, in public culture and scholarship alike; a number of alternative gazes on memory and its technologies will be offered in order to provide seminar participants with a range of approaches to the study of monuments, heritage, and ruins, as well as other technologies of memory from the performative to the digital. Case studies will be drawn from Yugoslavia and post-Yugoslavia but seminar participants will be encouraged to pursue research projects according to their own interests and backgrounds.  


Wed 4:00-7:00pm 1155 NQ


Andrew Herscher


Course Brief